Here’s Why Pro Triathlete Lionel Sanders Is Ditching Super Shoes

Should you reconsider wearing your carbon-plated shoes too?

Last Updated:

In a surprising move that has sparked discussion within the triathlon and shoe tech community, Canadian triathlon star Lionel Sanders has announced his decision to ditch the use of carbon-plated super shoes during his training sessions. 

Renowned for his relentless pursuit of improvement and a series of training changes and adaptations this season, Sanders shared his reasoning behind ditching super shoes in a recent YouTube video.

In his video, Sanders, a two-time Ironman World Championship runner-up, candidly discussed his departure from the carbon shoe trend during his training sessions. 

Expressing his growing dependency on high-tech footwear over the past three years, he acknowledged a sense of loss that accompanied his exclusive reliance on these shoes during training.

The shift marks a return to a more traditional approach to training, with Sanders emphasizing the importance of reserving carbon-plated shoes for race days

In his video, he captured moments of introspection and technical analysis, detailing the challenges and benefits of his decision.

Here's Why Pro Triathlete Lionel Sanders Is Ditching Super Shoes 1
Photo Credit: Olaf Kosinsky

While carbon-plated shoes have revolutionized running performance since Nike’s introduction of the Vaporfly in 2017, Sanders raises pertinent questions about their overuse in training

Acknowledging the potential biomechanical alterations caused by these shoes, Sanders advocates for a balanced approach to daily runs that preserves the body’s natural motion.

The decision to ditch super shoes isn’t solely based on theoretical concerns; Sanders details an experience during his recent track workout, which demonstrates the tangible impact of this change. 

When looking back at the session, he says that whenever he puts on carbon shoes, he gets lazy. 

Here's Why Pro Triathlete Lionel Sanders Is Ditching Super Shoes 2

Despite his undeniable talent and training regimen, Sanders noticed a significant disparity in performance when wearing traditional shoes compared to carbon-plated ones. 

After consistent usage in training, this reflected in his times and in his ability to produce speed without the help of super shoes.

He said his observation emphasized the necessity of re-adapting to traditional footwear and training methods to maintain peak performance.

Here's Why Pro Triathlete Lionel Sanders Is Ditching Super Shoes 3
Photo Credit: Olaf Kosinsky

Sanders’s decision to revert to traditional footwear aligns with his broader training philosophy, characterized by a relentless pursuit of excellence and his willingness to challenge conventional wisdom. 

By embracing an “old-school” approach to training, he aims to rediscover lost sensations and enhance muscle recruitment, ultimately striving for a more balanced and sustainable training regimen.

Sanders is now gearing up for the upcoming Kona World Cup and IRONMAN Pro Series, where then, and only then, he might be spotted in super shoes.

Photo of author
Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.