Are Vaporfly’s cheating?

Just interested in peoples opinions. I’m training for a spring marathon and I think im going to get close to 3 hours. I’ve noticed that almost all the fastest runners where vaporflys now. I’ve bought a pair but I just feel a bit uneasy that they give me an unfair advantage over my non-carbon self and my time will be tainted by my shoes doing all the work!

It doesn’t seem to bother anyone else! What do people think? Is it cheating or should be just take all the help we can get?



  • TRTR ✭✭✭
    Depends what you define as cheating.......paying for a coach, training harder, running more miles, stealing time off your family to run, working less hours, taking supplements, doing strength training.........all things that could make you quicker.
    No, it's not cheating as carbon plated shoes are available to all runners.   Plus all that TR has mentioned above.

    There are other brands apart from Nike!!
  • Cal JonesCal Jones ✭✭✭
    I think what you're asking is whether they would help you run faster than you would with a non-plated shoe. The answer is, probably, but they won't help at all unless you put the work in. They're good, fast shoes but they're not magic. They aren't going to stop the wheels falling off in the latter stages of a marathon if you've not done the mileage beforehand or haven't got the right nutrition. I've run PBs in a plated shoe and I've also had disappointing races in them. Ultimately, a plated shoe such as the Vaporfly is one tool in your box, but training, nutrition, sleep, strength work and so forth are equally, if not more important.
  • Thanks everyone. I think I’m over thinking! Certainly all the quickest runners wear them now. Although I’m sure they were the quickest runners anyway. 
  • Studs RamrodStuds Ramrod ✭✭✭
    Having experienced my first race at Dorking 10 miles yesterday against runners wearing carbon plates, I'd say no. 
    Technology moves on. It may as well be a comparison against when we did cross country in rugby/football boots.
    However, a few observations.
    I was able to compare the last time I did the race in 2019 against now.

    2019 - 513 finishers. 106F 407M       2023 - 408 finishers.  144F 264M
    2019 - Fastest M-53:45 F-1:02:01     2023 - Fastest M-52:45 F- 1:03:22
    2019 - Slowest 2:07                           2023 - Slowest (except for 1 outlier) 1:57:11
    2019 - Median Time 1:20:11              2023 - Median Time 1:16:11

    My time was similar in both. Started very well, but tapered off.
    On Strava, I could also check on those runners who had carbon plated shoes and said so.

    It's a route I know well, but I could instinctively tell something had changed from previous years by the numbers of familiar runners overtaking me, and their running gait had something about it. The elite times seemed pretty similar to previous years, which makes sense as they were probably first to embrace new tech. So it looks like a factor benefitting middle of the pack runners.

    Plus at the end of the race, one of the runners in my club said that all of the team there were wearing a version of carbon plated shoes. She pointed them out all over the place.

    The other thing is that entrant numbers were down, a lot, on previous years, but female entrants were up. So are more females running races because of carbon plates and others(men) aren't bothering without them? With hindsight, I don't think I'd have bothered entering without carbon plated shoes. That's not  bitterness on my part, I was just completely ignorant of the apparent benefits of these shoes.

    So, bottom line, if you want to compete in road races, wear carbon plates.

    BUT, when everyone's eventually is.

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