There is now no doubt that carbon plated running shoes like the Nike Vaporfly offer tangible performance benefits. However, as good as they are, super-shoes have several drawbacks that put many runners off.
For one, they cost a lot of money, usually more than $200/£200. The Nike Alphafly NEXT% 2 is currently the most expensive and costs $275/£275. Super-shoes also don’t tend to last that long – many are past their best after 200 miles or so.
Decathlon’s new carbon shoe has neither of those drawbacks. It is just £130 in the UK (US price is as yet unconfirmed) and has a 1,000km warranty. It also has the key ingredients of a bona fide super-shoe, with a full-length carbon plate and PEBA-based midsole foam.
How the midsole foam performs will determine whether the Kiprun KD900X is a success. Nike’s ZoomX cushioning, used in the Vaporfly and Alphafly, is also PEBA-based, as is the PWRRUN PB foam used in the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3. Not all PEBA foams feel the same, however, and using it is no guarantee of success.
The midsole of the KD900X feels firmer than other PEBA shoes I’ve tested, but I’ve only worn the shoe for an easy 5K run at the launch event so I expect it will break in to be softer since it is designed to last such a long time.
As you’d expect from a carbon racing shoe, the KD900X has a lightweight upper and fairly minimal outsole coverage, though the impact areas around the forefoot and heel are covered with rubber. The shoe has an 8mm drop, and I found it comes up slightly big and that an EU 43.5 fit better than my usual EU 44. It weighs 7.9oz/225g (EU 42).
The Kiprun KD900X is central to Decathlon’s push to become more established as a performance running shoe brand that offers great value. Other new launches include the Kiprun KS900 cushioned shoe, which costs £99.99, and the KD800 short-distance speed shoe, which has a PEBAX plate and costs £90. The brand has also sponsored the French elite athlete Yoann Kowal, who has run a 62-minute half marathon in the KD900X and will wear it for the London Marathon in October.
We’re excited to begin testing the Kiprun KD900X, and even if it falls short of the high standards set by the best carbon shoes, it still has the potential to be an excellent fast training shoe given its durability and low price. The firmer ride might also be beneficial for runners who have found soft super-shoes too unstable for them to use. We’ll have our full review of the shoe up as soon as possible.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.