Top 5 Tempo Running Shoes Of 2021

by Sportitude
17 Dec 2021

Run faster and happier into the New Year with Josh's top 5 tempo running shoes of 2021 - the Adidas Adizero Boston 10, Asics NovaBlast 2, Saucony Endorphin Speed 2, Hoka One One Mach 4 and Brooks Hyperion Tempo.

Taking insight from the running community and his own experience, Josh has chosen these tempo running shoes based on their versatility in terms of running surface, foot type and pace.

They're a great addition to your running shoe rotation, supporting you to achieve your fitness goals in 2022 like setting a new personal best in your interval training or breaking away from the pack on race day with a lightweight and responsive ride.

Whether you're seeking a cushioned, protected and supportive feel underfoot or a more minimalist style with an enhanced connection to the road, Josh's shoe review provides guidance on which tempo running shoe is right for your feet.

Check out the review with full transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh here from Sportitude Running and we're doing another top 5 shoes for 2021 and the category we're touching on today is tempo running.

For those of you at home who would like to know if this is going to be a review you’re going to stick through, I’ll quickly explain the other shoe categories.

High mileage running shoes are your heavier option that most of your long runs and slow runs are done in. It’s the most supportive and most cushioned shoe.

You may potentially have a race day shoe in the closet which you pull out pre your race to get a lighter, snappy feel underneath your body. You may or may not have been doing your interval running or your threshold runs in either your heavy mileage shoe or your race day shoe until this point.

The tempo running category is where you're potentially looking at that third shoe in your rotation. In today's review I'm going to try and do it in order of the most cushioned and supportive on that road surface right through to the least.

To fall into our top 5 tempo running shoes for 2021, the shoes need to be versatile in the sense of what surfaces they can be used on, what foot types could be considering them and what paces or what threshold you could be running.

Without further ado let's get stuck in.

Adidas Adizero Boston 10

We're going to start off with the Adidas Adizero Boston 10. I have done a review only recently on this shoe. In terms of the shoes underneath me, this is the most supportive or heaviest. It's a fair bit of shoe underneath the foot especially for tempo running.

At around 290 grams for a men's size 9 there's a fair bit of system underneath the body. However, this makes it into the top 5 for a couple of reasons. The Boston franchise has been that lightweight tempo running category now for 10 years. The Adizero runners out there would know that franchise quite well.

The Adidas Adizero Boston 10 has crept into this new category of runners wanting to push the pace a little bit with interval runs and threshold runs, but they need a little bit more support and more oomph underneath the body.

With the Lightstrike Pro technology on top of the Lightstrike foam and carbon rods through the forefoot, this shoe provides a relatively rigid but stable platform. The upper of this shoe has a really supportive saddle.

Again, out of the shoes that we're going to talk about today I feel that this is the most supportive. This Adidas running shoe is currently in my rotation and I have been using it for some slower, longer runs and yes, that contradicts the fact that I have a mileage shoe at home.

However, I gravitate towards this shoe if I want to do a mileage run but want to feel lighter and snappier. The Adidas Adizero Boston 10 plays right into that for me personally.

Asics NovaBlast 2

Shoe #2 in our top 5 is the Asics NovaBlast 2. Keeping in line with what we're doing today from the most to the least supportive, this running shoe is an incredibly versatile shoe. It's light at around 265 grams for a men’s size 9 and around 230 grams for a women’s size 7. It’s a generous stack height too. We're talking 30mm in the heel and 22mm in the forefoot for that 8mm offset in the men’s model and then a 1mm variance for the women’s model.

Why is this shoe in this conversation today? It’s mainly because it is light, soft and responsive. It’s everything you want in a lightweight shoe with protection. We tend to find with the conversations we have downstairs with our customers and our staff members that this is such a great shoe for someone potentially looking at their first tempo or their first interval shoe, that may have their mileage covered with the Asics Gel Nimbus, Asics Gel Kayano, Brooks Glycerin or whatever it is.

They're looking for something relatively protected but lighter underneath the body and that's where the Asics NovaBlast 2 comes into the conversation.

It has a FlyteFoam Blast cushioning system which is a nice, light and spongy foam underneath the foot. It’s on a completely neutral platform being the same density on the medial side as is on the lateral side.

It’s very versatile and can be used for mileage. It’s certainly great for tempo runs and makes it into the conversation about race day. For that consumer that wants a little bit more protection underneath the body we certainly have the Asics NovaBlast 2 in that conversation.

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2

The third shoe in our conversation today is the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2. It’s very popular in this category of tempo, threshold running and it has made its way into that racing conversation for a lot of runners.

This shoe like the Adidas Adizero Boston 10 has a little bit of extra juice through the midsole. You get PWRRUN PB technology on a 35.5mm heel stack and a 27.5mm forefoot for that 8mm heel-to-toe drop.

There's a full-length nylon plate running from the heel right through to the forefoot in this shoe, so you get that little bit of extra rigidity. It’s not quite as stiff as a carbon plate but there's a little bit of fun and a bit of push through your toe-off.

As I touched on, it has been a great shoe for that racer so maybe someone who is looking at potentially throwing themselves into a carbon plate shoe may find them a bit too stiff and a bit too much system going on underneath their foot. However, if you want a plated structure the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is a fantastic conversation starter for us.

The other thing to note with this Saucony running shoe is it's a supportive system up top. You have a good navicular wrap with that gusseted tongue.

There’s a nice internal heel counter at the back so while it's a light system underneath the foot at about 225 grams for a men's size 9 and around 198 grams to 200 grams in a women’s size 7, it is supportive. It is a lightweight shoe but there is a little bit more support up top so the upper really does a great job in locking that foot on top of that midsole.

Hoka One One Mach 4

Our fourth shoe to talk about today is getting towards that really lightweight but nice and protected shoe. We're going to be talking all things Hoka One One Mach 4. When this shoe landed in the early part of 2021 it came with a lot of hype and the hype was real. It was a fantastic update from what we have experienced with the Mach franchise.

I've been lucky enough to run in every single Mach from when they dropped and they've been a bit of a yo-yo system, up and down. There’s a bit too much change from one to the next but when they executed Hoka One One Mach 4 I feel they got it absolutely right.

For you Hoka One One Clifton runners that want something a little bit lighter, you can drop into Hoka One One Mach 4 with a lot of success.

The shoe is on a generous stack height. We're talking about a 29mm heel and a 24mm forefoot for a 5mm heel-to-toe variance.

It's by no means what we know Hoka One One to be which is a higher stack shoe. There’s certainly a fair bit of system underneath the foot but the great thing about that is it's complemented with the PROFLY technology, that red foam sitting on top of the rubberised EVA midsole.

Again, with this shoe that's part of the weight reduction. They took the rubber outsole away and they have a rubberised EVA system underneath the shoe, so it does reduce weight.

It's not that great for durability. That's all fair with regards to what this shoe is all about but when we're talking your tempo and your lightweight shoes, you're not going to be using it for anything over 60% of your running.

It's probably going to be 50% or less so you want to be resting these shoes every single week and making sure you roll them out for those intervals and those tempo runs. However, not to contradict what I just said, I know a few customers that have grabbed the Hoka One One Mach 4 for their mileage running. They want that lighter system underneath the foot and this is exactly playing to that.

Brooks Hyperion Tempo

Last but not least in our top 5 shoes of 2021 for tempo running, we're talking all things Brooks Hyperion Tempo. Like its namesake, this running shoe is targeting that runner that's looking for that lightweight trainer to complement their mileage training to get their body conditioned for race day.

This shoe is the lowest regarding stack heights from all the other shoes we've talked about today. We have a 22mm heel and 14mm forefoot for a variance of 8mm. The other thing to note is it's on the Brooks DNA Flash technology so that's the nitrogen infused midsole.

It is very light and snappy through the forefoot. When I say light, everything about this shoe is pretty minimalistic so there's not a lot going on with the upper. There's a relatively free fit and feel up top and the weight of this shoe complements that.

It's around 207 grams in the men’s size 9 and 189 grams in a women’s size 7. It’s the lightest and the lowest stack out of all the tempo running shoes we talked about.

The Brooks Hyperion Tempo has made its way into today's review because we needed to have a model that spoke to that runner that wants a slightly more of a proprioceptive feel under their body. Not every single runner out there wants a high stack, a plated system or some sort of propulsive benefit through that forefoot.

There are a lot of runners still out there that want to have that really good, connected feel with the ground and that's exactly what the Hyperion Tempo does. It offers a light and a very snappy ride underneath the foot and that's why it's in our top 5.

The Wrap Up

In summary with the review today on our top 5 tempo shoes for 2021, let's just recap on why this category even exists in the first place.

We're talking about the runner out there that's taking their training wheels off. You're looking to take your running to the next level. You're goal orientated, you may have a personal best in mind or you’re looking to up your mileage each and every single week. You have your designated mileage shoe which is there to protect the body on those longer, slower runs.

You potentially have a race day shoe but instead of using race day or your mileage shoe for your threshold runs or your interval sessions, you want to complement your whole shoe roster and throw in a tempo shoe to keep you moving and moving very well.

The benefit of having three shoes in your running shoe rotation is that you're going to be able to get more miles out of your mileage shoe. You'll keep your race day shoes specifically for racing pushed aside to make sure that your racing shoe isn't fatiguing and wearing out - because it will wear out quick if you're using it for more than just racing and a couple of runs in the lead up to a race.

For this tempo category you also must consider what surfaces you'll be doing your thresholds and your intervals on. The reason I say that is because if you're going to be running on grass you might need something a little bit more connected to the ground which is where your Brooks Hyperion Tempo comes into the conversation.

Alternatively, if you are out there pounding the pavement on footpath surfaces and you may be new to this category or this philosophy of tempo shoes, go down the path of a Adidas Adizero Boston 10 or a Asics NovaBlast 2 to protect your body a little bit more.

The other thing to note is it's so important to understand how your body moves within a tempo shoe, just as much as your mileage shoes.

We always recommend going into your store and having a conversation with the salesperson. In our environment here at Sportitude Running we can pop you up on our RunDNA treadmills, analyse your data and make sure that the tempo shoe is complementing your mileage shoe, your running goals and obviously going to make you a happier runner in the long term.

If I've missed a shoe that you think needs to be in this conversation, please contact our Sportitude shoe experts and if you have any questions, queries or theories about the top 5 tempo shoes I’ve touched on today please let us know.

I'd love to hear about all running shoes all around the world from you the running community.

Until next time, stay safe, be kind to one another and we will see you on the road. Happy training and take care.

Adidas Adizero Boston 10

Shop / Review

Asics NovaBlast 2

Shop / Review

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2

Shop / Review

Hoka One One Mach 4

Shop / Review

Brooks Hyperion Tempo

Shop / Review


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