Ah, the elusive “perfect shoe”. It is like the holy grail for runners. A shoe that harnesses all of your speed and power and propels you past your personal best speeds or distances.
In the case of shorter races, such as the 5K, speed is key. Can a shoe change the result of a race that is just over 3 miles? I believe it can. For me, it is a lightweight, “grippy”, comfortable shoe. But there are more factors than just weight and comfort. What about terrain? All aved? Gravel? Grass and dirt trails? A combo? Is weather a factor? Let’s simplify it to a paved surface throughout. No variables in surface or weather. I look to racing flats for these runs. Racing flats tend to be lighter than 6 ounces and are not loaded with padding. I currently am running in New Balance MRC 5000’s which weigh in at 3.2 ounces. They just feel fast. And the little knobby treads on the bottom seem to really propel me forward as they dig in.
A lot of these racing flats are so minimal as far as materials used, that they do not last as long. My MRC 5000’s have been reported to only get 100 – 150 miles of running in before they have worn out. So I reserver them for race day only.
Visit a dedicated running store and try them on. Most of these stores will let you actually run in them prior to buying. Get the shoe that just feels right. Then go out and post your PR at the next 5K. You will feel better about your purchase after that.