AI Startups Are Facing a ReckoningRead more

Nike Vaporfly ($250). Art by Clark Miller.
Nike Vaporfly ($250). Art by Clark Miller.

Running Shoe or Cheat Code? Tech Pros on Their Performance-Enhancing Athletic Gear

Silicon Valley runners, swimmers and weightlifters share their favorite fitness companions.

May 13, 2023 6:00 AM PDT

Samantha Whitmore has run seven marathons and six ultramarathons. Her favorite was a 44-mile rim-to-rim-to-rim run of the Grand Canyon, which she and her husband have traversed four times. “You’ll come away from the experience feeling like you are capable of anything,” she said. “It’s a mental as well as physical test.”

Whitmore, a machine-learning engineer who is currently working on a stealth artificial intelligence startup in San Francisco, Calif., tackles such extreme feats with the Hoka Speedgoat ($170), a running shoe with excellent traction. For her many road marathons, she wears her Nike Vaporflys ($250). The “it” running shoes of Silicon Valley, the sneakers are favored by tech-addled runners for their carbon plate, a thin carbon-fiber layer in the sole that acts like a springboard, letting runners expend less energy with each footfall. “The [Nike] Alphafly and Vaporfly are leaps and bounds ahead of every other racing shoe,” Whitmore said.

With the summer outdoors season approaching, we asked a batch of hard-charging tech pros for the new gear that helps them run faster, get stronger and propel their workouts.

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