Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Unpause Halley Light Review: A Great Value in a High Performance Carbon Racer! 6 Comparisons

Article by Derek Li

Unpause Halley Light (THB4690, US$130)


Unpause is a popular brand out of Thailand that has a very small line of product offerings. Currently, they have just two models: the Atlas and the Halley Light. When I first reviewed the Unpause Atlas back in 2022, it drew a lot of interest, because it was offering a PEBA foam trainer for a very affordable price. They subsequently let on that they were working on a racer and while there were some delays with the release, it seems like it has finally hit the market, in the form of the Unpause Halley Light.

The Halley Light continues to use a PEBA based foam and this time, they have gone with a full length spoon-shaped carbon plate. Another big change is the move from the pelletized PEBA foam of the Atlas to a more conventional continuous slab of foam.

Let’s start with the numbers.

Measured stack including sockliner: Heel 40mm / Forefoot 32mm

Platform Widths: heel 76mm, midfoot 59mm, forefoot 100mm

Weight 216g / 7.62oz for men’s US9.5

To put the above numbers into context, the equivalent size of the Atlas weighed ~230g / 8.1oz and had a 36/26 stack, so there is quite a lot of weight trimmed off here. 

A lot of brands are settling in around the 40/32 framework when it comes to stack numbers, likely mainly a result of the 40 mm heel stack limit imposed by World Athletics. For example, popular races like the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 and 4, Adidas Adios Pro 3, and the Nike Vaporfly 3 all sit in the 39-40mm heel stack range and all have a 8mm drop. 

The  platform widths are on the narrower end of the spectrum, but I actually find the shoe to fit my feet quite well. I have low arches, and the midfoot, while narrow, is quite flat and accommodates low arches quite well.

First Impressions, Upper and Fit

The shoe has a very simple and clean look. Unlike the Atlas which fit a bit on the longer side for some people, the Halley Light is now squarely in the true to size category. Step in feel is comfortable, and the upper wraps my foot very well, giving it a good performance fit. 

Even jogging around that first time with the shoes on, you notice the softness of the underfoot foam and the prominence of the rocker. While narrow, the shoe has decent volume, such that you do not feel constricted (in the way that maybe the VF Next%1 would do).

The main material of the upper is a thin ripstop type upper. Ventilation comes in the form of some perforations through the toe guard laminate. 

The heel is semi-rigid and medium volume. 

The tongue is thin and made of a suede-like fabric, while the laces used are the now popular ridged variety that grip very well. The sock liner is glued in here. Notably, the toe is free floating and there are no gussets or extra overlays for support at midfoot. 

Overall, I am very happy with the fit and lockdown of the upper of this shoe. I have been able to get a good lockdown with a variety of sock thicknesses.


The midsole here is quite unique in that they have gone with a dual density midsole that sandwiches a full length scooped carbon fiber plate. The top foam is the firmer layer while the bottom layer is softer. Usually, it’s the other way around. Usually, it’s the other way around. In fact, I don’t remember any other shoe where the top layer is firmer. 

Of course, firmness is all relative. Using a Shore A durometer, the top layer firmness is ~27.0A while the bottom layer is ~20.0A. That is to say, it’s all still pretty soft. By contrast, Lightstrike Pro in an Adios Pro 3 is around 33.0A for firmness. 

Initially I was a little concerned that it could mean the exposed midsole would be less durable but so far the softer compound has held up well. I also found that by reversing the order of the midsole firmness, you get the added benefit of having a little less plate feel underfoot, while concurrently preserving the forward tipping sensation that you get with the curved carbon plate. At least in this shoe, with this geometry, it works! It is perhaps not the most stable shoe, because the bottom layer is soft and deforms more on impact, but this deformation also makes transitions feel very natural and smooth.


The outsole seems to utilize a polyurethane blend, now quite commonly seen on shoes coming out of China like Xtep and ANTA. So far I have seen zero wear on the grooves of the outsole, and it is performing well in terms of grip on both dry and wet surfaces.

Ride and Conclusions

This shoe is a very good execution of a carbon plated racing shoe in that there is a good rocker effect through the forefoot, there is a good blend of cushioning and bounce, and the fit is very good and what a racing shoe should fit like. I’ve not done any truly long runs in the shoe, but up to 20 km and on longer workouts, the shoe performs very well. The underfoot softness sits somewhere between the Nike Vaporfly 3 and the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3, and the rocker, but the spring effect as you roll through the shoe seems to exceed them both!

Given the geometry, I think they would suit heel strikers best, but midfoot strikers will still appreciate the nice spring and cushion through the forefoot. My main concern is that the shoe runs slightly on the narrower side, so people who want a more anatomical fit should consider alternative options.

In terms of stability, the closest comparison is the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2, with a similarly soft type of heel. People who found that model too unstable are likely to face the same issues with the Unpause Halley Light.

At about $130 they are one of the strongest values in carbon plated racing shoes.

Score: 9.43 / 10

Ride 9.2 (50%) Fit 9.5 (30%) Value 10 (15%) Style 9.5 (5%)

Purely personal preference – I generally prefer a lower 4-6mm drop for a racer

Smiles Score 😊😊😊😊1/2  

Retail THB4690 (~US$130)

Available via Unpause Shoes HERE

6 Comparisons

Nike Vaporfly 3 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Unpause ride is more aggressive and you notice the rocker effect more. It also fits me better, and I can get a very good race fit without having to tighten the laces too much. The VF3 is a significantly lighter shoe by a little over an ounce. I think it’s really close, and the slightly softer ride of the VF3 probably makes it a better option for a full marathon, but for shorter races, the Unpause feels like the faster shoe for me.

Nike Alphafly 3 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The AF3 has a lot more cushioning than the Unpause but also has the less aggressive ride. Effort-wise, I find both shoes quite similar when it comes to sustaining a tempo type of effort, but the AF3 feels better at the end of longer runs. For the marathon distance, I would go with the AF3, while the Unpause would be my preference for a half marathon and shorter.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 4 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Unpause has more typical racer-fit, and has the more effective rocker. Both are quite close in terms of weight. The Unpause has the better outsole in terms of grip, especially on wet roads. The EP4 has the wider and more anatomical fit, especially at the toebox. People with wider feet will prefer the EP4, but for everyone else, the Unpause is going to be the faster shoe.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Both shoes are very similar in terms of fit and stack numbers. The Unpause is softer, and seems to have the more durable outsole (vs the blown rubber forefoot of the EP3). EP3 is wider, firmer and more stable for people who need that extra stability. Overall I prefer the Unpause Halley Light.

Adidas Adios Pro 3 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Comparatively, the Adios Pro 3 runs slightly longer, and is a bit heavier. The Unpause upper works much better for me, as I never got a good heel lockdown with the AP3. Overall, I prefer the rocker and cushioning of the Unpause better.

New Balance SC Elite 4 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The NB also runs slightly longer vs the Unpause. The NB toebox is also wider and more rounded than the Unpause. Personally I prefer the narrower race fit of the Unpause. The SC Elite has a lower drop with noticeably more forefoot cushioning but also has a bit more bottom-heaviness and weighs a little more than the Unpause. I think for shorter races and workouts, the Unpause is the better shoe, while the SC Elite 4 is probably better over the marathon distance.

The Unpause Hailey Light is available at Unpause Shoes HERE

Derek is in his 40’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:39 marathon PR from the 2022 Zurich Marathon.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun Official Store Custom Fractel Caps and Bucket Hats
Cap:$39                                                             Bucket:$49
Limited Release! SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Use our code RTR235 for 5% off all products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun

You Tube: @RoadTrailRun


Anonymous said...

Great review - How does it compare with Asics Paris Edge? thanks said...

I just wanted to say that based on Derek's review I just ordered/received these Halley Lights while in Thailand for a conference. It was delivered within 5 days of ordering with no additional shipping fee or taxes. They're on sale now for $100, so it's a great deal. And I agree with the review: nice race-like fit, light, substantial rocker-feel tipping me forward. I haven't run in them yet, but so far I'm impressed with their service and the quality of these shoes.