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5731 Views 29 Replies Latest reply: Jan 30, 2010 6:21 PM by run4psu RSS 1 2 Previous Next
JonRunner Rookie 1 posts since
Jan 25, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 25, 2010 10:22 AM

Why Running Shoes do not work and how we've all been fooled

Saw this on RunnersWorld forum's and it's an interesting article:

 

Here's an interesting articles with a different take on the running shoes/barefoot issue.  THe idea is that the development of running shoes is based on the wrong ideas.  Pronation, Motion Control, and Cushioning are not what needs to be controlled by a running shoe.  In fact, shoes don't even really control those issues.  The body does and it isn't what we should be worrying about.  Essentially impact forces are used as sensory information so that the body can adjust the running stride to be optimal.  It's why we run different when barefoot or with shoes.

 

http://stevemagness.blogspot.com/2010/01/why-running-shoes-do-not-work-looking.html

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,325 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    An interesting article.  Note that the author is not promoting barefoot or minimalist running.  What he is saying is that running shoe design appears to have some serious flaws and needs to be revisited and revised.  The typical running shoe design is based on ideas that research has shown to be faulty. I can't vouch for everything he says without reviewing the articles he cites.  But in general, I have a feeling he's right.

     

    Len





    Len

  • 00HokieRunner Pro 124 posts since
    Feb 7, 2008

    It is an interesting article. The barefoot running revolution is fairly new so I think there's a lack of evidence to really make any kind of conclusion at this point in time. I for one am happy to have something on my foot if even just to reduce the chances of getting a rusty nail or piece of glass stuck in it!

     

    What I do take away from this is the over-diagnosis of pronation issues that lead to all these manufacturers producing stability and motion control shoes more and more and less neutral shoes. I recently picked up a couple new pairs of shoes and I was a bit taken back that my choice for lightweight neutrals was surprisingly minimal. I think I had 2 to be exact and it wasn't because I went to a store that only stocks a few pairs (quite the opposite), but rather all the manufacturers are gravitating towards motion control and stability types. I think this is a pretty ridiculous honestly.

     

    We need to be making a case for better designed shoes, and better diagnositic processes. Maybe it is in the form of a governing body to train those who fit for shoes the right way to diagnose pronation. I'm not sure but nonetheless something.

  • Haselsmasher Legend 507 posts since
    May 25, 2009

    Thanks for posting the link.  While I hadn't seen that particular article, this topic has totally fascinated me.

     

    A good read to throw into the mix (which has been getting lots of talk) is Born To Run.  Fantastic story.

     

    I am one person trying to get out of the big shoes.  I've been in orthotics for years and developed a pretty horrendous case of Plantar Fasciitis.  I stopped attempting to run through it (after about 12 months of trying) about 3 months ago.  Now it has healed to the point where I'm experimenting with getting out of my orthotics and padded shoes, moving to a minimalist shoe, and adopting a more efficient running form.  (I've chosen Pose.  There are others.)  The feet have responded really well.  I've gone almost a whole week with no orthotics - and no PF pain.

     

    I read another interesting article - but I don't have the link for it.  Subjects were asked to jump from a platform onto mats of different color.  They were told the different colors respresented mats of different stiffness.  In actuality all the mats had the same stiffness.  When a person jumped on a mat they THOUGHT was softer, their body actually registered greater forces.  I don't know enough of the details of what forces were measured where in the body, but the premise (I believe) was that when the brain thought something was padded and soft, it didn't prepare the body for the activity as well as it should.  I think in the case of shoes:  If the body knows it's going to have to deal with a thin-soled shoe or no shoe, then it will prepare and adapt to deal with that fact.  And with a padded shoe, more force and issue may be transmitted to the body than it thinks it's going to get.

     

    This concept that the feet were meant to move just makes sense to me.  (I'm not saying it's right.  Maybe it's just a fad and will be proven wrong.  But it makes sense in my amateur brain.)  I had an experience which helped convince me of that fact.  While trying to get over the acute stage of Plantar Fasciitis I tried the Lo-Dye taping technique.  This is a technique to tape the bottom and back of the foot to give the sole more support.  Within two days I started getting Achilles pain.  I've never had that.  I suspected the taping.  Within 24 hours of taking the tape off the Achilles felt totally normal.  I'm not condemning the taping - it works for many.  But it also causes issues in some.  I concluded it messed enough with the dynamics and movement of the foot/ankle "system" that it screwed up other areas seemingly not associated with the Plantar Fascia.

     

    I also have to say that going outside in a minimalist shoe (right now I'm only walking - trying to build up to running) just feels good to the feet.  I love getting a better sense of what I'm walking over.  When I step on a crack in the sidewal I feel it.

     

    Jim





    http://jimhaselmaier.blogspot.com/


    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008

    I definitely find the ideas intriguing.  My son got me Born to Run for Christmas and it was very thought provoking.  (Makes you want to go outside, in the middle of winter, and run down the road barefoot!)

     

    Here is my own experience with running/running shoes.  I have very wide, flat feet.  When I was 11 years old I did a 20 mile walk in "minimalist" shoes, meaning they were just plain, thin soled shoes I wore for every day. (This was 1974 and we didn't really have "running shoes").  At the end of the walk my arches were completely collapsed and I could barely walk for days.  The doctor told my mother I should NEVER be allowed to walk so far with my "weak", flat feet.  Because of that I always thought I was handicapped from any kind of sports, especially running.

     

    In spite of the prognosis, I did take up running several years ago, tricked out in full scale running shoes of course.  And of all the various, minor running ailments I have dealt with over the years, I have never had ONE SINGLE problem with my feet!  But what is more amazing is that I now have an arch!  I am talking about going from almost completely flat footed to a normal arch.  Even my husband noticed it, rubbing my feet one night he said, "hey honey, you have an arch in your foot now!"

     

    So for me, this works.  I don't know why I developed an arch and why I never have foot problems when running, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it as far as I'm concerned!





  • 00HokieRunner Pro 124 posts since
    Feb 7, 2008

    I gave this some thought last night after replying. We know there is the big push for minimalist/barefoot running right now. There seems to be an abundance of articles that all talk about the benefits of barefoot running. So I wanted to see what I could find either against barefoot running or at least that looked at both sides of the coin objectively.

     

    Interestingly I didn't find much but I did find one article that gave me/us something to think about. There are a lot of posts, reviews, comments, etc. that are all about how converting to minimalist/barefoot running solved their nagging knee or plantar fasciitis issues. According to this article, that makes some sense because running in this style forces you to land more forefoot than mid/heel. So you're relieving stress on one set of muscles/joints/etc.. However, on the flip side you're introducing stress on another set. I'm not an anatomy expert so I have no idea where that is exactly. But I think long run what we're going to see is instead of what we know as common running problems, a whole new set will start to crop up. It's going to take some time, but I think it's going to be interesting to see how that evolves and if those problems are better or worse compared to wearing at least mildly cushioned shoes.

  • rbird Legend 1,073 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    I think the barefoot advocates would claim that it is running shoes that are fairly new, humans have been running barefoot or in minimalist footwear for millennia.  Nike has only been around for a few decades.





    2010 Space Coast Marathon 4:27:39

    2011 Charleston Marathon 4:25:58

    2011 Croom Fools Run 50k 6:16:51

    2011 Marine Corps Marathon 4:24:48

    2011 Jacksonville Bank Marathon 4:44:12 (4:45 Pace Leader)

    2012 Florida Keys Ragnar Relay 28:20:47 (3rd place-Mixed Ultra)


    Check it out - I'm bloggin'!

  • Haselsmasher Legend 507 posts since
    May 25, 2009

    My understanding is there are studies showing that a true forefoot landing can be injurious.  For people studying the Pose method (myself included at the beginning) many interpret their statements and directions as an advocation for forefoot landing.  That isn't the case.  It can be described in a variety of ways, but the one I like the most is "Land with your whole foot, but with the body weight over the ball of the foot.".  So Pose, at least, does not advocate a forefoot landing.

     

    I think you could be right in the long term:  We may find a whole host of other issues.  While my journey isn't over, my PF has almost completely gone away while getting out of the padded shoes.  That's not PROOF getting out caused it, but it's working with the little bit I've tested it.

     

    Jim





    http://jimhaselmaier.blogspot.com/


    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • 00HokieRunner Pro 124 posts since
    Feb 7, 2008

    I haven't tried this so really all I can base my comments on are from what I read. The article that I was referring to in my last post showed that (without consciously practice a landing method) the normal landing for a bare foot is more forward (towards the forefoot). When you wear a running shoe, typically they tend to force your foot more mid or heel by design. So with this, the emphasis on muscles changes.

     

    While I agree the barefoot and minimalist runners will suggest that we've been doing this for thousands of years, we haven't been doing it on asphalt, concrete and other hand surfaces as much. If you're running on sand or dirt, certainly much different than running on something that has no natural cushion!

     

    Just to be clear: I'm not taking a stance. I don't think I'll be making a switch to barefoot running anytime soon myself, but I'm certainly not against seeing new things tried out. I just like to have a clear understanding of the science and reasoning.

  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008

    rbird wrote:

     

    I think the barefoot advocates would claim that it is running shoes that are fairly new, humans have been running barefoot or in minimalist footwear for millennia.  Nike has only been around for a few decades.

    I think we had discussed this in another thread as well.  While its true that humans have run "minimalist" for millennia, the other side of the coin might also be that there is some natural selection in play.  Those whose physiology allowed them to run long distances without injury could continue to do it while those who couldn't run well depended on others for protection and provision (else they were caught by predators and/or had to find other ways to get food rather than chase it.)  While all humans are built to run, that doesn't mean all of us are built to run long distances without injury.  The advent of running shoes has simply encouraged more people to run - among those being people whose biomechanics are not best suited for it.  Thus running injuries have increased as the sheer numbers of people running has increased.

     

    Of course this is just me pondering the phenomenon - I have no scientific sources to back that up!





  • rbird Legend 1,073 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    This made me wonder:

     

    Do you think the percentage of the population that runs today for sport or health is significantly different than the percentage that ran for survival (hunting/fleeing) or even just as a mode of transportation throughout history?

     

    What about in modern day indigenous cultures like the Tarahumara featured in Born to Run?  The book gives the impression that running is almost universal in these cultures.  Do they have a genetically superior physiology for long distance running, or is it their minimalist footwear and running style that allows them to run without injury?

     

    I don’t know the answers, but I do enjoy the discussion.





    2010 Space Coast Marathon 4:27:39

    2011 Charleston Marathon 4:25:58

    2011 Croom Fools Run 50k 6:16:51

    2011 Marine Corps Marathon 4:24:48

    2011 Jacksonville Bank Marathon 4:44:12 (4:45 Pace Leader)

    2012 Florida Keys Ragnar Relay 28:20:47 (3rd place-Mixed Ultra)


    Check it out - I'm bloggin'!

  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008

    rbird wrote:

     

    This made me wonder:

     

    Do you think the percentage of the population that runs today for sport or health is significantly different than the percentage that ran for survival (hunting/fleeing) or even just as a mode of transportation throughout history?

     

    What about in modern day indigenous cultures like the Tarahumara featured in Born to Run?  The book gives the impression that running is almost universal in these cultures.  Do they have a genetically superior physiology for long distance running, or is it their minimalist footwear and running style that allows them to run without injury? I don’t know the answers, but I do enjoy the discussion.

    Hmmm.  Well.  Just thinking out loud here, it seems that humans over the millenia have relied less on ambulation and more on brainpower to provide for their needs.  Running, which was a means of survival and transportation to early humans, was gradually replaced by the invention of the wheel, cultivation of domestic animals and the ability to build shelter and weapons.  Instead of running away from predators and chasing food, man became master of his domain - to a certain extent - and found more reliable ways to provide for his needs.  So I'm just speculating here (I am not an anthropolgist by any means) that when running became less critical to man's survival, then other skills became more important.  Maybe (again, just speculation) those with superior running ability became fewer and farther between as lifestyles changed.  Of course there are still cultures that excel in running but they are exceptional compared to most average, modern day people.  Because of the relative isolation of those cultures, like the Tarahumara, the genes that convey good running biomechanics have stayed intact.

     

    So yes, perhaps the majority of people who run today for sport or health ARE different than those who ran for survival.  Just saying....





  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,325 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Just a couple thoughts.

     

    - Someone recently posted a video of hunters in Africa "running" down their dinner (antelope of some sort).  But from what I could see, they did very little running, they mostly walked.  And in the end, only one of the four or five did most of the running.  At one point it showed a closeup of his feet while running.  He appeared to land midfoot on one foot, heelstrike on the other!

    http://runpreservation.ning.com/video/absolutely-fricking-amazing

     

    - In the barefoot running I've done, I find no inclination to land anywhere but on my heel.  So I'm not convinced of the assertion that it promotes landing more midfoot or forefoot.  The exception was on a very rough patch of road.  The ball of my foot is less sensitive than my heel.

     

    And a couple articles.

     

    - A study of loads on some joints comparing barefoot and shoes. Read the entire thing carefully.  There are some interesting revelations toward the end.

    http://www.pmrjournal.org/article/S1934-1482(09)01367-7/fulltext

    - An article about Pose training and runners, and how the change in footstrike apparently changes muscle and joint stresses.  Training was done by the creators of Pose.

    http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/09/running-technique-part-ii-scientific.html

     

    Have fun!

     

    Len





    Len

  • rbird Legend 1,073 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    But . . .  the article referenced at the start of this thread cited several studies implying that poor biomechanics, like pronation, do not cause running injuries and that modern running shoes do not even compensate for those poor biomechanics.

     

    So, that brings us back to the question - are humans “born to run” naturally, the way they have done it for millennia and the way running cultures like the Tarahumara still run today?

     

    Has the average modern human become so genetically inferior that we can’t run even moderate distances without injuring ourselves? Or should we all ditch our $100 running shoes and strap on a pair of Huarache sandals?





    2010 Space Coast Marathon 4:27:39

    2011 Charleston Marathon 4:25:58

    2011 Croom Fools Run 50k 6:16:51

    2011 Marine Corps Marathon 4:24:48

    2011 Jacksonville Bank Marathon 4:44:12 (4:45 Pace Leader)

    2012 Florida Keys Ragnar Relay 28:20:47 (3rd place-Mixed Ultra)


    Check it out - I'm bloggin'!

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,325 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Very good questions.  I don't think the answers are close at hand.  Meanwhile we each have to do the best we can, trying different things to find what works best for us.  "We are each an experiment of one." (Sheehan, I think.)

     

    Len





    Len

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