Why Running Shoes Do Not Work


The running shoe model should be fixed. Eliminate them all.

It’s not just bare foot running and minimalism versus running shoes, but the either/or situation most depict it to become. It’s much deeper than that. It’s not really that running-shoe companies are bad and out to turn a profit. Shoe companies may be attaining the aims that they set out for, but the goals that their planning for are perhaps not exactly what have to get accomplished. The paradigm that athletic shoes are based up on is the issue.

Athletic shoes are based upon two principal assumptions, impact forces and pronation. Their goals are simple, limit Replica bags forces and prevent overprontation. This has resulted in a classification approach based on endurance, stability, and motion control. The challenge is that system may possibly not have any ground to stand .

I’ll start with the usual statistic of 33-56% of runners get injured every year (Bruggerman, 2007). That’s sort of unbelievable when you think about doing it. Since there are lots of mishaps going on, let’s look at exactly what shoes are supposed to do.


As said earlier in the day, shoes are built up on the assumption that impact forces and pronation are exactly what cause harms. Pronation, in particular was constructed since the bane of most runners. We have been overwhelmed with limiting pronation via motion sneakers. The central idea behind pronation is that over-pronating causes rotation of the leg(i.e. foot,tibia, knee) putting stress on the joints and so leading to injuries. Athletic shoes are therefore designed to limit this pronation. Essentially, athletic shoes have been developed and designed to set the body in”proper” functioning. However, do we really need proper alignment?

This paradigm on pronation relies on two chief things: (1 ) )over pronation causes injuries and (2) running shoes can alter pronation.

Looking at the first assumption we can see several studies which do not demonstrate a link between pronation and injuries. In another study by Wen et al. (1998)this time a prospective studythat he concluded that” Minor variations in lower extremity alignment do not seem disproportionately to function as major risk factors for overuse injuries in runners.” Other studies reach similar conclusions. One by Nigg et al. (2000) revealed that ankle and foot movement failed to predict injuries in a big group of runners.

If foot movement/pronation doesn’t predict harms or isn’t just a risk factor for injuries, the other has to question whether the concept is working or sound…

Looking at the 2nd premise, do shoes modify pronation? Motion control shoes have been designed to decrease pronation through many different mechanics. Most choose to add a medial post or a similar apparatus. At a study by Stacoff (2001), they analyzed several motion control shoe devices and discovered they didn’t alter pronation and did not alter the kinematics of the tibia or calcaneus ribs either. Similarly, another study by Butler (2007) found that motion control shoes revealed no real difference in peak pronation when compared to cushioning shoes.

This is type of a double whammy on motion sneakers. If excessive pronation does not lead to harms to the degree that everyone believes, of course, should motion control shoes don’t even alter pronation, what’s the purpose of a motion control shoe?


Impact forces would be one other significant scoundrel of conducting injuries. The thinking goes like that, the more the impact force on the reduced the leg, the greater stress the foot/leg happens, which can potentially result in injuries. To combat this fear, running shoes, special cushioning ones, are all to the rescue. Let’s have a peek .

The very first question is, do lace sneakers perform their job?

Wegener(2008) analyzed the Asics Gel-Nimbus and the Brooks Glycerin to observe if they paid down plantar pressure. ….But where it paid off pressure varied tremendously. And thus pressure loss varied between forefoot/rearfoot/etc. This resulted in the intriguing conclusion that their should be considered a shift in prescribing shoes to a based on where plantar pressure is highest for that each person. It should be mentioned that this reduction in pressure was founded on a comparison to another shoe, a tennis shoe. I’m not certain that this is a fantastic controller. Fundamentally, this study informs us that cushioned running shoes decrease peak pressure than a Tennis shoe.

At an overview about the topic, Nigg (2000) discovered that both external and internal impact force peaks were either not or barely influenced by the jogging shoes midsole. Which usually means that the cushioning type does not change impact compels much, if at all. However, just how is it? I mean it’s common sense if you jumped concrete vs. jumped on a shoe foam such as the shoe surface is thicker right? We are going to keep coming back for this specific question in one moment.

Impact Labs: The image has cloudier:

Nevertheless, it isn’t as straightforward as clarified previously. In an interesting study by Scott (1990) they looked at peak loads on the numerous internet sites of likely injury for runners (Achilles, knee, etc.). All peak loads happened during mid-stance and push off. This led to an essential finding that”the impact force at heel contact has been anticipated to have no impact on the peak force seen at the chronic injury sites,” and led to speculation which impact induce didn’t relate injury development.

Further complicating the impact force idea is that when looking at accident rates of those running on hard surfaces or soft surfaces, then there appears to be no protective benefit of conducting on soft surfaces. What’s this? Because of some thing termed pre-activation and muscular corrections that is going to soon be discussed below.

Supporting this particular data, additional studies have proven that people that have a low peak impact have the identical odds of being injured as those with a tall peak impact force (Nigg, 1997). If you wish to complicate things even further, impact seems to be the driving force between bone density.

As a coach or trainer this should seem sensible. The bone reacts to the stimulus by becoming more resistant to it, IF the stimulus isn’t too big and there’s enough recovery.

Underestimating the Human Anatomy: Effect compels as comments:

Straight back to the question I asked earlier in the day: How do impact compels not change based on shoe sole softness and isn’t working on tough surfaces lead to more injuries?

The problem is, yet more, we underestimate the human body! It’s an wonderful thing, and we never give it the credit that it deserves. The body adjusts to the top which it’s going to strike, if you give it a chance. Your human body adapts to the surface and shoe correcting impact compels via changes combined stiffness, the method by which the foot strikes, and also a concept called muscle tuning.

A good example of this is sometimes seen with barefoot running, the diminished proprioception (sensory feedback) of wearing a shoe negates the cushioning of the shoe. Studies utilizing minimal shoes/barefoot have demonstrated that the body appears to accommodate the impact forces/landing based on feedback and feedforward data. When running or stepping from the jump, your system consumes most of the sensory info, also prior experiences, and adjusts to protect itself/land optimally as previously stated earlier, it does this through an assortment of mechanisms. Ergo, you stick some cushioned athletic shoes on the bottom of your foot and your system moves”Oh, so we’re fine, we do not have to be concerned about impact too much, we have this soft bit of crap on the foot.

One concept that should be further discussed is muscle tuning. It’s really a theory recently suggested by Nigg et al. at 2000. He sees impact force as a signal or a way to obtain feedback, as I stated earlier. The body then uses this advice and adjusts accordingly to minimize soft tissue bone or vibration vibration. His contention is that sway force isn’t the problem, but rather the signal. Muscle tuning is basically controlling these vibrations using various methods. Pre-activation is activation of these muscles before impact. In this case it acts as a method of muscle tuning to prepare for impact and in addition can alter muscular stiffness, and it is yet another means to prepare for impact. Pre-activation has been established with multiple EMG studies.

Shoes not just impact this, but also surface type does too. As stated previously, the reversal in running surface didn’t impact injury rates. Why? Probably as your system adjusts to running surface. To get ready for impact, also presumably to minimize muscle/bone vibration, when conducting on concrete pre-activation was high, when conducting on a track, perhaps not much.

What all of this signifies is that the body adapts via sensory input. It has several different version procedures. A shoe affects how it adjusts. The shoe is not doing anything to change cushioning, it is simply shifting the way the body reacts to impact. It’s a considerable mindset jump if you think about it. Here’s the overview: The type of shoe and also material of the shoe changes impact NOT because of alignment of the lower leg or because of changes in cushioning. Alternatively it affects impact traits since it transforms the sensory feedback.

In conclusion the cushioning concept. But exactly what are you currently attempting to cushion? Heel impact forces have not been shown to relate with injuries, in fact in 1 study low impact runners had a 30% damage speed compared to a 20% injury rate in high-impact runners. Shoe midsoles usually do not change, or marginally change impact forces anyway. Sonot just might cushioning be the answer, but the shoes may not likewise be doing their own job. However, think about those shoe studies showing improved cushioning with their brand new mid-sole?! Well, the majority of this testing is achieved by using a machine to mimic the effect compels you have during running. That means, yes it may cushion an impact more, however it will not take in to account the role of your body correcting impact centered on feedback.

The reason why cushioning does not get the job done? These results motivated one noteworthy researcher(Nigg,2000) to call for the reconsideration of their cushioning paradigm for conducting shoes.

Barefoot running?

Quickly, this topic could not be complete without a brief mention of barefoot running. An interesting thing to see is the fact that the initial peak impact force is absent in bare foot running when compared to running with shoes. This means is thatthe impact compels appear to be (A) for shoes and (B ) ) for bare foot. That initial little blip in A is the initial effect force. There is a hypothesis that this initial impact force is related to injuries.

A recent analysis by Squadrone et al.(2009) compared athletic shoes, bare foot running, and running in Vibram Five Fingers. They exhibited reduced impact compels, briefer earth speed and contact duration, but higher stride frequency when conducting barefoot (and at Vibrams) as compared to running shoes. This is not unexpected, but demonstrates athletic shoes do actually alter our normal strides. An intriguing point is the reduction in stride span but increase in stride frequency. Shoes tend to promote this longer stride in a result of ground contact frequency and times. That is really due to changes in opinions suggesting, increased likelihood to land heel stretched-out, increased weight, all which lead to longer times on a lawn.

Bearing this to the discussion above in your human body commanding things predicated on sensory information, even when running barefoot, there’s a greater degree of stiffness at the leg. Higher stiffness could result in a heightened SSC (stretch shortening cycle) response, leading to greater force on the next push off (2001). Dalleau et al. demonstrated that pre-activation inducing increased stiffness improved Running Economy. In his study, the energy expense of running was closely associated with the stiffness of the leg (1998)

Yet another recent analysis found that knee flexion torque, knee varus torque, along with hip internal rotation skate all were considerably higher in shoes in contrast to barefoot. What exactly does all this mean? Potentially, this means more stress on the joints in this field. Jay Dicharry put it better when he explained:

“The soft fabrics in modern sneakers allow a touch style that you would not use barefoot. The foot no more has got the proprioceptive cues which it gets unshod. The foot naturally accommodates to surfaces immediately, but a midsole will impair the foot’s ability to answer the ground. This could muffle or change feedback the body gets while still running. These factors allow a runner to adopt a gait that causes the elevated forces observed above.”

The 1 thing that non-barefoot/heel attack proponents utilize to dismiss mid-foot striking/barefoot running may be that the Achilles tendon. They say, correctly, that the load on your Achilles is much higher in mid-foot striking runners. The Achilles is supposed to consider a massive load. The problem is we’ve weakened the Achilles through years of wearing shoes with their heels that are raised. Essentially, we’ve established the Achilles trouble with the shoes intended to prevent it. The Achilles was made to work in a rubber band like fashion. . Throughout impact such as the braking or contact period of conducting, the achilles tendon stores energy and after that subsequent releases that energy via recoil during the remove period of running. With this elastic return and storage, the air uptake required could be 30-40% higher! So, in terms of performance why are you currently wanting to minimize the tendonous participation? It’s like giving energy away.

Running shoes don’t utilize elastic storage and return in addition to barefoot or shoes that are minimal. More energy is lost with shoes than with barefoot running (Alexander and Bennett, 1989). Furthermore, in some types of shoes, even the arch isn’t permitted to work as a spring. Given those results, its surprising that running bare foot when in comparison to running with shoes is more efficient. Several studies have demonstrated a decreased VO2 at exactly the same pace with bare foot running, even when weight is taken into consideration. This should be no real surprise since I mentioned above, without elastic recoil VO2 demand would be 30-40percent higher. Running at a small shoe enables better utilization of this system.

The takeaway message is that shoes change natural mechanics to one which creates mechanical changes that aren’t optimal for conducting fast (decreased speed frequency, higher ground contact, decreased stiffness of this system, diminished elastic involvement, and on and on).

Tying it jointly with E-lites:

Looking at elite athletes, when training and racing, they generally have higher mortality, minimal ground contact time, and a foot attack that is under their centre of gravity. Since the majority of elites exhibit these very same characteristics while racing, it makes sense this is the optimal approach to run fast. So, why are we wearing footwear that’s designed to improve ground contact, decrease turnover, and promote foot-strike out in front of this center of gravity? I don’t have any idea.


To summarize, I am not some fanatic saying everyone ditch shoes today. Your bodies done some adapting throughout this time. You’ve got to gradually change if you would like to undue some of the changes.

The objective with this article was not to discuss the added benefits of barefoot running. As an alternative it was to point out the issues with running footwear classification. It’s predicated on a cushioning/pronation paradigm which only is not quite as true as they desire us to believe. That paradigm should be re evaluated. It isn’t founded on good science but alternatively initial thoughts that made sense without science supporting them, but upon further review may not remain true to testing. They concluded that selecting shoes based on arch elevation (like all major running magazines indicate ) isn’t essential if trauma prevention is the goal. I guess meaning that the systems busted…

Where do we go and how can we fix it? I have no idea. No genius replies . My tendency is that people plan for letting the foot function the way that it’s meant to work, or at least come up with some shoe that can alter foot mechanics although while still allowing feedback/functionality of the body. The very first step is appearing at the base on which running shoes are built up on, the motion control, stability, and endurance paradigm. My take is that it needs to be re evaluated. I will finish with some thing I have previously said, but it’s an important idea to get across:

Your system is significantly more complicated and more affordable than we give it charge. The type of shoe and material of this shoe changes impact or stride faculties maybe not as a result of alignment of the leg because of changes in cushioning. Alternatively it changes impact and stride faculties because it changes the sensory responses. The mind is a fantastic point.’