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 cushioned vs lightweight shoes
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

cushioned vs lightweight shoes Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:11 pm 

I've read a couple of interesting discussions recently about running in minimalist shoes: basically racing flats, or some other lightweight shoe. Most everyone today wears cushioned trainers, with raised heels, stability features, etc, and I've never really thought to question why. Shouldn't the human foot be pretty well adapted to the task of walking and running? By raising the heel, counteracting pronation, and providing tons of cushioning, are modern shoes just enouraging poor running style?

Trail Runner published an interview with this year's Leadville 100 winner, and he runs in very minimal shoes. He even cuts out part of the heel and most of the tongue. His claim was that fancier shoes (especially ones with more heel lift) encourage heel striking and other bad habits, and prevents full use of the achilles tendon for impact absorption. His arguments make some sense to me. Why does a shoe need to do anything other that keep pointy rocks from cutting you? Is the human foot such a poor design that it needs artificial correction?


Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: cushioned vs lightweight shoes Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:00 pm 

Funny: I just read an interview with him in Trailrunning Magazine at lunch. I'm kind of split: I think that there are certain advantages and disadvantages to barefoot or "low impact" shoe running. Firstly, I don't think the human body can be looked at as a rule. There are exceptions, naturally, but for the most part, evolutionarily speaking, we as a species (in the western world, anyway) have grown out of using our feet as constant sources of transportation. I imagine even 100 years ago, people were more likely to have proper mechanics when it came to barefoot walking and running. So our feet and bodies have adapted to lower stress impact for shorter periods.

I do have to admit - using your foot's natural striking positioning without contorting it within the confines of a shoe sounds awfully natural!


Joined: 09 May 2006
Posts: 84

Re: cushioned vs lightweight shoes Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:31 pm 

I use nuetral shoes, but I like some cuhsioning in the forefoot!

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