There are changes in technology every day that help runners perform better and decrease their risk of injury. Camelbak’s help us hydrate, Garmin’s help us train and shoe technology has progressed by leaps and bounds since I wore my old Etonics in high school. But there are also many companies who are trying to capitalize on this by introducing fads and gimmicky products.
The latest craze has been promoting a “minimalist” style of running because it is more natural. While there are many, Nike Free and New Balance Minimus are two of the biggest offenders. I agree that running barefoot or with a pair of “toe” shoe is probably similar to the way our ancestors ran when being chased by some saber toothed predator, but unfortunately today’s runners have much farther to travel than back to their caves. Putting intense stress on your joints requires technology if you want to stay healthy. Sure a small percentage of people will suffer no ill effects from running this way but the vast majority of us need support, cushion and stability. “But Dave, people have been running marathons for years with poor technology” you say? That is the small percentage I refer to. The running community is enormous these days and most of us would not be out there without the technology in the modern running shoe. Please keep this in mind when some store clerk is trying to get you to buy a pair of shoes that look like gloves for your feet.
On the other side of the coin we have shoes that look like they are high in technology but offer nothing for today’s runner. Again, I have two major offenders. The Nike Shox and the Reebok Zig. Nike has been taking advantage of novice runners since 2001 with far too many styles of the Shox to count. They claim that these shoes absorb the impact from heel strike while running, but spring back for a boost in speed with less energy expended by the runner. Meanwhile Reebok boasts that their Zig technology causes up to 20% less wear and tear on key leg muscles. All I can say is that it is a pretty safe bet you will never see Ryan Hall racing in either of these abominations. Take it from me, using these shoes is the equivalent of painting flames on your car to make it go faster. I’m sorry but a Subaru with flames on the side is still just a Subaru and will not get you to the finish line any faster. So please people, let’s stick with what works and don’t fix what isn’t broken. And as always, remember to run for fun but race to place!
© Copyright 2012 The Hornet, All rights Reserved. Written For: Adventures In Running