Why Athletic Shoes Do Not Work


The running shoe version needs to be adjusted. Pronation, motioncontrol, cushioning, and stability footwear? Do away with them all.

It’s not only barefoot running and minimalism versus running shoes, the either/or situation most portray it to be. It’s much deeper than that. It’s not even that running shoe businesses are evil and out to earn a profit. Shoe businesses might be attaining the aims they set out for, but the aims that their aiming to get are not what need to be done. The paradigm that running shoes are based up on could be your problem.

Athletic shoes are based upon two central Replica bags premises, impact forces and pronation. Their objectives are not simple, limit impact forces and protect against overprontation. This has resulted in a classification approach based on endurance, stability, and motion controller. The issue is that this system may not have any ground to stand . Are we dedicated to the wrong things for 40+yearsago?

I’ll start with the customary statistic of 33-56% of runners have injured every year (Bruggerman, 2007). That’s kind of unbelievable when you contemplate it. Since there are plenty of mishaps going on, let’s look at what shoes are assumed to complete.


As said earlier in the day, shoes are made upon the assumption that impact forces and pronation are exactly what cause harms. Pronation, particularly was assembled while the bane of most runners. We have become overrun with limiting pronation via motion control shoes. The central idea behind pronation is that over-pronating causes turning of the lower leg(i.e. foot,tibia, knee) putting strain in the joints and for that reason resulting in injuries. Running shoes are so designed to limit this pronation. Essentially, jogging shoes are developed and designed to set the body at”proper” alignment. However, do we really require proper recovery?

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

Looking at the very first premisewe can see several studies that usually do not demonstrate a connection between pronation and harms. In an epidemiological analysis by Wen et al. (1997), he found that lower extremitly orientation was not just a significant risk factor for marathon runners. In another study by Wen et al. (1998), this time around a prospective study, ” he concluded ” Minor variations in lower extremity alignment do not seem disproportionately to function as major risk factors for overuse injuries .” Other studies have reached similar conclusions. One by Nigg et al. (2000) revealed that ankle and foot movement failed to predict injuries in a massive set of runners.

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

Looking at the next premise, do shoes even modify pronation? Motion control shoes have been designed to decrease pronation through many different mechanics. Many choose to add a medial post or a similar system. At a study by Stacoff (2001), they tested several motion control panel apparatus and discovered they failed to alter pronation and didn’t alter the kinematics of the tibia or calcaneus bones . Similarly, a separate study by Butler (2007) found that motioncontrol shoes showed no real difference in peak pronation when compared to cushioning shoes.

This is kind of a double whammy on motion sneakers. If excessive pronation does not result in harms to this level which everybody believes, of course should motion control shoes do alter pronation, what’s the purpose of a motion control shoe?


Impact forces are one other significant scoundrel of running injuries. The thinking goes like that, the more the impact force over the reduced the leg, the more increased stress the foot/leg takes, which could potentially result in injuries. To combat this fear, athletic shoes, special cushioning ones, are all to the rescue. Let’s take a look.

The first question will be, do lace sneakers perform their position?

Wegener(2008) tested the Asics Gel-Nimbus and the Brooks Glycerin to observe if they paid down plantar pressure. They discovered that the shoes did their work! ….But where it reduced pressure varied highly. And therefore pressure reduction varied between forefoot/rearfoot/etc. It should be noted that this reduction in pressure was founded on a comparison to another shoe, a tennis coach. I am not sure this is a great controller. Basically, this study tells us that cushioned sneakers decrease peak pressure than a Tennis shoe.

In an overview on the subject, Nigg (2000) discovered that both outside and internal impact force peaks were barely or not affected by the jogging shoes midsole. Which means that the cushioning type does not affect impact forces much, in any respect. However, just how is it? I mean it’s good sense if you jumped concrete jumped on a shoe foam like surface, the shoe is thicker straight? We’ll get back for the particular question at one minute.

Impact Labs: The image has cloudier:

However, it isn’t quite as straightforward as described previously. In an interesting study by Scott (1990) they looked at summit loads on the numerous internet sites of likely injury for runners (Achilles, knee, etc.). All peak loads happened throughout mid-stance and push off. This resulted in an important finding which”the impact force in heel contact was estimated to have no impact on the peak force seen at the chronic injury websites,” and led to speculation that impact force did not relate injury development.

Further complicating the impact force idea is that after looking at injury rates of those running on hard surfaces or soft surfaces, then there appears that there is no protective advantage of conducting on soft surfaces. Why is this? Due to something termed pre-activation and muscular tuning which is going to be discussed below.

Supporting this data, other studies have demonstrated that those that have a low peak impact have the same probability of being injured as people that have a tall peak impact force (Nigg, 1997). If you wish to complicate things even further, impact seems to be the driving force between increased bone density.

As a coach or trainer that this should make sense. The bone reacts to the stimulation by becoming more resistant for it, in the event the stimulation isn’t overly big and there’s enough recovery.

Under Estimating the Human Anatomy: Impact forces as feedback:

Straight back to this question I asked earlier: How can impact compels not change based on shoe only softness and isn’t working on tough surfaces contribute to more injuries?

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

A good illustration of this can be seen with bare foot running, the reduced proprioception (sensory feedback) of wearing a shoe negates the cushioning of this shoe. Studies using minimal shoes/barefoot have proven that the body appears to accommodate the impact forces/landing predicated on feedback and feedforward data. When running or stepping from a jump, the body takes in all the sensory info, plus prior adventures, and adjusts to protect itself/land optimally as previously mentioned above, it does so through an assortment of mechanisms. Thus, you put some cushioned running shoe on the bottom of one’s foot and your system moves”Oh, we’re fine, we don’t have to worry about impact too much, we’ve got this soft part of junk on the foot.

One concept that should be further discussed is muscle building tightening. It’s a concept recently proposed by Nigg et al. in 2000. He sees impact force for a signal or even a source of feedback, as I stated earlier. The body then uses this information and adjusts accordingly to minimize soft tissue vibration and/or bone vibration. His contention is that sway force isn’t the issue, 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 functions as a way of muscle management to organize for impact and in addition may alter muscular stiffness, and it is yet another way to get ready for impact. Pre-activation was established with multiple EMG studies.

Shoes perhaps not only impact this, but also surface type will not too. As mentioned previously, the change in conducting surface failed to impact injury prices. Why? Probably because your system adjusts to running surface. In a interesting study measuring muscle activity, O’Flynn(1996) found that pre-activation changed based on surface. To prepare for impact, also presumably to minimize muscle/bone vibration, when conducting on tangible pre-activation was very high, when conducting on a track, not really much.

What this means is that the body adjusts via sensory input. It has several different adaptation methods. A shoe influences how it adjusts. The shoe isn’t doing anything to improve cushioning, it is simply shifting how the body reacts to impact. It’s really a substantial mindset jump in case you were to think about it. Here’s the overview: the kind of shoe and fabric of the shoe changes impact perhaps not because of alignment of the leg or because of fluctuations in cushioning. Instead it affects impact characteristics since it changes the sensory responses.

In conclusion the cushioning concept. Well, exactly what are we wanting to cushion? Heel impact forces have yet to be demonstrated to link with injuries, in fact in 1 study low-impact runners had a 30% injury rate in comparison to a 20% injury rate in high impact runners. Shoe mid-soles do not change, or somewhat change impact forces anyway. Thus , not just might cushioning be the answer, but the shoes might not even be doing their job. However, think about those shoe cushioning studies showing improved cushioning with their brand new mid-sole?! Well, most the testing is accomplished using a system to mimic the effect compels that you experience during running. That means, yes it can cushion a direct effect more, however it doesn’t take into account the function of the human body adjusting impact centered on feedback.

The reason why cushioning does not work? Because the body adapts based on feedback and feedforward info. These results prompted one prominent researcher(Nigg,2000) to involve the reconsideration of this cushioning paradigm for conducting shoes.

Barefoot running?

Instantly, this topic couldn’t be complete without a brief mention of bare foot running. An interesting thing to see is that the initial peak impact force is absent in barefoot running when comparing to running with shoes. This means is thatthe impact compels appear to be (A) for shoes and (B ) ) for barefoot. That very first tiny blip in One may be the very first impact force. There’s a theory that initial impact force is related to harms.

A recent study by Squadrone et al.(2009) compared jogging shoes, bare foot running, and running in Vibram five-fingers. They exhibited reduced impact forces, briefer ground speed and contact duration, but higher stride frequency whilst conducting barefoot (and in Vibrams) rather than running with shoes. This isn’t surprising, but shows that athletic shoes do in fact alter our regular strides. An interesting point is the decrease in stride length but increase in stride frequency. Shoes have a tendency to advertise this more stride in a result of ground contact frequency and times. That is really because of changes in comments suggesting, increased chances to property heel stretched-out, greater weight, all of which contribute to more times on a lawn. It’s interesting to see that elite runners all have short ground contacts and high frequencies (as demonstrated by the frequently quoted Daniels analysis of 180 strides per minute).

Tying this to the conversation above on the human body commanding things centered on sensory information, when conducting barefoot, there is a higher degree of stiffness in the lower leg. Greater stiffness may result in an increased SSC (stretch-shortening cycle) response, leading to greater force on the next push (2001). Dalleau et al. revealed that pre-activation inducing increased stiffness improved Running Economy. In his analysis, the energy price of running was closely associated with the stiffness of the lower leg (1998)

What exactly does all this mean? Potentiallythis implies more stress on the joints within this area. Jay Dicharry place it better when he explained:

“The soft fabrics in modern running shoes allow a contact style that you would not use bare foot. The foot no further has got the proprioceptive cues it becomes unshod. The foot naturally adheres to surfaces immediately, but a mid-sole can impair the foot’s ability to react to the ground. This can vibrate or change feedback the body receives while running. These factors allow a runner to embrace a gait that causes the elevated forces observed above.”

The 1 thing which non-barefoot/heel strike proponents utilize to discount midfoot striking/barefoot running may be your Achilles tendon. They say, right, that the load on the Achilles is much higher in midfoot athletes that are striking. The Achilles is intended to just take a large load. The problem is we’ve weakened the Achilles through years of wearing shoes with their heels that are raised. Essentially, we’ve created the Achilles problem with the shoes meant to block it. The Achilles is designed to use in a rubber band like fashion. . Throughout impact such as the braking or get phase of running, the achilles tendon stores energy and then subsequent releases that energy via recoil through the take off period of running. With this elastic storage and return, the air uptake required will be 30-40% higher! Therefore, concerning performance why are individuals trying to minimize the tendonous contribution? It’s like giving energy away.

Running shoes don’t make use of elastic storage and return in addition to barefoot or shoes that are minimal. More energy has been lost with shoes compared to with bare foot running (Alexander and Bennett, 1989). In addition, in certain types of shoes, the arch isn’t permitted to work as a spring. The size of the foot may store around 17% of kinetic energy (Ker, 1987). Given the results, its surprising that running barefoot when in comparison to running with shoes is better. Several studies have shown a low VO2 at exactly the same pace with bare foot running, even when weight is taken into account. This should be no real surprise since I mentioned above, without elastic recoil VO2 condition would be 30-40% higher. Running in a minor shoe enables better utilization of this particular system.

The take away message is that shoes change natural mechanisms to 1 that creates mechanical changes which are not optimal for conducting fast (decreased pace frequency, increased ground contact, decreased stiffness of this system, diminished elastic involvement, and on and on).

Tying it with elites:

Studying elite athletes, when training and racing, they generally have higher turnover, minimal ground contact time, and a foot attack that’s under their center of gravity. Since nearly all elites exhibit these same traits while hurrying, it is logical this is the perfect way to run fast. Therefore, why are you currently wearing footwear that is designed to boost ground contact, decrease turnover, and promote footstrike outside before the middle of gravity? I have no idea.


To summarize, I am not a fanatic saying everyone ditch shoes today. Your own bodies done some adapting throughout this moment. You’ve must gradually change if you would like to undue a number of these changes.

The goal with this article was not to discuss the added benefits of barefoot running. Alternatively it had been to point out the difficulties with running footwear classification. It’s predicated on a cushioning/pronation paradigm that only is not as true as they desire us to trust. That paradigm needs to be re evaluated. It’s not based on good science but rather initial ideas that made feel without science supporting them, but upon further inspection may not operate to testing. They concluded that selecting shoes centered on arch height (like all major running magazines suggest) isn’t essential if injury avoidance could be your objective. I figure that means that the systems busted…

Where do we go and how can we fix it? I don’t have any idea. Sorry, no genius responses here. My inclination is that we plan to letting the foot function the way that it is meant to function, or at least come up with a shoe that may alter foot mechanics but while still allowing feedback/functionality of the body. The very first step is appearing at the foundation on which running shoes are constructed up on, the motion control, stability, and cushioning paradigm. My take is that it needs to be reevaluated. I will finish with something I have previously said, but it is an important idea to get across:

The body is more complicated and smarter than we give it charge. The sort of shoe and material of the shoe varies stride or impact traits NOT as a result of alignment of the lower leg or because of changes in cushioning. As an alternative it changes impact and stride traits because it alters the sensory feedback. The mind is a great point.’

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