#1 The most expensive shoes are the worst.
According to a study done by Bernard Marti, a preventative medicine specialist at Switserlands’ Universtity of Bern, runners wearing A-quality running shoes are 123% more likely to get injured than runners in cheap shoes.
That’s right. Seems crazy right?
He and his team analysed 4.358 runners in the Bern Grand-Prix, which is a 9.6 Mile race. The first thing that struck them was that 45 percent of the studied group had been hurt in the year leading up to the race.
The rest of the information from the study wasn’t any less surprising:
The most common variable between the runners wasn’t training surface, running speed, body weight, age, motivation or previous injury.
It was the price of the shoe.
Runners in shoes over 90$ were twice as much likely to get hurt as runners in shoes of 40$ and below.
For me, it’s not that much of a shocker. I’ve been running on 20$ fake (don’t tell anybody 😉 ) Nike Free running shoes and I’ve never felt better during my runs.
#2 Feet don’t respond well to cushioning
We believe that the more cushioning in our shoes, the more comfortable the feet will be. We might be wrong.
First off, all the cushioning in our expensive running shoes do nothing much to reduce impact. When you think about it, that’s not so strange. During every step we take during a run, the body weight that comes down smashing onto the ground can go up to 10 times your body weight.
In my case, that would be 1500 pound of force coming down onto a half an inch of rubber. It’s very unlikely that piece of rubber is going to absorb it all.
“You can cover an egg with an oven mitt before rapping it with a hammer, but that egg ain’t coming out alive”- Christopher Mcdougall (Born to Run)
Secondary, more cushioning make our landing mechanics worse. During some studies on gymnasts they found that the thicker the landing mat, the harder athletes would slam down, trying to find balance. A comparable thing happens when we run. The feet sense a soft underground and instinctively pushing through to find a hard, stable surface to land on.
This is often found when multiple types of shoes are used while running on a force plate. Often, force absorbed by the plate changes significantly while changing between well cushioned shoes, thin soled shoes and barefoot running shoes. Just not the way you’d expect.
Often impact levels are the least in bare foot of thin soled footwear, and highest in cushioned shoes. And that’s because with less cushioning to rely on, we use our bodies’ own shock-absorbers and they happen to be really good.
And even better, it can be trained to become even better.
If you want to know how your shock absorbers are functioning, click here
I’ll upload some stability exercises to my channel soon.