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  1. #1
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    Default Running shoes: Debate on reducing the heel

    For runners:

    There has been some re-thinking of proper design for running shoes. Excerpts follow.

    The American College of Sports Medicine [...] recommends shoes with a heel-to-toe height differential, or drop, of no more than 6 millimeters, or about a quarter of an inch. Traditional running shoes typically have a heel 12 to 16 millimeters higher than the toe.

    [...]

    An article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined the widespread practice of prescribing "distance-running shoes featuring elevated cushioned heels and pronation-control systems tailored to the individual's foot type." The article, published online in 2008, found no evidence in scientific literature that those features do runners any good.

    [...]

    Some studies show that raised heels on running shoes can promote a heel-first landing that generates high collision forces with the ground.

    "It's just physics: If you keep building up the heel, you're going to keep striking it harder," says Laura LaMarche, founder and director of the University of Utah's Runner's Clinic in Salt Lake City. "So if you decrease the ramp of the heel, then you help promote kind of a softer midfoot landing."
    Examples of shoes with a lower heel:

    Nike's 10-year-old Free line was inspired by barefoot running, with super-flexible soles. It includes versions with heel-height differentials of 8, 6 and 4 millimeters.

    Saucony in 2007 released the Kinvara, a shoe with a heel just 4 millimeters higher than its toe.

    [...] Altra's Zero Drop soles with no raised heel [...]
    Full article: The Just-Right Running Shoe - WSJ

    Personally, I've been having an issue with "runner's knee" over the last couple months. (The article mentions knee pain as one of the symptoms of too-high heels on running shoes.) So I've ordered the Altra & Saucony shoes for a try-out. I'll try to remember to report back on the results.

  2. #2
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    I think it's cool that there are more options for people regarding the type of shoes they want to try out. I have had some success with minimalist shoes, but I also am in PT school and we discussed running strategies and footwear, and it's not as simple as "shoe industry wants you to have running problems so you become dependent on more and more expensive shoes".

    It really depends a lot on your foot posture and your running strategy (type of foot strike etc) which kind of shoe is best for you. Minimalist shoes can be great for some people, and they can be a disaster for others. Feet and running gait vary a lot from person to person.

    Some advice: if you are changing your footwear to something significantly different than what you are accustomed to, build up your mileage in the new footwear GRADUALLY.

    Don't jump right in doing the same intensity you were doing in the old shoes. A recipe for injury.
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  3. #3
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Most of the runners I know wear minimalist shoes. However, I think most of them also wear them because they do crossfit and it's easier to do most of those lifts in flat shoes. I run everyday (sprints or 3-5 miles) in normal running shoes without issue but I could see how minimalist shoes might benefit form. I wouldn't wear them off of concrete or tracks, though. I've heard that you can feel every little rock and root on trails. Also, if you move to minimalist shoes you really need to take some time to get used to running normal distances in them or your ankle and calf muscles will feel destroyed.
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  4. #4
    Male johnnyyukon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    Most of the runners I know wear minimalist shoes. However, I think most of them also wear them because they do crossfit and it's easier to do most of those lifts in flat shoes. I run everyday (sprints or 3-5 miles) in normal running shoes without issue but I could see how minimalist shoes might benefit form. I wouldn't wear them off of concrete or tracks, though. I've heard that you can feel every little rock and root on trails. Also, if you move to minimalist shoes you really need to take some time to get used to running normal distances in them or your ankle and calf muscles will feel destroyed.
    Pretty much this.

    Minimal shoes will pretty much force you to run on the balls of your feet, thus the very sore calves at the beginning.

    It's worth it though.

    I started wit these, SLOWLY:

    Merrell Trail Glove 2



    They don't make 'em anymore but these are the new ones, and I've used the old ones so much I'm in the market:







    But yeah, I can run a treadmill TOTALLY barefoot now. No soreness. My ankles and foot tendons are like steel cables. And I can run 4 miles on a rocky trail with those shoes. SOOOOO much better once you get used to it.

    Also, this could be worth checking out, for perfect running posture:

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  5. #5
    eye of the storm magpie's Avatar
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    I always run barefoot, but yeah, as other people have mentioned, it's on the balls of my feet and on grass. I have nothing else to add because I really know nothing about proper running footwear.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hel View Post
    I always run barefoot, but yeah, as other people have mentioned, it's on the balls of my feet and on grass. I have nothing else to add because I really know nothing about proper running footwear.
    This. Wild guess is heel should not so easily touch the ground. Barefoot is great!

  7. #7
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    I have had vibram 5 finger shoes( Vibram FiveFingers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) for 3 years and would recommend them to everyone for running shoes and for everyone who isnt embarrassed to use them for daily use

    But yes, they require some getting used to before feet are adjusted to them properly. Because peoples feet are too weak for them due to being used to shoes that support the feet too much and too high heels.
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