A few years ago, Val and I were looking into a technique of running called POSE, which advocates running on the balls of your feet and keeping your knees bent instead of the locked-out knees and heel striking that virtually all but truly elite runners use.
We both tried a shoe called Newtons which had more of the cushioning in the forefoot and less on the heels. The shoes make it easier to run on the balls of your feet and off your heels. Val has used the Newtons in her shorter races, 5 & 10K’s and loves them but adds they take some getting used to as they strain the achilles tendon which are not used to stretching out this way. For this reason, the Newtons require a break-in period.
It is tough, however to out-market the big shoemakers like Nike, which continue to produce cushiony, built-up gelled heel shoes with stabilizer this and that for the running masses. Chiropractors and orthopedic doctors are the ones who benefit from all the injuries that come from running incorrectly and in the wrong type of shoes. (One of thing most people don’t take into consideration is that successful running and racing requires learning how to run). Every other sport requires learning correct technique. why should running be any different?
The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has found that running shoes increase joint torque at the hips, knees and ankles. Have you ever had any injuries in these joints? Folks, those are the prime joints used in running and you may be destroying them!
Running barefoot or in Newtons or Vibram Five Fingers is bio-mechanically superior to the mass-marketed shoes we all wear. Christopher McDougall, author of “Born To Run” has more to add on the subject of running without injury.
If you are constantly injured and in pain or have stopped running due to debilitating injury, maybe it is time to revisit the idea of improving your technique and your gear.
Here is a very interesting thread on the hotly contested debate of barefoot running.
Hat tip: David Wedemeyer