RW article on "Minority" foot types



  • annajoannajo ✭✭✭
    sorry, Lawrence-Im confused-are you saying that standard shoes have too much of a heel but that they then give enough technology to support this extra impact - so when Pantman& everyone take a very low profile shoe this is good?

    I always thought that forefoot runners had a longer stride and that a longer stride was overall more efficient because of less contact with the ground, although I understand that it is harder on the legs.

    So whats your thinking when you fit someone's orthotics, in relation to this thread's contents?
  • running shoes dont have too much lift, its just standard in virtually all footwear and it means that one is able to extend the hip more and thus take a longer stride.

    Im just saying that this would increase impact but if there is no diff between shod and unshod then the shoe cushioning may be dealing with it pretty well and therefore the cushioned shoes could be regarded as good. Its kind of a slightly devil's advocate interpretation of the results of the study, a counterpoint if you will ;-)

    Orthotics are another kettle of fish... U got yours yet?
  • Im confused too.

    If you have a squishy heel on your shoe and land on your heel, it will absorb more impact than an unshod heel - which will smash to bits.

    If however you have an unshod foot, and land on the ball of your foot, with a bent knee, your built in suspension springs (tendons and muscles) will absorb impact.

    I think we are probably saying the same thing here.
    Anyway happy running everyone - however you decide to do it.
  • annajoannajo ✭✭✭
    Lawrence, im still on the old vectorthotics, not so comfy but nice and cheap for me. I wear them with my stability shoes, so am currently going against everything in this thread I think!

    so basically the pantman approach vs the standard approach-both fairly even in terms of injuries caused/avoided etc, but you get a longer stride out of standard running shoes?... interesting angle!
  • Longer stride but lower cadence. Pose, and I suspect most fore foot runners take smaller strides but much more quickly. It's a commonly accepted fact that a higher cadence, even with shorter stride will result in quicker running. That's the result that most of us are experiencing with Pose.

    We are also avoiding injuries that previously plagued us particularly in regards to achilles tendons, shin splits, plantar fascitis, various knee and back problems.

    Oh, and I no longer need to use my orthotics - I can afford to buy an extra pair of shoes with the money I save.
  • I aint sayin it aint workin, FM!

    Clearly if PM can go from 45mpw to 70+mpw then that could be regarded as success for him. Many would be chuffed to be doing 45! Whether 70+mpw on roads is appropriate for the human body is another issue ;-)

    I think a study would be a good idea but v,v difficult to do.

    I agree re: stride v cadence, so I think shoes have evolved to suit the needs of your average "Joe Schmoe" who wants to "jog", ie trot along in a comfortable way which could be hit heel/midfoot with a longer easier stride. IMO modern running shoes with stability/cushioning suit this.

    All IMHO, happy to be shot down and burn in hell!
  • PS

    Im a very average Joe Schmoe myself!
  • And burn in hell you will...............


    Yes, you may have a point that the cushioned shoes will suit the average "jogger" who is just out there to improve his fitness, loose a little weight a lessen his chances of having a heart attack, but surely the shoe companies can't be aiming all their efforts in this direction (tho maybe they are).
    In any case this is having a permanent damaging effect on all those runners who want to run seriously and improve their race times and are denied the info which could point them in a different direction. The real problem is that journalists (such as those who supposedly work at RW) instead of giving alternative opinions only support the shoe manufacturers line of reasoning).

    There has been enough discussion on the forum to warrant at least a small article on the subject.
  • What you have to bear in mind is that only a tiny percentage of running shoes are worn for running. Most are worn for walking (best to land on the heel when walking), a few are worn 'jogging' and even fewer are worn for 'serious' running. I bet 90% of all adults in Britain have a pair of running shoes. And how many use them for running?
  • That's true, Bazza, but when you see ads like the new one for Nike Shox suggesting that you'll get less injuries running in those sorts of things, then it makes my blood boil.

    We should complain to the Advertising authorities...
  • I agree, but we're talking about an article in RW presumably aimed at runners, just as the majority of adverts placed in RW are, and they're all telling runners that rolling from heel to toe is just about the only way to go and that to do this you need their incredibly expensive new, high tech shoe with gizmos and thingies to help you.

    It's classical marketing - create a need and then explain to people why they can't possibly live without it.
  • 5-ver p&p, just so you know bud, and I got them for £20/unit, so if Im ever in need of silly-shoes, Im sorted!
  • Sorry, can't quite get my head around this. Are you guys saying that the same amount of impact is being transferred to your body with shoes on as without shoes on - so in effect provide no cushioning properties at all?

    So - if I measured the amount of vibration in my legs/hips etc... then I would see no difference with shoes and without?

    Or am I missing the point here?
  • Exactly, I think. The point is, is that running with shoes is more likely to encourage poor, damaging technique than running without...
    (Please correct me PM/C/NRG-B)
  • There was a documentary on the TV about this and what the scientists found was that barefoot runners actually have less impact forces on their upper leg joints than those wearing cushioned shoes.

    This was because wearing shoes with a built-up heel actually prevents the feet from correctly functioning as a shock absorber.

    As if this wasn't bad enough they then measured the shock absorption of the soles of the then top ten brands of running shoe by attaching them to a machine that slammed them into a hard surface and they found that all these 'shoe technologies' actually provide no measurable shock absorption.

  • "And they go onto recommend a Nike shoe with a massively built up heel!"

    That'll be the Nike Stiletto trainer then.....
  • Lawrence - why does a 12mm heel allow more hip extension - surely at the point of hip extension you are pushing off from your forefoot whatever part of the foot you land on - therefore the height of the heel is irrelevant?

    Haven't quite finished the thread yet apologies if someone else has made this point already.
  • Popsy, you're always so polite... ;-)

    Tom B, VERY well put!
  • Blue sky thinking.......

    Forefoot striking is so biomechanically better at producing speed without injury but gaining the explosive power of the tendons that just about every species of animal known for its speed has developed to run solely with its toes making ground contact......

    the toe of the horse = the hoof - the fetlock = the arch of the foot and never makes contact with the ground

    similarly dogs / all the big cats etc - the 'dew claw' being a remnant of a toe....

    Don't see many sprinters landing on their heels either

  • oops, pastern = arch of foot not fetlock!

  • It's a shame Sean didn't come back - just as some sense was beginning to sink into the running 'establishment'.

    You don;t think he's been assasinated by the evil empire ?
  • Popsider

    Why does a heel lift permit more hip extension?

    The human body walks like an upside down pendulum. The foot is planted on the ground in front of the body and the body passes over the top and then in front of the planted foot.

    So to move in front of the planted foot the hip must extend, simple enough i hope. For the body to move over the foot, the foot must respond by acting like a pivot or rocker.

    There are in walking (and some terribly dangerous running styles ;-)) 3 rockers in a normal foot, used in sequence
    1 round underside of the heel
    2 ankle flexion
    3 big toe flexion

    ankle flexion is used in moving from being vertically over the planted foot, to in front of it with the opposite foot just making contact. The hip will be extending simultaneously. Normally the ankle joint reaches a limit and the heel lifts of the ground. SO, if one has a lift under the heel we are basically adding to the ability of the ankle to flex prior to the heel coming of the ground. SO, the hip will extend that little bit further.

    Make any sense?

    (slightly different in running in that most will hit heel/midfoot and there is a floating phase where there is no foot on the ground)

  • My concerns are:
    - you seem to be implying that our heel has to be in contact with the ground for our hip to extend - why? Surely our heel can have lifted but our hip can continue to extend whilst the ankle flexes - see Yessis p52 for some pictures of a marathon runner where this appears to be the case.

    - by adding a heel lift you are limiting the range through which the ankle can move - because it is already partly plantar flexed. Surely this limits the propulsion it can offer ? Isn't this one reason why people don't sprint or race in shoes with a heel lift - well not if they are any good anyway?

    Basically why would we evolve with our current foot shape if a heel raise is more efficient ? It seems a fairly simple evolutionary change compared to the complexity of the human body in many other ways.
  • Still watching this unfold. One of the pleasures of being a journalist is that while you often can’t become expert to an academic level, you have the privilege of being able to turn to specialists and, to the best of your ability, translate what they say into articles that the majority of the running population can understand.

    On Thursday, I invited about 10 specialists – mostly academics and shoe designers – to comment on this thread, but I’ve only had a couple of replies so far. Ceri Diss, Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics at the University of Surrey and long-time shoe-industry commentator, is one; Paul Carozza, an excellent US shoe-testing specialist is another. Carozza has said he’ll come back; Diss reflects the general understandings we work on at RW. Our approach, broadly:

    1. Everyone’s different. Not only in terms of their natural biomechanics, but in how much effort they are prepared to put into understanding an article about biomechanics, and then in acting on it.
    2. In reality, most people don’t want to spend more than a couple of minutes thinking about shoes. They want to know, ‘which is best shoe to buy now for the 10K I’ve taken up running to do next month’.
    3. The short answer for those people, imho, is go for the safest bet. That means a shoe that probably suits the way you’ve run virtually all your life [whether you’ve run like that because er, it was natural to you even when you were wearing pumps at school, or because of industry conspiracy]. Chances are that means you land on your heel or midfoot, but maybe forefoot. And chances are you’ll be running on concrete or Tarmac, and not landing all that lightly, because you won’t be willing to learn the Pose method.
    4. Again imho, I’d venture to suggest that we wouldn’t be doing those people any favours by sending them out in 200g racing shoes. You might say that they shouldn’t be running if they if they aren’t prepared to commit to altering their gait so they can wear minimalist shoes. But the reality is that they want to run, and they want to run today.
    5. We’ve run articles in the past about barefoot running – heck, Bruce Tulloh was our coaching editor for over a decade. But we say, ‘you might like to try this, it works, with some dedication and preparation’. Not, here’s how you’ve all got to run.

    I’ll let you know if I get more replies. Meanwhile, back to work

    Sean, RW

  • ChaosChaos ✭✭✭
    Thanks Sean, nice to see you're still on the case...

    I think you've made some very good points although of course this particular thread started life by discussing an article about shoes for those ALREADY identified as forefoot strikers.
  • nrg-bnrg-b ✭✭✭
    The inverted pendulum model for walking was interesting. As you increase your walking pace to trotting and on to running its easy to see how this translate to heel-strike running (running defined by both feet leaving the ground momentarily) but this is more of a bouncing gait.

    As an ex-heel-striker, I ran past some glass-fronted shops and noticed the excessive vertical movement in the General Centre of Mass (GCM). Why waste energy pushing yourself upwards against gravity?

    I believe fore-foot running reduces the vertical movement of the GCM and hence increases effiency. Even elephants who can't technically run, change to a gait which reduces their vertical movement and increases their speed without all feet leaving the ground.

    For bi-ped humans I suggest the running model is almost like a uni-cyclist leaning forward. She pedals fast to stay upright. To go faster she leans further forwards and pedals faster!. Most importantly her GCM moves minimally in the vertical direction. I further suggest that all these are easier to achieve with fore-foot running then heel-striking. However, there are a variety of fore-foot running styles ;-)

    So, in no shape or form is this a recommendation of Pose or of shoes in particular, its just an opinion on the mechanics of running.

    I admit I'm still learning how to run.

  • There's a magnificent breadth of expertise on this thread. Forgive me if you've already introduced yourselves properly elsewhere, but - with genuine respect - I'd be fascinated to know what backgrounds you guys come from.

    I'll start, if you like. I wrote RW's shoe guides and coordinated our shoe testers for about four years. I now run this website.
  • So many eloquent points made by so many people who really have nothing to prove, and still no shoes on the market to cater for us.

    I'm impressed that some people still believe running shoe companies are interested in anything other than squeezing money out of us.

    I used to work in the cycle industry and it's the same story - unnecessary adaptations to ensure an annual change in model designs, with an ever growing nostalgia for the simplicity of days gone by.

    I'll be road racing in mouse mats this year. Even a clumsy fool like me can make better shoes than the combined talents of Nike, Reebok, NB and the rest. I urge others to try the same approach and publicise their successes (or failures). Let's take some power away from the sweat-shop brigade.

    btw I came 2nd/450 in tough race yesterday - 20mpw of forefoot training is proving far more successful than years of stumbling along mid pack on my heels.

    I thank Pantman for his references, but am comfortable taking my own case study as all the evidence I need.
  • Sorry, my post clashed with Sean's

    My background: Chartered Medical Engineer and Chartered Physio and 17 years of lacklustre running followed by one year of forefoot running (after reading Pirie's mad book) - now running far quicker than ever before and enjoying the sport far more.
    Also a couple of years of stock control in large bike shop, so fully familiar with useless gizmo's and the value of advertising.
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