Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More on Running Shoes

Here's an interesting view on running shoes and footsrike from a professor at Harvard University and colleagues (thanks for the heads up, Chad). The lead author, Daniel E. Lieberman, PhD, studies human bipedal movement from a paleolithic perspective. You may well find this interesting based on the comments that followed my previous posts on running shoes here and here. It seems there are some pretty strong opinions and even feelings on this topic among runners.

I should point out that the research leading to the website cited above was funded, in part, by Vibram FiveFingers, the makers of a minimalist foot cover (I hesitate to call it a 'shoe') for runners. While I always feel a bit of skepticism when I see that a study was funded by a business that may well benefit financially from the results, it doesn't necessarily mean that the conclusions are biased. You can read it yourself and draw your own conclusions.



At January 28, 2010 7:12 AM , Anonymous Mike J said...

I also heard a report on NPR yesterday on this very same subject. Very interesting.

At January 28, 2010 8:36 PM , Blogger Spencer Salmon said...

Have you read Born to Run? It has an interesting take on running.

At January 29, 2010 5:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't know that studies funded by private interests could become cover articles in Nature (it is in the current issue). For me, that's more of a revelation than anything in the article.

At January 29, 2010 5:41 AM , Blogger Paul Fleuren said...

Hi Joe,

I need your help, your advise and expertise.

This is a real timely post. I have been suffering from chronic foot problems since 2004 and to this day no diagnosis.

Basically from about 20minutes into every run I do I start to experience severe burning in my left foot and then gradually my right foot. No matter what I do the symptoms always occur at the same point in time, regardless of the shoes I wear, orthotics, or the length of time I have off running.
I have been to every single specialist and have had every single test done. This includes MRI’s, ultrasounds, nerve conductions test, Doppler artery test (check for stenosis), chiro, physio, acupuncture, etc. The list goes on. Even during the tests, I go out and do a hard run to produce the systems but sure enough, even though my feet are burning during the tests, they all come back negative. Argh.
So this has me thinking, is it biomechanical, does it have something to do with the shoes I wear, which impacts on the way I run.
Maybe I am over cushioning my feet with orthotics and cushioned shoes, thus creating higher impact stresses where I am landing, on my forefoot.

My acupuncturist likened it to gridiron players having more injuries then Australian ARL players, because the gridiron players can hit harder, thus resulting in high levels of impacts, due to more cushioning and padding they wear.

He seems to think because I am trying to cushion my feet, I am in fact potentially causing higher impact stresses due to not educating myself to run lighter (ie with less impact).

He thinks I should teach myself to run barefeet first in order to learn how to naturally reduce the high impact stresses I place on my feet and then progress to a shoe with the least amount of cushioning to enhance this technique.

In way it makes sense, because my feet don't hurt when I run in barefeet on the sand or when I run barefeet on grass, however, this is only for short periods of time. Also when I was getting some orthotics made in Japan, the more they were cushioned the worse they seem to get. I seem to be experiencing this again with new orthotic and new high cushioned shoes (Asic kayanos)

So in summary I haven't been able to run much further then 20min without having to walk for 6 years now. I love IM's and would sell my sole to be able to run one IM run wihtout foot pain.


At January 29, 2010 8:14 AM , Blogger Marshall said...

The onus is on shoes to prove their value!

At January 29, 2010 2:31 PM , Blogger Fe-lady said...

We run on concrete and asphalt for the most part....I WISH I could run on sand/trails and grass more often. Then I would probably go barefoot more often. All I know is the people winning my local races are all wearing SHOES! (and I pass the ones wearing Vibram thing-a-ma-jigs and I am old and SLOW!)

At January 29, 2010 2:49 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Paul F--Wow, you've been through a lot. I've never heard of this exact problem but probably twice a month an athlete writes to me telling a similar story about some other injury/condition they have and how they have been to numerous specialists with no improvment over a period of months and even years. I wish I could tell you do _X_ and it would resolve your issue. I'm afraid I can't. The best I can do is to suggest that you continue to experiment, as you have been doing. Good luck with it.

At April 21, 2010 2:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Paul Fleuren,
Do you have high arches? I used to get a similar problem with alternating bouts of burning and complete numbness after running for about 15 minutes.
What fixed it for me was to change the way I lace my shoes. I switched from the standard crisscross lacing pattern to the splay lacing technique. It stops the laces crossing over each other over the tongue, so the preesure points on the top of the foot don't get drilled.
N.B. I'm not a doctor or anything, so give it a go, but if it doesn't feel right, don't do it.


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