Phil de MestreRunning Science

Do we cushion and protect our feet? Or promote more natural use of our biomechanics?

I’ve been a Podiatrist for over 9 years now, a runner for probably 20 and I’ve noticed some trends. A decade ago (even less) it was all about support and cushioning. Manufacturers produced heavy shoes that gave us great protection from the ground. There was (and is in some) a lot of technology in shoes and we were advised to use it. This all sounded great! but it had it problems for many.

In some runners I’ve noticed it promoting poor foot function and poor running form such as over striding. The more shoe you have on your foot- the less work the feet and legs are required to do. It deactivates your foot muscles and your nerve ending become less sensitive. This can make you more injury prone as you increase you running.

Sure, if you are injured and coming back from certain injuries you may require a bit more protection. But generally speaking, the low risk runners I see in the clinic have good strength, good technique and wear less shoe than the others. We are talking about lighter, flatter more flexible running shoes.
One thing I must stress is it often needs time and guidance. Sometimes running form correction and strength work for the calves and feet.

This can take time (sometimes months and years!) to achieve, but the results are for life.