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Yo’ Kicks Is Just Fo Show, Man

April 22, 2009

Listen up, over-pronators!

After all, Adidas has come up with a $250 shoe with a microprocessor in the sole that instantly adjusts cushioning for every stride. Asics spent $3 million and eight years (three more years than it took to create the first atomic bomb) to invent the Kinsei, a shoe that boasts ‘multi-angled forefoot gel pods’, and a ‘midfoot thrust enhancer’. Each season brings an expensive new purchase for the average runner.

But at least you know you’ll never limp again. Or so the leading companies would have you believe. Despite all their marketing suggestions to the contrary, no manufacturer has ever invented a shoe that is any help at all in injury prevention.

If anything, the injury rates have actually ebbed up since the Seventies – Achilles tendon blowouts have seen a ten per cent increase. (It’s not only shoes that can create the problem: research in Hawaii found runners who stretched before exercise were 33 per cent more likely to get hurt.)

In a paper for the British Journal Of Sports Medicine last year, Dr Craig Richards, a researcher at the University of Newcastle in Australia, revealed there are no evidence-based studies that demonstrate running shoes make you less prone to injury. Not one.

from the Daily Mail (UK)

Yikes.  And to make things worse, according to studies there is a perverse outcome to buying more overpriced high-tech running shoes:

Runners in shoes that cost more than $95 were more than twice as likely to get hurt as runners in shoes that cost less than $40.

As the proud owner of a $100+ pair of Addidas running shoes, this news is a bit upsetting.  Honestly, it does not play out well in my experience.  Before I bought my current set of kicks, I suffered from pretty intense shin splints that stopped me from running distances of any great length.  Since my purchase, I can regularly run 5k both outside and on the treadmill without injury.

Clearly, I am either a statistical outlier, or a rare person for whom running shoes may actually be necessary.  As a city runner and devout hater of both glass and dog shit, I don’t think I’ll be making any major changes to my footwear any time in the near future.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Heather permalink
    April 24, 2009 5:08 am

    As much as I loathe Nike, I’m skeptical of this finding that ppl with $95+ shoes were twice as likely to get injured as ppl with $40 shoes. My guess is that there is some confounding variable driving that effect – did the study control for quantity and intensity of running? Wouldn’t it make sense that ppl spending over $100 on running shoes are doing a shit ton more running than ppl who spend less than $40? And more running = greater risk of fucking up your body. Or what about previous history of injury – people prone to injury may be more likely to spend money on “high tech” shoes…unfortunately for them, they’re still more prone to injury. Just a thought…that and I’m also employing my favorite defense mechanism of rationalization to justify paying $100+ on my current running shoes…

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