This week I met a (talented) lady, who had been struggling with injuries for 5 years.
This included stress fractures, Achilles, hamstring and other pains – but importantly no real resolution, yet 3 years ago she had been capable of a 38 minute 10km and now was unable to run without some niggling injury.

An imbalance in hips was one primary concern, but she had an interesting mix of shoes 5 years ago when the very first injury occurred.
One one hand she used very low drop shoes (about 3mm from heel to ball of foot) for her short quality work, and then she used a nike model that at the time had a 14/15mm drop for long work – right up to comrades distance, where (although seeded) she was unable to line up due to the injury.

This mix has undoubtedly exacerbated the other causes and imbalances, and although recent years have seen the use of 10/11 mm drop shoes, the injuries have continued, there are lessons to be learnt….

In a very basic and layman assessment of running style it is clear that she would be loading and using different muscles simply by the change of her shoe.
These two videos have been grafted together but taken with ONLY a shoe change between (in her @adidas Boost in first and in my @Puma Netfit second) –
There was zero coaching / style advice between the videos, just purely a change to see what may have been going on when she was (in past years) using two similarly different shoe types..

Have a look at the difference in style – foot landing – and hence muscle loading. Both runs were the same piece of car park – same speed – same person – just a different heel drop (10/11mm to 6mm)
Both these drops are considered to favour natural running motion – but in this case deliver totally different outputs….

The messages:
a) Dont ever think that because one person performs well in a particular shoe or model that makes it good for you
B) not all shoes suit all people
C) shoes make a major difference to how you run – your running style and running efficiency
D) Mixing / rotating shoes is good as it changes feel – allows shoe to recover (yes they need to recover) – and allows minor muscle / soft tissue recovery BUT the two shoes should NOT change style

Although ‘we were Born to Run – designed to run etc’ many people (particularly at slower paces) opt for a slower and motion-stopping heel strike – That said our more natural strike is around the ball of foot (more on the front of the curve of the ball the faster we go).

Anyone who tries a few minutes barefoot on beach / grass with find this comes back after a few 30-40 metre runs or accelerations from walk to fast. It is the same reason that cyclists always ensure the axis of the pedal is directly below the ball of the foot with their cleats….

Look again at the two videos and see also the change in ‘flow’ — theres a lot of work to do but this unquestionably shows – What a Difference a Shoe Makes!!!

One runner, two shoes, two runs, two styles — a recipe to confuse the body, and initiate injury…… One stopping style – one flowing style.

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