Running Shoes: Linking Cushioning, Loading Rates & Risk of Injury

Verbatim from the REPS UK magazine (2017, p.7), as I thought they wrote a witty article (and I couldn’t be bothered completely re-writing the whole thing):

“‘It’s the ultimate advancement in energy,’ brags Under Armour about its Charged Cushioning (r) ‘absorbing the impact of your foot strike.’

Nike’s breathless boasting cuts to the chase, declaring the ‘plush comfort’ of the cushioned midsole on their Air Max 2017.

The problem, bar the 100+ price tag, is that the University of Exeter haven’t read the memo, or bought the propaganda. In fact, they’ve taken the idea of a cushioned running shoe and slapped a less-than-cushioned danger sign on it. Researchers looked at what happens when runners’ feet hit hte ground, comparing those using minimal shoes that encourage landing on the ball of the foot, with those wearing normal traines.

They found the force – the loading rate – was significantly lower for owners of the minimal shoes, leaving lead author Dr Hannah Rice to horrify sportswear giants worldwide by announcing: ‘Becoming accustomed to running with a forefoot strike in shoes that lack cushioning promotes a landing with the lowest loading rates, and this may be beneficial in reducing the risk of injury.'”


REPS UK (2017) Cheat Sheet! Fitness Matters: Official Magazine of REPS UK. Issue, Spring 2017. Leeds: Coachwise Limited.

Rice, H.M., Jamison, S.T. & Davis, I.S. (2016) Footwear Matters: Influence of Footwear and Foot Strike on Load Rates during Running. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 48(12), pp.2462-2468. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001030.


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