Double Cushioned Running Shoes Makes You Run Slower

Frustrated because your running performance is lagging? Try running in lighter running shoes with a lower heel.

Runners who wear lighter running shoes, such as minimalist-type running shoes, are more economical than runners who wear heavier running shoes, such as double cushioned running shoes. This is one of the reasons I like to wear barefoot-inspired running shoes because of their weight-less feel, I tend to run much faster in them.

Most cushioned running shoes are packed with stability elements and cushioning, especially under the heel. What has gone under-appreciated about cushioned running shoes is how they affect running economy and mechanics.

Double Cushioned Running Shoes
Double cushioned running shoes not only may cause you to heel strike during running, but they are also heavy which may significantly reduce your performance.

Double Cushioned Running Shoes Makes You Run Slower

Cushioned running shoes impedes running economy by draining energy from the leg swing phase of running.

In running, the leg swing phase makes up 20% of the total running economy. According to recent reports, heavily cushioned footwear is most energetically taxing during this phase of running.

  • barefoot runners had a 75% reduction in impact peaks compared to shod heel strikers because barefoot runners landed on the forefoot, not the heel
  • on the treadmill, barefoot runners were 4% more economical than shod runners

What is more is that the cost of transport during running increases with running speed if a heavy running shoe is worn. The result, pre-mature fatigue.

Ultimately, the more you wear on your feet and the faster you try to run, the more effort is required to lug the extra mass around.

More from Run Forefoot:

Why Older Runners Need to Wear Minimalist Shoes – Find out how minimalist running shoes prevent age-related biomechanical impairments in older runners.

The Cause of ITBS – Understand how running shoes that are stiff and inflexible increases a runner’s risk of ITBS.

Expensive Shoes Doesn’t Mean More Protection – A study found that cheaper running shoes were linked to less injury rates than pricier ones.

Protecting Your Joints – Discover how the best joint protection technique for running is to avoid heel strike.

Born to Run…Forefoot? Here I talk about why humans are anatomically suited for forefoot running, and not heel strike running.

Are Heel Strikers Slower? Here I uncover the 2 main reasons that may slow a heel striker down.

The Neuroscience of Running….Barefoot – An overview of how barefoot running boosts motor coordination patterns in the brain, helping you run with better mechanics.

Shoes for Forefoot Strikers – Read about the barefoot-inspired running shoes that help avoid heel strike.

Run Forefoot Because You are Faster than You Think!


Hanson et al., Oxygen cost of running barefoot vs running shod. Int J Sports Med, 2011; 32(6):401-6.

Perl, DP., Daoud, AL and Lieberman, DE. Effects of footwear and strike type on running economy. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2012; 44(7). 1335-43.

Squadrone, R and Gallozzi, C. Biomechanical and physiological comparison of barefoot and two shod conditions in inexperienced barefoot runners. J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 2009; 49(1):6-13.

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

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P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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