To avoid running injuries, avoid running in the most cushioned running shoes. Most runners seek maximum protection in thick cushioned running shoes, however it doesn’t mean that these runners run better. In fact, maximum cushioned running shoes are known to cause a heel strike landing during running, which significantly increases your risk of overuse injury.
The Most Cushioned Running Shoes Are The Most Dangerous
Running shoes with heel cushioning are deigned to ‘protect’ the body from impact by providing plantar (foot) comfort. Now, research is showing that such shoes produce abnormal and unnatural landing behaviors during running, resulting in injuries that are much less frequent in barefoot populations as well as in minimalist runners.
Here are the main elements of tradition running shoes that contribute to running injuries:
The major disadvantage of traditional running shoes is the thickly cushioned heel which strongly discourages a forefoot strike landing during running, when instinctively, the body, unquestionably, prefers to land on the forefoot to avoid over-stress on the leg.
Cushioned running shoes discourages a proper forefoot strike landing by preventing ankle plantar flexion at touchdown –causing the foot to strike the ground farther away from the forefoot and closer to the heel.
- Ankle plantar flexion at touchdown is essential for preventing heel strike, thus preventing injury –this is why barefoot running shoes appear to be a feasible choice in forefoot running.
Below lists the injuries related to shod-induced ankle plantar flexion disruption:
- Ankle Ligament Injury
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Foot Discomfort
- High Plantar Pressure
- Hip Injuries
- Achilles Injury
- Falls in Elderly Runners
- Ankle Pain
Below lists how running shoes with heel cushion contributes to injury during running:
- Low Gear Ratio, More Braking
- High Balance Failure Frequency
- Heavier Footfall During Running
- Dynamic Stability Impairments
- Increased Tibial Accelerations
- Excessive Overpronation
Not All Minimalist Shoes are Created Equal!
Many running shoes are strictly labelled as minimalist, but are excessively cushioned, thereby violating the true consensus of minimalism. Below lists the running shoes labelled as ‘minimalist’, but definitive research exists and provide evidence to the contrary:
Learn more about the proper running shoes for forefoot running.
More From Run Forefoot:
Running injuries are high, and heel striking is the main culprit.
Barefoot running on hard surfaces is the perfect combination to improve your forefoot running biomechanics.
Best warm winter running jackets for men.
Helpful forefoot running form tips from Pose 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.