This is definitely one of the most popular topics on my blog. All of my posts on this subject are consistently the most popular. Runners are understandably very interested in this topic, since without running shoes most runners would be unable to train, or at least train with any significant mileage. Or would they? Before I get in to the main topic let’s review a couple of facts.
- The modern running shoe was invented in the early 1970’s. I’m pretty sure that people were running prior to the early 1970’s. If Dr. Lieberman’s hypotheses are correct, our ancestors did a lot of running before shoes were even invented.
- Around the world there are people who do not have access to modern running shoes, or sometimes shoes of any kind. However these people are often among the best long distance runners in the world. The best examples of this phenomenon are the East Africans, and the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico.
How is it that prior to invention of the modern running shoe that people managed to run? How is it that despite not having access to modern running shoes, the East Africans and Tarahumara Indians continue to become great distance runners?
Perhaps we are not even asking the right questions. Maybe we have framed this discussion incorrectly. Maybe the questions we should be asking are, how do runners with modern running shoes manage to run as well as they do despite having such bad technique? Also, why is it that the modern running shoe is associated with such bad running technique?
I can’t answer these questions definitively. However, I bring them up as way to get people thinking about the convention wisdom concerning running shoes and running technique which doesn’t really seem to be able to account for most of human history.
How does Pose Running Effect What One Needs in a Running Shoe?
As your technique improves the following happen:
- You stop landing on your heel, eliminating the need for thickly cushioned soles. This also eliminates the need for corrective measures to deal with pronation and supination which are largely cause by landing on the wrong part of the foot (which again is the heel).
- You stop crashing into the ground with your foot, and you start landing more gently and silently. With a CORRECT forefoot (or mid-foot) landing, the foot becomes its’ owe cushioning device.
- You start pulling your foot off the ground more quickly. This requires that your body to be able to sense when the foot has touched the ground. Something that highly cushioned running shoes interfere with.
Finally! The Elements of a Good Pose Running Shoe
Here are what I consider to be the elements of a good Pose Running shoe:
- They should be light allowing the runner to pull his or her foot off the ground as quickly as possible.
- They should have thin soles with little or no cushioning, to allow the runner to feel the ground and react with a rapid pull.
- They should be as flat as possible, meaning the heel should not interfere with a proper forefoot landing. Flat soles also allow for proper body alignment.
- They should be flexible allowing the foot move as naturally as possible.
- They should be comfortable. Everyone’s feet have unique dimensions, so it is important to find a shoe that fits your foot properly.
- They do not necessarily need to be designed specifically for running.
To sum it up – a good Pose Running shoe needs to be light, flat, thin soled, and flexible! Of course, they also need to be comfortable.
In my next post I’ll look at specific examples of shoes that I recommend for Pose Running. Until then, please feel free to contact me with questions about Pose Running.
For Further Reading
Posts about running shoes on my blog
Dr. Lieberman’s web site on the Biomechanics of Barefoot Running
Running Shoe Information from Dr. Romanov’s web site (requires free sign up)