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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Best Running Shoes Of 2010-2011!

Let me start by saying that I am not convinced, in any way, that barefoot or minimalist shoes lessen injuries, make you run faster, or will be a trend that will stand the test of time. While I will admit, that in almost 36 years of running, I have never bought into shoes with lots of technologies to control the motion of your feet. The best shoes have always been shoes that sit lower to the ground, as this, in itself, provides a great deal of foot stability. My favorite shoes have always been longer distance racing shoes or performance trainers. Shoes that fall into the 9 to 10.5 Oz. range for those size 9 or 9.5. I used to wear size 12's, then 12.5's, and now 13s. (yes, your feet flatten and get bigger as you age!) Yes, lighter weight does make a performance difference, SO LONG AS THEIR IS ENOUGH CUSHIONING TO KEEP YOU FROM BEATING YOUR BODY TO DEATH! Some of these current minimalist shoes are just slabs of outsole glued to a bit of material, and they charge much more than what is charged for more technical trainers. It would be like going back to minimalist baseball gloves from the 20's and 30's and charging double what they charge for a good high quality technical glove of today. And, as is happening, orthopedists are getting lots of business with broken metatarsals and ankles, and lots of shin pain, knee pain, and Achilles tears. The adjustment necessary to get your body adapted to these barefoot shoes is years, not weeks, and for runners with many years of running, muscle memory is a tough thing to break. The best current shoes fit the weight bill, are low to the ground, and have a low but not plantar tearing drop from 10 to 11 millimeters. The two current best, by far, are the brooks launch and the asics gel sky speed. They are soft without feeling mushy or unstable, provide good cushioning, are durable, and allow you to midfoot stride (which I do at faster paces) and heel strike at slower paces or when you get tired. Another problem with those minimalist shoes, is that when you start to tire and your form devolves, you are most prone to injury, and having thin slabs of outsole as your only defense is pretty dangerous. So, that is my two cents in the barefoot/minimal debate, and these are my favorite shoes of 2010-2011!

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