Friend and fellow running blogger Brian Martin over at Running Technique Tips just posted a very thoughtful commentary on the current state of the running shoe debate (with the context being an upcoming debate he will be attending in Melbourne). Brian rightly laments that some of the debates that have been going on of late are too academic and combative, and points out how this can be a major turnoff to a runner who simply wants to figure out how to run without getting hurt. I don’t want to steal Brian’s thunder by giving away too much here, but I found the following passage from his post to be excellent:
“The minimalist movement hasn’t done itself any favors by some companies and distributors getting into the mainstream media with simplistic messages about the benefits of barefoot shoes. Sure there are benefits to be had, but these messages don’t come with a warning label or point out that it’s not all about the shoe. Equally some running shoe manufacturers need to listen a bit more to what’s working in the real world and spend less time and energy on trying to polarize opinion. There’s plenty of profitable and helpful middle ground for those with a bit of vision to make the most of it.”
His conclusion is also right on the money:
“I’m looking forward to the debate, but I’m hoping that in the future these types of discussions will center far more on the runner and that researchers will move away from trying to prove narrow interventions. A focus on observing what happens when a range of measure are used by runners to improve their fortunes would be far more helpful. Yes you might never get that funny professor’s hat or find the running silver bullet, but you’ll be far more likely to help runners and running coaches develop better approaches to injury prevention, recovery and training.”
Well said Brian!
To read the full post, head on over to Running Technique Tips (and while you’re there, his book is worth a look if you enjoy reading about running form…)