Mizuno Be: Show Us the Data

I came across the video below via a Twitter post by Ian Griffiths:

Now Mizuno are at it: bit.ly/UCSmuqSome bold claims here about performance improvement and muscle activation… Evidence please…?

— Ian Griffiths (@Sports_Pod) October 10, 2012

In the video, Mizuno claims that the new Mizuno Be shoe is designed to “increase activation” of the flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis longus while walking, thus incresing the stregth of these muscles. I’m all for innovation in shoe design and attempts to do unique things with footwear that might benefit people by strengthening muscles, but when it’s claimed that a shoe strengthens specific muscles when not running to improve performance while running, my respone would be show me the peer-reviewed, published data supporting this claim. Have we not learned from claims made by other shoe companies that such claims need to be backed up by independent testing? Perhaps the studies are done and not published yet, but until they are, I’ll take theses claims with a huge grain of salt. Well-said Ian!

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. sam hartpence says:

    I could send you a pair if you are interested…

  2. Greg Strosaker says:

    Yes Pete, but they have a theory, dammit!

  3. Jeff Giedt says:

    Regardless of the benefit truth, they have nailed one heck of a good story to tell about the design history and its modern application. Lots of marketing mileage available there.

  4. Geoff Alonso says:

    I am in the test group for these. It’s an interesting feel. I could never put a firm number on its effect as I am relatively new to running so improvements could be due to any number of factors not just the shoe. However, i will say I took a few weeks off from wearing them and I felt like I wasn’t making the same strides I was while wearing them. Then, after my hiatus I felt like I was increasing my pace of improvement again. Is this a mental thing? I dunno. Is that valuable in its own right? Maybe. At least for someone in the early stages of their running lives sure. For truly seasoned runner, they may know better. I would agree, true numbers should be there, but there is something to also thinkng that it may help as well. In my opinion anyways.

  5. Robert Osfield says:

    I came away from the marketing technobabble that attempts to justify the step in the insole with the impression that this shoe manufacture, like too many others, fundamentally doesn’t understand the basics of biomechanics or simply doesn’t care.

    Undercutting the toes on the insole doesn’t increase stability, it reduces it and reduces the muscle activity that would use it for stability.

    The Waraji sandals that they claim they were inspired from are fundamentally different as these old sandals allow the toes to engage directly with the ground once the foot is near too off allow better grip and greater flexibility than might be achieved with stiff sandles that go all the way under the toes. The undercut on the Waraji is basically an adaptation to avoid the pitfalls of a stiff sole interfering with normal foot mechanics. What would have been more effective for the Samuri would have been to ditch the sandals completely as I’m sure they often would have done.

    So to sum up, yet another case of bullshit design and marketing that clearly demonstrates a shoe manufactures total ineptitude and disregard of biomechics and the cynical ability market any old crap to unsuspecting buyers.

    Now remove the dumb insoles and associated marketing and the shoes might be actually perfectly reasonable footwear ;-)

  6. When will they be available in the USA?

  7. I wonder how much that effect they’re going for is rendered useless by the toe spring

  8. They sure are putting a lot of marketing behind a non-running shoe, is there a going to be a similar shoe for running?

  9. Lee-Manuel Gagnon says:

    I’ve been sent a pair for testing. It’s no way fun to run with. As for walking, I have serious doubts since it feel like a classic shoe as it hits flat, loud and stiff on the ground. Their toe step is very uncomfortable. They glued the insole so well that it ripped when I attempted to take it off! I agree this “special shoe” needs evidence to prove its functionability as this special toe step could damage the foot rather than strenghtening it.

    • I received a pair for testing, too. I have a neuroma – which is irritated by the shoe, so I haven’t worn them much at all.

      However, the shoe is flat and has a nice wide toe box. If it didn’t have that ridiculous step, it would be a pretty nice shoe to wear!

      Did you get the insole out?

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