Crappy Advertising at the Road Runner Sports “House of Cushion”

One of the big news stories over the past couple of weeks was the Vibram lawsuit settlement over false advertising claims made about their Fivefingers line of minimalist running shoes.

Over the weekend a member of a forum I belong to on Facebook posted a link to the House of Cushion page on Road Runner Sports. Imagine my surprise then when I saw the 5th bullet point on that page – it reads:

Unless you like running in PAIN and don’t care if you’re putting your body at SERIOUS RISK of INJURY…
Cushioned running shoes are YOUR #1 CHOICE!”

Apparently Road Runner Sports hasn’t gotten the memo that a recent prospective study found no difference in injury rates between runners transitioning into the Nike Pegasus vs. Vibram Fivefingers (I wrote about this study here). And those in Vibrams were less likely to be injured than those in the more heavily cushioned Nike Free.

And we also have this study presented last year at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine which found that there was no difference in injury risk between US army soldiers wearing minimalist shoes vs. traditional running shoes.

C’mon Road Runner, don’t make stuff up in an effort to scare people into buying a certain type of shoe.

Unless your claim is that the Nike Free carries a higher injury risk than the Nike Pegasus or Vibram Fivefingers, the evidence right now does not point to any one type of shoe being better or worse than any other when it comes to injury risk. All options remain on the table.

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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. Well, apparently that’s just paraphrasing their “fit expert” Laura T.

    “Unless you like running in pain and don’t mind putting your body at serious
    risk of injury, cushioned running shoes are a MUST HAVE for you!”
    - Laura T.

    Must be the same type of Fit Expert they have at their retail stores that are hell bent on selling everyone orthotics.

  2. Glad you wrote about this Pete!

    One thing I found odd when I went to post the link on Facebook, is that I couldn’t find the “House of Cushion” page from their home page. I had to use the link from the email blast I received, omitting the personal identifiers from the end.

    I dunno… Maybe it’s up now, or maybe I just should’ve looked harder, but it gave me the impression they were trying to hide something from non-customers.

    • Marc Schwartz says:

      Brian,

      If you look at the bottom of their pages, where they have links to various areas of the web site, there is a link under “Learn” for the House of Cushion, which is the bottom link. That is the only place that I see it on their pages.

      Seems to be a little buried at this point, suggesting a de-emphasis for non-regulars. Perhaps it will become more prominent in time depending upon market forces.

    • I couldn’t find it either. But I noticed that they do have a “Barefoot Running Shop” which is apparently for people who DO like running in pain and putting their body at serious risk for injury!

      To me the “House of Cushion” just screams “Here’s the latest fad, we’re gonna milk it for all its worth!”

    • Thanks Brian, and thanks for digging it up and sharing with the Geeks!

  3. This kind of advertising drives me mad. No science behind, it’s brash and one of the shoes isn’t even labled correctly. They have a Glycerine 11 in instead of the Transcend. It has turned me off roadrunner completely.

    • Cody R. says:

      i agree, this is ridiculous

      haven’t bought anything from them in a while, especially haven’t since i switched to minimal/barefoot running almost 4 years ago

  4. Allan Carter says:

    Over on Runner’s World I asked in the comments when the suits would be brought against the other major shoe manufacturers for their false claims of protection. One commenter replied that they don’t claim to prevent injury!

    You point out one. Over the weekend I saw the following advert on youtube:

    link to youtube.com

    It clearly states that the cushioning prevents injury. I haven’t looked for other examples, but I don’t think they’d be hard to find despite no evidence for the claims.

    • That Asics ad is tricky since it’s a comment made by a sponsored athlete and thus may be viewed as an individual’s opinion rather than an advertising statement by the brand. But then I’m no lawyer…

  5. Trail Running Dad says:

    Wonder if I can get the lawyer who won the Vibram case to start up another class-action suit for me?

  6. As bad as what it is, its no different to the claims being made by most minimalist running shoe manufacturers for years.

  7. I coach young distance runners. When they or their parents ask me about running shoes the first thing I say is, whatever you do, do not go to road runners to get a gate analysis. Just about EVERY person I ever saw go there was diagnosed as an over pronator, put in stability shoes with inserts. THey have not got the memo that feet are supposed to pronate.

  8. As a novice, my first pair were the Saucony ignition 3′s the guy said here this is a good shoe for getting started. So i got them they were comfortable and I had many months of pleasant running until the mesh over the toes had holes. With my first ever 10k just over a month away I went to a running store got the whole arch and gait assessment and walked out with support shoes (brooks vapor 10). After two short runs I couldn’t walk I was limping I had irritated an old stress fracture (shin). I took a three week break got out the Sauconys

  9. Lol, I don’t need research to tell me when my back and knees hurt. I have a history of lower back and knee pain, bottom line, I can run pain free 35+ miles weekly in cushioned shoes. I can get away with minimalist shoes on the treadmill, but not harder surfaces.

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