Save Earth: Recycle those running shoes

It’s a game of going to fit specialists, trying shoes and finding what works best. But, if you need another shoe to consider, the folks at Under Armour would like you to consider their new UA Toxic Six shoe. They sent in a pair for review and below is our take on the Toxic Six. UA says, “calling this running shoe “minimalist” doesn’t do it justice.” They aren’t making any bones about it, this is your father’s minimalist running shoe. When you pick them up and look them over, it’s very apparent what they are geared towards. It’s not going to be a staple of a runner that needs moderate to high stability and motion control. If you don’t have strong ankles and solid form, this shoe might not be for you. That being said, it does have a place in almost everyones running shoe stable. There’s some validity to running in a shoe in short and controlled sessions to make the ankle work for stabilization to keep ankle strength up.

Sounds reasonable, but I suspect the “obey” part had direct reference to me and to how I conduct myself in the face of her spousal wishes, and the length of time required in honoring each. I have doubts about reciprocity, perceived or otherwise. Heck, she must consider me a Duck Dynasty reject with the IQ of a dumpling. The other night over supper she mentioned the preacher who married us had included saving the planet in our vows. She quoted him as asking, “Do you both promise to love, honor and recycle, for as long as you each shall live?” Now I didn’t just hop off the turnip truck yesterday, folks. He never said “promise.” He said “pledge.” “Did not,” my wife countered. “Did too,” I retorted, though mindful that another section of my vow was the allowance of only two “did too’s” in any one conversation, and I had just burned one. I don’t recall hers coming with a limit. Seems unfair now, but I’ve found that over the last 3 1/2 decades marital bliss is linked to personal sacrifice.

A running shoe that fits the bill

Without the heel cushioning provided by standard running shoes, barefoot proponents say, runners will gravitate naturally toward landing lightly near the balls of the feet. And they should, most proponents add, because landing near the front of the foot will require less oxygen and effort and allow you to push harder at any given speed and ultimately run faster or longer. But that idea, while appealing, has not been well scrutinized. So researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recruited 37 experienced runners, 19 of whom were habitual heel-strikers and 18 of whom landed first near the front of the foot. (Heel striking is far more common than forefoot striking among modern runners, by most estimates, with at least 70 percent of us nowadays leading with our heels.) The researchers began by outfitting all of the volunteers with the same neutral running flats and then having each run on a treadmill as he or she normally would, using his or her preferred foot strike. The volunteers ran at three different speeds, equivalent to an easy, middling and fast pace. Throughout, the researchers measured oxygen uptake, heart rates and, through mathematical calculations, the extent to which carbohydrates were providing energy. Then, in a separate experiment, they asked each runner to switch styles — the heel-strikers were to land near the balls of their feet and the forefoot strikers with their heels — while the researchers gathered the same data as before.

Is Barefoot-Style Running Best? New Studies Cast Doubt

Dry your wet shoes properly. If your shoes get wet, don’t put them on direct heat, like on a radiator. Heat dries out the leather and other materials in the shoes. To dry your running shoes properly, loosen the laces, take out the insoles, and let them air dry, away from direct heat. To help them dry faster, you can put crumpled-up newspaper inside of them. Alternate shoes. If you run almost every day, it’s beneficial to rotate two pairs of running shoes. Your shoes will last longer when you give them a day or two to decompress and dry out between workouts.

What’s the Difference Between All These Running Shoes?

Running with a whole-foot gait results in less impact energy and force shock transmitted through the body than compared to the heel strike gait. This is how Skora promotes one’s natural running ability by way of Three Rs or Real Running Reminders: Reconnecting with the running surface for greater body control and running efficiency; Repositioning to achieve a proper running form; and Rhythm to establish effortless movement. All pairs are also developed with an anatomical last that mirrors the foot’s natural shape. The shoes are engineered around the foot from the inside-out, to create a true, glove-like fit. All Skora shoes also feature an anti-microbial, anatomical insole. I tried wearing the entry-level model, Phase (P4,695) and indeed, it allows the feet to make contact with the ground. It was extremely responsive and flexible that even simple strides are felt through the outsole. I was able to appreciate a true barefoot-like feeling which is more profound than Nike Free’s cushioned soles and far better than the naked, almost cushion-less feel of Vibram Five Fingers.

Minimalist Running Shoes: Transition is the Key

A lot of footwear companies are shying away from the rigid categories above because a number of studies that have shown previous ideas about foot type and the kind of shoe you need aren’t as accurate as you’d think. A series of studies done by U.S. Military showed that the type of shoe isn’t as linked to injury as we used to think . Additionally, studies from the University of British Columbia , and the British Journal of Sports Medicine show that how shoes are prescribed and sold is typically over-simplistic and not based on evidence. Basically, the way running shoes are sold doesn’t exactly correlate to injury prevention or comfort. That said, running shoes are still important. As WebMD points out , running shoes don’t have lateral stability because you don’t move your foot side-to-side when running. Other shoes, like basketball or tennis shoes, provide lateral support, which you don’t really need when you’re running.

Fashion Designer Rick Owens to Make Adidas Running Shoe

You just put ’em on and go for a casual jaunt. These shoes are typically on the heavier side (11–13 ounces for men; 9–11 ounces for women) and feature a heel-to-toe drop (the difference between the heel and forefoot height of the shoe) of 12mm or more. The more minimal the shoe, the more akin it is to driving a car with a stick. Your feet and lower legs are forced to do more work and you’ll need to have a greater awareness of your body at all times. Lightweight trainers including the Mizuno Wave Elixir 8, weighing 8–10 ounces for men and 6–8 ounces for women with a heel-to-toe drop in the range of 4–10mm, serve as the go-to shoe for faster run workouts and races. Opt for these when you want a shoe that’s light on your feet and offers more protection than a racing flat. Racing flats represent the final footwear tool in your arsenal. These next-to-nothing, slipper-like shoes, such as the Zoot Ultra Kiawe, weigh less than 8 ounces for men and less than 6 ounces for women, and most have a heel-to-toe drop between zero and 8mm. Since you’re carrying less weight, you’re also using less energy, and the shoe’s lower profile will help your foot strike the ground more efficiently.

Among the celebrity models who have worn his work are Kate Moss. Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz has shot other models in his designs. Owens’ running shoes will come in six styles for men and four for women, Fashionista reports. The price might seem exorbitant to runners who balk at $100 models, but it’s a bargain compared to Owens-designed basketball shoes that sell for as much $1600. Owens said he was inspired to design the shoes because of taking up running and not liking the looks of his footwear options. The shoes will be made of leather, suede, nylon, and canvas, Fashionista reports.

Get More Life Out of Your Running Shoes

 The term “minimalist” refers to a minimal-drop in the heel left and cushioning in the bottom of the shoe. The idea behind barefoot running is that it brings back a more natural running style that changes our gait from a heel strike landing to a midfoot or forefoot landing.  This is believed to lead to increased foot strength, better running economy, less impact stress, better lower body proprioception and ultimately fewer injuries.  While it is widely recognized that barefoot running does alter the running mechanics with regard to the foot landing, there is still considerable debate about the overall benefits, and especially the claims of injury reduction. The switch from traditional running shoes to minimalist shoes can lead to injuries that will interrupt training.  Think about it: the technology behind running shoes for the past 20 years has focused on increased support, cushion, and push-off energy return. Now the trend is to forgo all that extra support and cushion and go barefoot. This is a dramatic change.  If you have been a runner for years, your foot is conditioned to all this increased support, and suddenly taking it away while you are pounding the hard paved surface can lead to injury. Common injuries associated with a rapid change to minimalist shoes are plantar fasciitis, shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, blisters, stress fractures, bone bruising and heel pain. One recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that runners who ran some of their miles in the Vibram FiveFingers minimalist shoes showed signs of bone stress reactions or injury in 10 of 19 runners after 10 weeks.  This was compared to 17 runners who continued to run in conventional running shoes.  Another study indicated that the minimalist style shoes actually mimic foot mechanics more closely associated with traditional running shoes, rather than barefoot running. The bottom line is that the transition to barefoot running may not be for everyone and needs to be considered carefully.  However, if deciding to go with the barefoot running style by utilizing the minimalist style shoe an extended transition needs to be implemented.  Vibram recommends a 10 week transition into their FiveFinger running shoe.  However, in light of the recent article cited above, I would suggest a visit site much longer transition.  Various opinions weigh in on how long this transition should take and they range from 10 weeks to 2 years.  Obviously everyone will transition a little differently, but I would recommend that you begin your transition with the mindset that it will take about a year (if you are transitioning into an extreme minimalist shoe such as the Vibram FiveFinger).  This is very conservative, but a serious injury could lead to a stoppage in training that could last months.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s