Biomechanics: Wearing footwear with toe springs requires less muscle work

News Release:

Wearing footwear with an upward curvature at the front of the shoe – known as the toe spring – requires less work from the muscles of the feet to walk than shoes with a flatter sole, according to an experimental study published in Scientific Reports.

Toe springs keep the toes continually elevated above the ground in a flexed upwards position to help the front part of the foot roll forward when walking or running and are present in most modern athletic shoes, but their effect on natural foot function and vulnerability of the feet to injury has not been widely studied.

Freddy Sichting and colleagues from Harvard University, the Chemnitz University of Technology and Buffalo University investigated the effects of toe springs on foot biomechanics using a controlled experiment in which 13 participants walked barefoot on a treadmill at a comfortable walking pace. The participants were then asked to repeat the process wearing four different pairs of specially designed sandals with varying upward curvature of the toe region in order to simulate the curvature of modern athletic footwear. 3D motion data were captured using markers placed on each subject’s knee, ankle and foot.

The authors found that toe springs decrease the work of the muscles around the joints that connect the toes to the foot bones. The higher the upwards curve of the toes in respect to the rest of the foot, the less work the foot muscles had to perform to support the joints when walking.

The findings explain why toe springs are so comfortable and popular but suggest that shoes with toe springs may contribute to weakening of the foot muscles with long-term use. This may increase susceptibility to common pathological conditions such as plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes, according to the authors.

Can a gait analysis help you get the right running shoe?

Probably not.

Gait analysis can be very useful in helping improve the running technique. Coaches often use it to look for the foot strike pattern, foot placement, hip and pelvis movement and many other things to see if the running technique can be improved. Clinicians often use a gait analysis to look for problems in the gait that may be linked to injury. They will look for many things like the foot strike pattern, foot placement and movement, control from the hip, look for things like an abductory twist and a whole range of other things. This will help them make recommendations for any changes or intervention that may be needed for an injury.

Many specialty running shoe stores use treadmills to allegedly help them prescribe the right running shoe. There is certainly a lot of debate if this is just a sales gimmick or really does influence the running shoe prescribing process.

There is no evidence that it does help with the process. Those that use them will argue that it does help. There is no doubt that trying different shoes while running on a treadmill can help you decide if a running shoe is comfortable or not and comfort is really important to get right with running shoes.

The Dangers of Running in the Cold

There are some dangers that are associated with exercising in the cold, even though it can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience. Cold injury is common in some of those extreme type sports, but not always necessarily in running, but it does have its dangers. Precautions do need to be taken and you do need to be aware of the signs of an impending problem with your body in the cold and you do need to know what to do.

Hypothermia is probably the greatest and most serious problem and most well known, due to the potential to become fatal if not addressed quickly and properly. You are at greater risk if it is cold, windy, and wet; if you are young, tall and thin; and if you run at a slower pace. The classic signs of hypothermia are shivering, slurred speech, a lethargy, a slow and shallow breathing, a weak pulse and a clumsiness or lack of coordination. If any of this starts to happen there is an urgency to getting the runner warmed up and get more help.

At the other extreme of the spectrum are the relatively minor issue of chilblains. This an inflammatory response of the small blood vessels in the toes (and sometimes the fingers) that can be quite painful. These do not happen in the extreme cold, but are more common in the colder climates, but are unheard of in the warm climates. They initially appear as a reddish colored painful and itchy patches on the toes, but can sometimes affect the fingers, nose and ears. If the chilblains do become chronic and keep occurring, they take on a dark blue color. They normally heal up reasonably quickly unless they keep recurring, which points to the importance of preventing them by use of warm socks and shoes. When one occurs, then soothing chilblain creams to stimulate the circulation is usually very helpful.

To avoid a cold injury, wearing several layers of clothing that designed for exercise are recommended. Take into account the direction of the wind when beginning your run and choose a route that is in a well populated area so you are not far from help if you need it. It is often a good idea to also wear a warm hat and gloves for further protection from the cold. If you have any real doubts, then don’t go for a run. You could have a rest day or use a treadmill that is indoors.

Adizero Adios Pro Dream Mile Revealed as Elite Running Competition Returns

Today the latest adizero adios Pro, reveals in a colour refresh for the world’s fastest, as they prepare to return to competition. The bold pink and blue “Dream Mile” colourway is the first update since the silhouette’s limited release in June – which sold out in 15 minutes – and will now be available widely from 14th September.

The shoe is born from athlete insights, generated from multi-continent in-camp testing. Elite athletes – including Kenyan long-distance runners Joyciline Jepkosgei and Rhonex Kipruto – gave iterative feedback to develop the physical prototypes, as well as the emotional context that inspired the colour story of this latest release.

The “Dream Mile” concept is built around the insight that athletes require two “selves” or approaches to training, to succeed in their fastest ever miles.

With the insight that nothing is impossible when you combine the very best in performance technologies, with the positive and creative energy that athletes have within themselves – the colour and design team researched various shades to help express this without words.

Represented by a vibrant pink hue, is the passionate, powerful and striving ‘self’, needed to push the body and mind forward against the clock. Meanwhile the calmer, more resilient ‘self’ that helps in maintaining focus is signified by the muted blue tones. The colours of the footwear were specially selected from the “Signal Family”, and includes shades such as Signal Pink, Signal Cyan, and Signal Orange – all completely unique to adidas.

adidas adizero adio Pro Dream Mile 2

Falk Bruns, Senior Footwear Designer, said “We’re confident the new “Dream Mile” colourway will help our athletes feel invigorated and stand out as they return to elite racing. Crafting the footwear that would support runners to go faster than ever and achieve their bests could not be done without collaboration. With that in mind, we went direct to the athlete from the very outset, incorporating their insights from first sketch to final prototype”.

adidas design and development 3

Featuring innovations built to support athletes in their pursuit of speed, the adizero adios Pro was co-created with world-class athletes to create the breakthrough technology, EnergyRods. Driven by athlete anatomy testing in its biomechanics lab, adidas designers built prototype after prototype to create a structure that mirrored the metatarsal bones of elite athletes.

The result is the five rigidly tuned carbon-infused rods, that give the adizero adios Pro an intuitive connection to the athlete, optimising running economy and allowing them to maintain their speed for longer.

The EnergyRods are complemented by the supporting LightstrikePRO midsole, which provides super-light cushioning for explosive movements and enduring speed. These all-new innovations build on the award-winning success of the adizero family as runners prepare to take the global stage once again – adidas’ fastest ever shoe will be worn for the first time in elite competition including Peres Jepchirchir and Philemon Kiplimo at the RUNCZECH half marathon in Prague tomorrow.

The adizero adios Pro will be available for general release from 14th September on adidas.com/adizero-running, the adidas app and via select retail partners.

110km runner and world record holder, Rhonex Kipruto; half marathoners, Bernard Kimeli, Stephen Kiprop and Philemon Kiplimo; marathon runners Mary Keitany, Amos Kipruto, Abel Kipchumba, Bethwell Yegon, Albert Korir and Tamirat Tola; Festus Talam

Which Running Shoes for Severs Disease?

Sever’s disease, or more appropriately called calcaneal apophysitis is a common problem with the growth plate at the back of the heel bone in kids. The growth plate combines with the rest of the heel bone at around the early to mid-teenage years, so it is no longer a problem after that time. The pain is typically at the back of the heel bone or if you squeeze the sides. The cause of the problem is typically too much load on the growing area, especially in a short period of time if there has not been time for the kids body to adapt to those higher loads.

Biomechanically the problem with Sever’s disease is the growth plate is the part of the heel bone that contacts the ground when heel striking and running, so that can add to the loads on the bone. Also the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone, so the pull from the calf muscles while running can also increase the load on the growth plate.

Typical the management of Sever’s disease is to reduce the loads by cutting back on the levels of activity. ICE can be used after activity if the pain is bad enough. A cushioned heel raise is often used to give some protection to the growth plate.

What Running Shoes can help Sever’s disease?

Looking at the nature of the biomechanics associated with Sever’s disease, then any running shoe that has a high drop (like the Brooks Adrenaline) is going to be helpful. Also running shoes with good cushioning are going to also help (like the Asic’s gel models). So look for shoes with a higher drop (heel raise) and good cushioning.

Running Shoes for Bunions

Running Shoes for Bunions

When I decided to write this post, I did a quick google search to see what is available. It was really embarrassing. Almost all the advice being given for this was from websites that earn a commission if you click on link of the running shoes to buy them. Most of the shoes being recommended would not help you at all if you had bunions.

There is plenty of good information on bunions online, so there is no point litigating what they are and what causes them here, except to say that the only way to get rid of them is with surgery and the best you can do to prevent them getting worse or being so painful is to get the shoe fitting correct.

The running shoes that are best if you have bunions are those that are wider in the forefoot to accommodate the enlarged joint. Your typical running shoe made on a wider last is often not wide enough (though you will read commonly that they are from those who make money selling those shoes). You could try on the wider last models of each of the brands to see how they feel on you. In all honestly, there is only one brand that is any good here and they are the Altra running shoes. They are massively wide in the forefoot compared to other brands and they have the width to accommodate the enlarged joint associated with the bunion. If you have a bunion, then try a pair.

What else could you do for bunions?

Apart from surgery, there are other options. What is important is to keep the joint mobile and flexible with exercises as it does have a tendency to become stiffer. A bunion corrector can also be used to help with that. If you can not get the shoes right, then there are donut shaped pads that can be worn to keep the pressure off the joint.

New ASICS DYNABLAST™ adds some fun to every run

Press release:

· Latest addition to the popular BLAST BEYOND series offers outstanding performance and protection alongside a faster, lighter, bouncier ride

· With more people running than ever before [1] , ASICS newest addition to the BLAST BEYOND series helps put a spring in the step of a new generation of runners.

[28th August 2020 – KOBE, JAPAN] – The DYNABLAST™ is a performance shoe offering runners a faster, lighter, bouncier ride. Based on ASICS’ trademark human-centric design, it is made for anyone looking to add some fun to their run and put an extra spring in their step.

The launch of the DYNABLAST™ comes at a time when more people than ever are falling in love with running. Inspired by the need to escape the challenges of life during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more people are clocking up more strides, more often. Fitness-tracking app, ASICS Runkeeper™, continues to see increases with users – with a 113% increase in registrations globally year to date vs the same time period in 2019, while, according to ASICS’ own research [i] in 12 countries, 73% of runners globally now say exercise is something they look forward to during the week. With 66%, saying that running is the best form of physical exercise that they can do right now.

Following on from the successful launch of the NOVABLAST™ running shoe, ASICS have answered the call of runners, by adding another shoe to the range, the DYNABLAST™. As the latest addition, the DYNABLAST™ features FLYTEFOAM™ Blast technology in

in the midsole for a lightweight, responsive feel. Underfoot cut-outs in the outsole also work with the midsole foam to put extra bounce into every stride. With its fast, bouncy, energetic feel, the DYNABLAST™ is a recommended shoe for a new generation of runners who look forward to their runs as a fun, uplifting experience.

Elsewhere, an engineered mesh upper increases breathability and creates a “barely there” feel, while the knit upper provides a comfortable fit and outstanding support without the bulkiness of stitched or welded overlays.

Kenichi Harano, Executive Officer and Senior General Manager at ASICS Institute of Sport Science, said: “ASICS was founded on a mission to help everyone achieve a sound body in a sound body through movement. With people increasingly using running to alleviate the pressures of life right now, that mission has never been more important. We’re committed to meeting runners’ changing needs both during this pandemic and beyond. The DYNABLAST™ is one of the many ways we are delivering the experiences and products we know runners want, helping the world keep on running.”

As well as improving and introducing new shoes that aim to elevate the running experience, ASICS have designed an app that turns the rhythm of a run into a track in real-time called the ASICS Run Mixer. The app works best with the ASICS BLAST family range of shoes and enhances the joy and fun of running by creating bespoke track based on a runners very own running rhythm. The rhythms generated can be shared and runners can challenge one another to produce something even better. Runners can download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.

ASICS DYNABLAST will be available globally for men and women from ASICS retail, online stores and specialist running outlets from 28 August 2020 at an RRP of $100. Visit www.ASICS.com and video [ASICS DYNABLAST™ ] for more information.

Which Running Shoes for Anterior Compartment Syndrome?

Anterior compartment syndrome or chronic exertional compartment syndrome is a problem with the muscle on the front of the leg (the anterior tibial muscle or tibialis anterior muscle) trying to expand during exercise when the fascia around the muscle is too tight and the muscle can not expand. This can become painful and is one of the causes of that term, “shin splints”.

The treatment options in the past were often limited and a surgical release of the tight fascia around the muscle was usually the better definitive treatment.

However, we now have this study on anterior compartment syndrome that shows it is good option to change from heel striking to forefoot striking to help this condition. From all reports it works pretty well and the rationale for it is sound. While this might be a good idea for anterior compartment syndrome, it would not be a good idea for other types of running injuries such as achilles tendon issues. The transition from rearfoot or heel striking to a midfoot or forefoot strike pattern needs to be slow to allow for the tissues to adapt to the loads.

What running shoes should be used for anterior compartment syndrome?

There is no specific shoes for runners with anterior compartment syndrome. There will be many personal preferences here, but it comes down to does the shoe allow or facilitate forefoot striking? A lower drop shoe will help with that. Less cushioning under the heel will help do that. The type or model of shoe is not particularly important in this case, its the running technique and the touch down angle that is important. That can be achieved in any type of running shoe.

List of approved competition shoes published

Press Release:

World Athletics has today published the list of approved competition shoes, following the amendments to Rule 5 of the Technical Rules announced on 28 July 2020.

The list has been compiled following introduction of the requirement on 31 January 2020 that any new shoe that an athlete proposes to wear in international competitions needed to be assessed by World Athletics.

The list does not contain every shoe ever worn by an athlete but it does include some older models of shoes that manufacturers sent to World Athletics for assessment by its independent expert. The position with older shoes that are not on the list is that they still need to comply with the rule going forward. The athlete, or their representative, will need to ensure their older shoe complies with Rule 5.13 in terms of the maximum sole thicknesses for their specified event and any inserted plate or blade, including spike plates if relevant.

Under Rule 5 of the Technical Rules, athletes (or their representative) have the responsibility to provide World Athletics with specifications of the new shoes the athlete proposes to wear in competition. World Athletics accepts shoe specification and samples submitted by manufacturers for further examination.

If there is doubt about a shoe (particularly shoes that no other athlete has) then athletes, officials and meeting organisers should first refer to the approved list.

If the competition referee has a reasonable suspicion that a shoe worn by an athlete might not comply with the rules then at the conclusion of the competition the referee may request the shoe be handed over for further investigation by World Athletics.

The list of approved shoes will be updated regularly to reflect any new information received.

“Transitioning rules is never easy but is significantly harder with the current pandemic and the challenges we all face in staging, competing and providing kit and equipment during this time. We will continue to communicate, clarify and explain the rules and would like to thank our athletes, Member Federations, meeting organisers, shoe companies and technical officials for working with us to ensure the rules are understood and adhered to and, when this is not possible, that we resolve issues quickly, consistently and compassionately within the framework of the rules,” said World Athletics CEO, Jon Ridgeon.

Mizuno Reveals New Footwear Technology Innovation

Press Release:

MIZUNO ENERZY was created with the purpose of improving the performance benefits of Mizuno footwear through new advanced materials, delivering greater rebound and increased softness. Athletes will now be able to retain more of the energy they put in without sacrificing on overall comfort.
“We recognize not only what athletes want, but also require in their training – no matter their sport. We know performance, energy return and comfort are all equally important, so we are constantly engineering new technologies aided to support this,” said Tomohiro Ota, Chief Marketing Officer, Mizuno USA. “This is why, as a brand, we work extremely hard to constantly create high-quality sports gear and remain dedicated to finding new ways to enhance athlete’s capabilities by staying at the forefront of sports innovation to deliver the most premium performance materials in the market.”
Athletes will be able to experience the difference MIZUNO ENERZY offers in two different iterations, MIZUNO ENERZY(FOAM) and MIZUNO ENERZY CORE. Each iteration has been engineered to provide athletes with enhanced performance capabilities through the unique features offered in the form of its versatility to change shape and increased rebound potential.
MIZUNO ENERZY will be used in footwear products across multiple Mizuno sporting categories. The first introduction of MIZUNO ENERZY will be available in July 2020 in “THE MIZUNO ENERZY” signature shoe, which will provide the softest cushion and highest energy return ratio in Mizuno history.
“THE MIZUNO ENERZY” will be available to purchase on July 1st in a limited quantity of three hundred pairs at www.MizunoUSA.com.