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Cheap running shoes just as effective

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by NewsBot, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    The BBC are reporting:
    Cheap trainers still protect feet
  2. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    WebMD have also picked up this story:
    Running Shoes: Don't Pay More
    Within Brands, Price No Sign of Running Shoe's Quality

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2007
  3. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  4. DaVinci

    DaVinci Well-Known Member

    duh? :bang:
    Since when was cushioning an important feature in running shoes?: Do “cushioning” shoes really cushion impacts? :dizzy:
  5. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Yes indeed. It interesting how the popular media have picked up on this one and run with it putting the kind of spin on it that they have. The full text of the paper is not yet available, but will get it soon.
  6. Depends what is meant by cushioning. If variation in cushioning = variation in surface stiffness twixt foot and interface, then it is very important as the work a McMahon demonstrated.

    See: the article on surface stiffness and metabolic cost I posted here: http://www.podiatry-arena.com/podiatry-forum/showpost.php?p=23522&postcount=5
  7. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Here is a selection of headlines given this story by some of the media in the last 24 hours:
    Better than expensive trainers (Telegraph)
    Cheaper running shoes win comfortably (New Scientist)
    Posh trainers 'don't protect more (Channel 4)
    Expensive trainers are a waste of money - cheap ones are better ... (Daily Mail)
    ...I can find 84 stories on this.

    At least todays Sydney Morning Herald went out and got some sensible comment on the story:
  8. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    BJSM have finally put it online:
    Do you get value for money when you buy an expensive pair of running shoes?
    Richard Thomas Clinghan, Graham P Arnold, Tim S Drew, Lynda Cochrane and Rami J Abboud
    Br J Sports Med. Published Online First: 11 October 2007. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2007.038844
  9. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams Well-Known Member

    It would be interesting to know specifically what shoes they used in the test. Often the more expensive shoes have more "motion contol" devices and properties built into the shoes. The lower cost shoes often do not have these devices built in and then the participants are running on the cloud EVA built into the so called "cushioning" or "neutral" shoes.

    This could decrease the overall pressures in the areas measured. It would be interesting to compare the f/t cuves against how the patients actually function.

    But it would be more interesting to have the participants in the study wear each shoe for 2-3 months and then test again. At that point tehe EVA may have worn down enough to no longer provide the cushioning initially found in the study.

    Interesting nonetheless.
    Bruce Williams
  10. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Just yesterday got f/t curve data finsihed on subjects with 10 different running shoes ....now have to find a way to get it analysed to present at tomorrows SMA conference .... god put me on this earth ....
  11. Jonathan

    Jonathan Active Member

  12. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I got the full publication and they do not name the shoes.
  13. Thanks, Craig, for the paper.

    After reading the paper, it seems like the runners were given only a limited amount of time wearing the shoe to assess "comfort". Initially, comfort was assessed during standing only, then, during walking for a brief period in 43 subjects. Only 9 of the 43 subjects had comfort assessed during actual running, in what appears to have been a relatively brief lab session.

    In-shoe plantar pressures was the only significantly item also measured. Again......no surprise..... the more expensive shoes do not reduce plantar pressures on the feet better than the cheaper shoes. :bash:

    I was somewhat disappointed in the paper in that they did not even acknowledge previous running shoe research that runners have been found to alter their landing strategy (foot strike kinematics) depending on the shoe midsole durometer. Tom McMahon's early research on tuned running tracks clearly demonstrate the alterations in running kinematics that occur depending on surface stiffness (I can hear Dr. Spooner chomping on the bit on this one as I am typing.)

    Therefore, measuring plantar pressures is a poor way to assess the effect of a shoe on the musculoskeletal system since it has been shown that runners will choose to strike the ground differently depending on midsole durometer. Therefore, a harder midsole shoe may show less plantar pressure during running than will a softer midsole shoe, due to the runner choosing to alter their foot contact kinematics to compensate for the midsole durometer differences. A much better way to detect individual biomechanical patterns is measure gait kinematics and use inverse dynamics to determine internal moments that are affected by ground reaction force differences during running in each shoe.

    I was also dissapointed that the paper did not allow runners to test shoe comfort for more than a few hours in each shoe and that only 9 subjects out of 43 subjects actually tested the running shoes while running. Therefore, this research probably only significantly tested shoe comfort during standing and walking, not running. And, the shoe comfort parameter that was tested, was relatively short-term comfort, not long-term comfort.

    That is not to say that shoe price has much to do with shoe comfort. In my experience, shoe price between medium and high-end running shoes does not seem to go hand in hand with comfort. All in all, I think many name-brand running shoes are over-priced, especially the higher-end models that some runners will buy just because they are the most expensive models.
  14. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member


    A shoe is a shoe and despite the claims that you get what you pay for, this is a bit of a consumer myth. Provided the shoe is approrpriate for the activity, well maintained, fits the foot and is renewed when required, you may expect no more, no matter the price you pay.

    Many of the so called 'up market trainers' are made in the same factories as the budget based varieties and in the final analysis, Quality Control is what matters and that is not always evident.

    Claims cheaper shoes cause more injury is remains unsupported.

    In Edinburgh we did surveys of marathon runners and found competitors who choose to wear cheaper shoes were less likely to have foot problems. They just renewed their shoes more frequently. By comparison in Glasgow, a similar survey I was involved in came to the same conclusion but the Glasgow survey was sponsored by a footwear company. Findings suggested this company's shoes were less likely to be asociated with foot pathologies than their rivals.

  15. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

  16. Atlas

    Atlas Well-Known Member

    For every long bow drawn by the media about another superficially flawed research article, there are many podiatrist out there dogmatically advising their patients to go off and spend top dollar on a running shoe as plan a.

    The media aint the only ones that are getting it a bit wrong...we all are.
  17. Mart

    Mart Well-Known Member

    This may be true for the variables studied in this paper

    Debate aside over durability, functionally desirable material characteristics and actual performance, mention of availability of different width/length ratios seems off the media radar.

    In my experience these headline worthy reports have understandably resulted in patient confusion and resentment in the past.

    As a rule your average inexpensive running shoe seems to come in “one width fits all” and in terms of the prevalence of foot-wear related problems I would guestimate this trumps midsole concerns for most of our patients.

    Although this study considered impact attenuation as important, the media also needs pointing in the direction of fit (though I am not sure how this might justify higher cost apart from higher inventory requirements)

    Just a thought, which I guess I will be vocalizing a lot over the next several weeks to the rightfully skeptical patients supplied with my “how to make sure your shoe fits” sheet who will be disappointed with the options in cheaper brands.



    The St. James Foot Clinic
    1749 Portage Ave.
    R3J 0E6
    Phone [204] 837 FOOT (3668)
    Fax [204] 774 9918
  18. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Here is Runners World take on the research:
    Recent Study Tries to Prove “Less Expensive” Running Shoes Are Just As Good
  19. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Podiatry Today has an editorial on this:
    Do Runners Get What They Pay For With Expensive Shoes?
    Brian McCurdy
    Full story
  20. Freeman

    Freeman Active Member

    My first guitar (given to me) was cheap, had old strings and quite likely had a crack in it. It would not stay in tune. Yet , the guy who gave it to me, could make it sound like Mark Knoppler playing. His very best guitar was worth a thousand and was even more amazing. I could not make either sound good for a long while, but I did fancy playing his best guitar more than mine. On his guitar I did not sound like Mark Knoppler, but it was a far lot better sounding than my guitar

    The first time I joggedin the early 70's it was in a town where the sidewalks weren't paved, so running on the dirt in those Northstars was reasonably comofrtable...when I crossed a paved street, it was a very hard and uncomfortable. I graduated to a Nike Waffle Trainers, then to Brooks Vantage Supreme. I seriously thought someone might pull me off race courses for having an unfair advantage over other competitors. In the Vantage Supremes I could run on any surface for any amopunt of time with nary a twinge.

    I still play a guitar, enjoy it, and paid $1500.00 for it, and no body but my teenage daughters complain when I play it. It is a joy to play and holds its tune.

    I still run, 38 years later, wear decent shoes that I pay a good amount for, and can still do so, in a large part because many aspects of the shoes various designs allow me to run comfortably and relatively injury free. If I had kept running in cheaper shoes, I would not be running even into the late 70's let alone in 2008. I realize this is anecdotal, but my suspicion is that if you surveyed the entire Podiatry arena participants, and other runners with the same longevity, the anecdotes would be in most ways similar ...except for those of you who cannot play a musical instrument.

  21. I have found that in my patients, those who bought more expensive 'fashionable' (read more expensive) trainers had more pl. fasc. problems and back pain than in the old gym type cheaper trainer. I found that high street trainers have thinner soles without the traditional arch support and did not support or cushion as the older type did. Also if patients buy a £10 pair from Matalan etc they will be more likely to buy 2 pair and alternate, and also not wear them till they are falling apart because patients do not perceive them to be expensive and so do not need "to get my moneys worth".

    Pl.Fascia symptoms and back/hip pain did lessen if trainers were changed. Speaking personally I traumatised Ext Hallucis Longus tendon by wearing my new pair and they went straight in the bin!!!


  22. Freeman

    Freeman Active Member

    Dear Stephanie,

    Thank you for your response. I put walkers and runners into what I would refer to as a "training running shoe". I fit them into a shoe based on their foot structure, size, various jt ROM's, weight, orthotic to be used etc. I relace the shoe much differently than how itr comes in the box. There may be some shoes used for "walking" but I still get best results with my patinets with runners moreso than walkers. Whereas most of the people referred to me are for functional foot orthoses, I use these in combinantion with trainers which I have been fitting since 1980. I do find there is a relationship between the longevity of those who have been able to run for many years and the type of footwear they use. That is better footwear correlates with longevity in running carreer.

    In terms of footcare professionals, I will say this we as a very different group than our patients, have a tremendous advantage in knowledge and experience with footcare, posture, shoe knowledge, injuries and so on. I know that to expect my patients to have the same success in selection of footgear as I do is dangerously unrealistic. The knowledge I have and take for granted at times, with regards to personal shoe selection , might be compared to your computer tech person, who babbles on to us at gusts of up to 200 words per minute in the Queen's English as to how a new program will enhance some aspect of your computer you never knew you had.

    Sorry to hear of your traumatized Ext hal. L. Take your laces out, start on 2nd lace hole, tie more loosely,...give unused shoes to the homeless.

  23. Paulo Silva

    Paulo Silva Active Member

    Fitting athletic shoes, I usually see a lot of fit related problems with athletic shoes, especially with the most expensive with all new materials and technologies .

    I see this type of shoes (ie: Adidas 1, or New balance zip series) as an attempt to reach the young urban consumer that usually it's not attracted by the "core" athletic brands and models.

    Usually serious runners stay away form this type of shoes (I call it "marketing animations" in Portuguese:D).

    But a few costumers probably with the help of aggressive marketing, look for "that" shoe feature as a "cure" for his fit problem, its not rare attend costumers looking for one particular shoe form a magazine ad, talking with the costumer they complain about fit related problems (they blame it on the shoe they are wearing don't see their problem as fit related).

    People tend to buy expensive shoes forgetting about fit, the most expensive athletic shoe is useless if not properly fitted.
  24. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member

  25. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    Re: Sport shoes: Buyer beware

    This story first broke when the BJSM put out a press release on the research when the pre-publication version was available. Now its published properly, the story has broken out all over again! (CK - that why I merged your post to this thread)

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