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Heelless running shoe

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by NewsBot, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


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    Press Release:
    Heelless running shoe is put through European paces
    A NEW concept in running shoes developed in conjunction with researchers at Staffordshire University has been put through its paces in Europe.
  2. What has the poor old achilles tendon done to get all the extra loads, from people who are not natural Forefoot Strikers.
  3. Phil Wells

    Phil Wells Active Member


    I have seen and tried this shoe and I have to admit that it works. I am a heel striker but due to the clever design, it is not a simple as the name Heelus suggests. ( I have no financial interest and was very skeptical of the intial concept).

    Worth keeping an eye on.

    Ps I can't give nay further design info as I am under confidentiality agreements.

  4. dougpotter

    dougpotter Active Member

    I made my own heel-less running shoes years ago when I had retro calcaneal extosis. I simply cut our the back part of the shoe where it rubbed on the heel while leaving the top part for minimal support. I then glued a light nylon to the back for asthetics. It relieved the pain until I found other methods for pain releif.
  5. I had a pair of running spikes from adidas just like this in the late 80´s early 90´s . Flo-Jo broke the world record in the same type of shoe.

    I´ll try and find a photo.
  6. dougpotter

    dougpotter Active Member

    Oh, I just Googled it and see what you mean. I didn't make anything like that. It looks unstable, but who's to say unless you try it. There are a lot of gimics out there for vulnerable runners searching for help and I hope this is not another one.

  7. I believe it will go like this:

    1. Pre-manufacturing press release with fantastic claims.

    2. Release of shoe product with fantastic claims and testimonials.

    3. Reports start surfacing from runners unable to run comfortably or from runners getting injured in shoe.

    4. Media hype dies down.

    5. Shoe slowly becomes just another failed attempt at the "perfect running shoe".

    Only seen it happen about 100 times over the past 40 years of my running career.
  8. Kevin's post gives me an idea: If you where designing the "perfect" running shoe, what design features would be in it?
  9. Phil Wells

    Phil Wells Active Member

    I want a tunable shoe.
    The ability to add different materials based on the type of ground, running style etc.
    I could make millions on the 'training' courses alone.

  10. The abililty to adjust the shoe stiffness was what I want as well.
  11. Easy.
  12. yes but the specific (ness) of these adjustments is not . ie the when, the how much type questions.

    Which we have discussed to a point where most others get bored as we rip out 50 posts a day. :D

    EDIT : and the most important thing - being able to say what colour of shoe you will have -
  13. Phil Wells

    Phil Wells Active Member


    You have hit the nail on the head!
    It is quite easy to design a shoe with adjustable components to modify the shoe reaction forces but how the hell do you know which one is right.
    That's why you now often see products and training courses hand in hand - I am sure we can all name plenty of orthoses that are accompanied by one day 'training' courses.

    I reckon that this concept may the first realisation of FEM in relation to shoes choice on the high street - over to you Simon.

  14. I want a running shoe that makes people think they are running barefoot.....oh wait.....I just thought of something......I can call it a barefoot running shoe......I'll make millions on the idea!!

    Oh.....wait again......I've just thought of another idea that will make me my second million.....I'll design a line of clothes that will make people think they are naked......I will call it naked clothes......I can see the money rolling in already!:rolleyes:

    I'm so glad that these runners and other people are so gullible to think when they are running in thin soled shoes that are running barefoot just like our ancestors did. This power of suggestion we have over these people will allow all of those shoe companies to make lots of money selling a new types of shoes to the runner who thinks they are missing something if they don't try the "latest thing".

    I can only smile, watching the parade marching by.....:drinks
  15. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    Brooks have their non-newtonian fluid in the Glycerin which claims this ability.

    Last time I spoke to Doc Spooner about this he dreamt of the day running shoes have stiffness modulation capabilities akin to the suspension system used by Audi
  16. Also what about bringing back the kinetic wedges - Be able to increase and decrease the eva stiffness medial -lateral heel and medial and lateral forefoot - thus adjusting the amount force of the GRF vector. (maybe better expressed as energy absorbed - but notsure)
  17. Glad to know you were listening.;) Non-Newtonian fluids excite me ;). I think Brooks use a polymer similar to D3o. The problem with these polymerised non-Newtonian fluids is that they often end up more like a plastic polymer and less like a non-Newtonian fluid, if you know what I mean. The other question is whether you need a shear thickening or shear thinning fluid. I did come up with a design today for a magnetorheologic fluid and magnet system that could be used in footwear / orthoses and doesn't require any electronics. E-mail me if you are a manufacturer who is really interested, not just interested in me signing an NDA , so you can find out what my ideas are, as I have several of them already for various projects, thanks. :bash:
  18. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member

    I actually seem to recall that newsbot reported a patent lodged by nike a couple of years back that sounds very similar to this...

    At iFab, Benno Nigg spoke about the concept of muscle tuning- his belief that muscle pre-activation in response to the surface characteristics is what helps to prevent many chronic injuries. He gave an example where cirque de soliel performers appeared to have a high injury rate due to the floors having stiffer sections where sub floor supports were. ie: the floor stiffness was variable, so the performer never knew what stiffness they were going to land on, and therefore their bodies could not adequately prepare. Injury rates improved once the floor surface stiffness was made more uniform.
    If this is the case, could any shoe/orthosis be designed which could address this? My feeling is that broad technology may not be the answer, but rather an individual solution which is based on the individual foot characteristics... oh wait... isn't that what an orthotic is?
  19. Yeah i am aware of this and a couple of other patents. My idea is different.
    That is where things like "active suspension" come in because they should allow a constant interface stiffness for the foot regardless of the surface stiffness which is tuneable to the loading conditions. Foot orthotics can be tuned to manipulate surface stiffness, but in their current passive form, it's limited to one set of stiffness characteristics per device. The idea behind the patents I've read recently is that they have a load cell and control chip and adjust their stiffness depending on the loading conditions.
  20. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    There is no such thing as a perfect running shoe. I will give a hint, the heavier the shoe is, the further away it is from perfect.

  21. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Kevin, it is unfortunate that marketing can get in the way of good ideas. I did a 20 mile trail run this morning before work in a pair of SHOES that weighed 6 oz per shoe, that had virtually no support, no cushion, no heel to toe height differential. Essentially, they where a pair of thin, highly flexible rubber soles attached to my feet with thin nylon uppers. The only thing these shoes did do was protect the skin on the soles of my feet from sharp rocks. That is it.

    Not once did I think about whether I was running barefoot or with shoes. Rather, I was thinking about the pleasure of running without my feet and legs being weighed down in heavy shoes. I was thinking about how good my feet, legs and back felt while running. Finally, I was thinking about how easilly I glided through 20 miles like it was no more than a run around the block. All the marketing in the world will not allow you to complete a 20 mile run feeling strong and refreshed. I would argue that what you have on your feet might have an influence. Being in good shape helps as well.

    Marketing might get people to part with their hard earned money in the short term, but only results will keep them returning. It is not about what people think, it is about what works or doesn't work.

    You are assuming that these shoes do not produce positive results. Sorry, but with what I continue to find after 100's of miles of trial so far, I would have to politely disagree.

  22. Minimises metabolic cost; provides environmental protection & minimises injury risk.

    Dana, while the mass of a shoe may have a detrimental impact on metabolic cost, metabolic cost is also influenced by surface stiffness. Viz., the increased metabolic cost of the shoe mass may be negated by the shoes manipulation of surface stiffness. Indeed, by optimising the surface stiffness, the metabolic cost may be lower while wearing the shoe than running barefoot, while offering the additional benefit of environmental protection.
  23. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    The problem is that surface stiffness is variable within a given route or between routes. You may design a shoe that affects surface stiffness when variable but what happens when you move to a surface stiffness that is constant. Why carry the weight of a shoe designed to affect varying stiffness?

    My point is, pick the lightest possible shoe that best fits the surface you will be running on. Since surfaces vary, there is no single shoe, therefore no single shoe is perfect.

  24. Because you might be running on a surface of near constant stiffness such as a track or a road. So, we have a shoe designed to optimise stiffness on one or the other surface. Moreover, if you read back through this thread, I was talking about shoes which may change their stiffness and thereby maintain an optimal surface stiffness, and thus leg stiffness, thereby minimising metabolic cost, regardless of the stiffness of the external environmental surfaces.
  25. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, until we know the weight of these theoretical shoes that may change their stiffness we can't determine whether they are actually minimizing metabolic cost by maintaining optimal surface stiffness. A 20 pound pair of shoes that maintain optimal surface stiffness will not minimize metabolic cost. I would guess that once you start pushing 10 oz for a men's size 9, you are not going to be able to close the equation.

  26. Yeah, that's right.
  27. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    So, how much do they weigh?

  28. I don't know, I haven't made them yet. I would guess they would be roughly the same as your average road shoe. You could try asking Nike how heavy theirs are. Do you have a plot for shoe mass versus metabolic cost? This is a study I hope to run soon, along with shoe mass versus foot-strike position.
  29. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, Nike markets 100's of models so I selected the weights of some of the better selling representative Nike models across their various technologies. These are for a men's US size 9.

    Mayfly 4.0 oz
    Waffle racer 6.4 oz
    Streak XC 2 7.0 oz
    Zoom Marathoner 8.8 oz
    Free Run 8.2 oz
    LunaRacer 7.0 oz
    Lunar Glide 2 11.8 oz
    Pegasus 27 11.4 oz
    Air Max 2010 14.0 oz
    Shox Turbo 11 14.4 oz

    I find that once the shoe pushes over 12 oz it simply gets too heavy for my preferences. I have shoes that range in weight from 6 oz to 13 oz. I prefer to run in shoes that are under 10 oz. That is an arbitrary number, could be 9.5 oz or 10.5 oz, whatever. I own 13 oz shoes and use them as a training tool. By wearing 13 oz running shoes and getting used to that weight in training, it feels great to put a 6 oz racing shoe on when I want to pick up the pace.

    It would be really helpful to understand the relationship between shoe mass and bio mechanic efficiency with respect to metabolic cost. It makes me think about my experience when running with shoes the weigh under 10 oz vs 10-12 oz vs over 12 oz. It also makes we wonder if the way I've broken out the weights is purely arbitrary or possible has some significance.

  30. The other factor here is longevity, the cost of a light shoe is that it doesn't last very long, for example top of your list there, the "mayfly" was designed to be like its namesake: to last the duration of only one "marathon" day. I had a pair once as beach shoes. Comfy, but didn't last too long.
  31. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, a very important point. For the past 30 yrs in my running log, one of the data points I've collected was the shoe that I wore on a given run. I have kept track of the mileage I've put on every pair of shoes I've owned since the end of 1981. Running shoes are generally designed to last 500-600 miles. I wear my shoes a minimum of 1,500 miles. I typically get over 2,000 miles out of a given pair of shoes and I've had a few pairs last me over 4,000 miles. I haven't figured this out but I would expect the avg life of my shoes is around 2,500 miles.

    Right now, I am very interested in the durability of the 3 models of VFF I have. I currently have over 100 miles logged on each pair. My expectation is that I will get over 1,000 miles on them. Considering they weigh 5.7 oz to 6.5 oz. I will be happy with that and thrilled if I get 1500 miles. At $100/pair, if I can get 1,000 miles or average 10 cents/mile for a 6 oz shoe, that works for me.

    When you showed those school pumps on the Barefoot debate thread for cheap, the first thing I thought is, yes but how long will they last?

  32. Why haven't you purchased a pair and started logging your findings in them yet? At £3 a pair who cares, they're cheaper than a couple of your "go-gels".
  33. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, in the US, the designers have gotten a hold of these things. For men's "Plimsolls" with laces, they are running $50 and up, plus shipping! If cost/durability was the only part of the equation, these wouldn't measure up.

    At this point, my current inventory or running shoes are going to last me another 20,000 miles. It will be a while before I'm in the market again for new shoes.

  34. Let me know your size and address, and I'll buy you a pair and send them to you. I think "gussets" might be perfect for you. I'd love to hear all about your heart rate data while you've got your feet in a pair of "gussets".
  35. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    If the shoes weigh 6 oz and they actually stay on my feet long enough to record enough data, I would predict my HR would average approximately 133 BPM for an average pace or 9 min/mile on a run of 7 miles.

    Dana, SNMP
  36. I'm not sure why you display prejudice about their ability to stay on your feet before you've even tried them, but I bet the long winter nights just fly by in your house. Good bye Dana.
  37. Tkemp

    Tkemp Active Member

    at 6oz they are heavier than the Mayfly and as you said you have other shoes weighing from 6oz there shouldnt be a problem.
    I think the 'wear time' depends more on running technique and the evenness of abrasion to the soles.
    .... going back to Simon's original idea, if you could have a way of increasing the firmness of the soles in relation to the ground you wish to train on. So if you know you will run on tarmac (fatal for ankles and knees i have found from experience) you will adjust them as opposed to running on grass.
    This would be a great idea and would mean each athlete could adapt the same pair of shoes for their individual requirements and needs
    ....... and while we're at it, what about a set of retractable spikes for sprinting on tracks as opposed to long distance road runs?
  38. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    There is a trade off between shoe weight and durability. "Wear time" can be affected by running technique but given a specific running technique, durability will vary between shoes and dependent on the design of the shoe.

    For simplicity, if you break the shoe down to three primary parts which happen to have 3 distinct functions, it is easy to see the trade offs. The 3 parts would be the upper, which contributes to support and acts as a means of attaching the other two parts to the foot. The midsole which acts to provide cushion and possibly motion contol. The outer sole which provides durability, traction and protection from the ground.

    The mayfly has only two of the three primary parts with little of the two parts it does have. It has no outer sole so durability is very limited. It has minimal midsole so cushioning is limited and minimal upper with minimal support. These are trade offs to achieve minimal weight.

    VFF also have two of the three primary parts. They have no midsole so no cushioning or arch support. They have a minimal upper that is designed to hold the outer sole to the foot but not to provide support. What the VFF does have is a fairly substantial outer sole. Depending on the model of VFF, the outer sole is more substantial in terms of thickness of friction resistant rubber than many of the traditional road shoes and is only rivaled by some of the more substantial trail shoes. Therefore, for the 6 oz you get no support or cushion but durability. Not all VFF weigh 6 oz. There are VFFs that weigh 2.8 oz that have a far less substantial outer sole but are recommended for indoor wear only. Again the weight-durability trade off.

    When creating a running shoe, the designers go through a series of decisions with respect to cushioning, motion control, durability, support, material selection and the last used, all contributing to the ultimate weight of the shoe. For a given shoe, if a designer wants to stay under a certain weight, as they add more cushion for example, they will need to take away from somewhere else such as the outer sole and durability or possibly the upper, loosing support and also durability.

    It is extremely difficult for a shoe designer to score high on all variables and still have a shoe that weighs less than 12 oz. If you start adding things like magnetorhelogic fluid, magnets, possibly batteries? All of this will contribute to an already existing problem ever increasing shoe weight.

    You might be able to reduce metabolic cost by providing a means to get to optimal leg stiffness but the reduction due to leg stiffness has to be greater than the increase in metabolic cost driven by shoe weight. At some point, the shoe will become heavy enough where metabolic cost will not be optimized.

    Rather than have a one shoe does all concept. Metabolic cost is best optimized when a shoe designed specifically for a given surface stiffness is used. In this case leg stiffness will be optimized while shoe weight is optimized.

    Dana, SNMP
  39. Increasing the weight of a shoe increases oxygen consumption at moderate running speeds by approximately 1% for each 100 grammes of added weight; 100 grams = 3.5 oz
    Morgan DW, Martin PE, Krahenbuhl GS. Factors affecting running economy. Sports
    Medicine 1989; 7:310-330.

    A 12.5-fold decrease in surface stiffness resulted in a 12% decrease in the runner’s metabolic rate.

    AMY E. KERDOK,ANDREW A. BIEWENER, THOMAS A. MCMAHON, PETER G. WEYAND, HUGH M. HERR. Energetics and mechanics of human running on surfaces of different stiffnesses J Appl Physiol 92: 469–478, 2002

    So it seems we can reduce the surface stiffness offered to the body by 12.5 fold or we can decrease the mass of running shoes by 1.2 Kg (42.3 oz) to get similar metabolic effects.:rolleyes:

    Put another way, a shoe with optimised surface stiffness might have to be 12 times heavier than a pair of vibrams before the metabolic benefit was lost and the vibrams became more metabolically cost effective.

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