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What is the ideal midsole height in a running shoe?

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by toomoon, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    I thought this might be a timely discussion as we wade through the mountains of stuff being written and spoken about in relation to running shoes recently.
    For approximately 40 years, every major athletic footwear company has been building running footwear (and by this let me exclude racing flats and spike and define running footwear for this discussion as shoes designed for training purposes in relation to running), with a midsole platform with a gradient of approximately 10mm. I define the gradient as the difference in mm in height as measured under the 1st Mt and the most proximal aspect of the midsole.
    To the best of my knowledge, the reasoning behind this 1cm raise has never been adequately explained, and there are several major issues with the assumption that this is where the gradient, or in more populist terms, "drop", should sit.
    Not the least of these problems is the fact that
    1. midsole materials, especially EVA have about a 10% variance in durometer measure, and so there is great variabilityfrom shoe to shoe in relation to compressibility
    2. the gradient will scale with shoe size, i.e. a size 12 shoe has a lesser gradient than a size 7 shoe based on a 10 mm raise, and this is not corrected for in shoe manufacture.
    There is now much discussion about the validity of what are being called 'heavily cushioned, high heeled shoes' and of course there has been an indecent rush to lower the gradient dramatically by just about every major manufacturer. This lowering can be in the new range of 4 mm right down to 0... or.. zero drop.
    The dilemma is this: i cannot find anything at all in the literature to support wholesale change to the 'established ' norm. However, nor can I find any evidence to support the original raise of 10mm.
    My brain tells me that there is considerable risk in the lower gradient, especially zero drop, at several different levels, and that the 'traditional" footwear is protective of many of the input loads that we associate with injury. However another part tells me the weight reduction is good, and if executed properly (which the VFF is not), proprioception should be improved, although the literature still says, to nothing like a barefoot state.
    I still see the minimalist movement as fad driven, and i cannot identify the science behind it, but still something worries me. Anyone care to comment?
  2. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    All we have is the nonscientific pseudoscientific propaganda from the 'one size fits all' school.

    I don't think there is a systematic ideal height. There is probably a subject specific ideal height ... all we need is a way to determine it.
  3. Ben

    Ben Member

    Agree with Craig.
    If you have a rigid cavus foot type with high forefoot plantarflexion, it will need a greater gradient to operate fluently then the structural 'flat' foot.
    Like the whole topic, subject specific...
  4. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    but that is the whole point of my question.. it can never be subject specific because it will always be 10mm, 4 mm or 0 mm depending upon whom you beleive
  5. RobinP

    RobinP Well-Known Member

    If the range is going to be limited to three choices then perhaps in the same way that running shoe stores "prescribe" a shoe based on a wet foot print test or similar arbitrary measure, running stores should measure ankle lunge test to determine the gradient that is most likely suit the subject. It is a more repeatable, reliable measure and has correlation with pathology if the range is insufficient.

    BTW - I'm not saying that I think this is how it should be done but if the parameters are going to be as limited as that for subject specificity, then surely that range, small as it is, is better than the alternative of "one size fits all".

    It will, however, do nothing to negate the effect of the foot length versus gradient problem. Unless, the categories of heel sole differential are given an angular value?

    I think I could be in for some stick here?
  6. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Some thoughts:

    Some height is nice in that it gives more distance before the material bottoms out. I'm thinking about the paper by Nigg and Van den Bogart on impact forces in running. The initial impact that is related to the mass of the shank. My opinion is that the heel cushioning is what makes shod runners choose to rearfoot strike. If this is true then the thickness of the midsole under the heel should be proportional to the mass of the runner and should be scaled by shoe size. I guess the question is can a thinner amount of material in the heel provide enough cushioning to allow heel striking.

    People with limited ankle dorsiflexion. A little lift will benefit a portion of the population without too much risk for the rest of the population.

    Instability on side slopes and uneven surfaces. The risk for too much lift is that there is more lever arm at the STJ for lateral to medial or medial to lateral forces. This is probably the reason that it is not very comfortable to play basketball in running shoes. I think you can make a case for a trail shoe having less lift than a running shoe that will be used on a track or a sidewalk.

    It sounds like the lift for running shoes is 10mm because that is what has always been done. It is a good question to ask if this is the best average height.

  7. Simon:

    I see the minimalist running shoe trend (MRST) as being something that may have some positives associated with it, and not just a "fad" that is nonproductive. This MRST in my opinion, is is now giving many runners more options for shoe design which may, ultimately, allow them to find a shoe that is possibly more comfortable, has less mass and may produce fewer injuries for them than a traditional 10 mm heel height differential (HHD) training flat. Of course, by decreasing the HHD of the training flat, there may also be negative effects such as decreased rearfoot cushioning, increased tensile stress on the Achilles tendon and increased bending moments on the metatarsals due to the increase in forefoot loading in the first half of the support phase of running gait. I think we are already seeing these injuries occur at an unfortunate rate in many runners that run in minimalist shoes.

    Another negative factor is that the MRST is going to make it much more difficult for running shoe shops to know which shoes to recommend since the vast majority of running shoe salespeople are non-professionals with no real medical or biomechanics training. As far as I can see, running shoe salespeople will still need to fit the shoe, have the patient stand, walk and run in the shoe and compare this to other shoes in the store to see which is most comfortable for them. In the end, it will still be a trial and error process for the runner and, at best, an educated guess for the running shoe salesperson to recommend whether a shoe with a low HHD or a high HHD is best for the runner.

    And Simon, to my knowledge, there is absolutely no scientific research evidence to back up the running shoe companies all jumping on the 10 mm HHD bandwagon for their training flats over the past few decades. As far as I can see, all the running shoe companies have relied on years of experience and preferences from their shoe designers, not on scientific research by which to design the HHD of their training flats.

    As you know, shoe designs tend to be driven many times by the shoe designers' beliefs in "correct shoe design" and what the running shoe market is currently demanding at any point in time, rather than by non-biased scientific research. One could even suggest that the decision of all the major running shoe companiesto make their training flats have a standard 10 mm HHD is nothing more than a fad from 40 years ago that eventually became a standard of the industry over the years with the shoe companies simply being too lazy or cautious to not want to experiment with other HHDs in their training flats. I am certain that this is what many of the minimalist shoe advocates feel most reflects the truth of traditional training flat design.

    With that said, there is also absolutely no scientific research evidence either that running in a 0-9 mm HHD training flat is better, produces less injuries or is more metabolically efficient than running in a 10 mm HHD training flat. Therefore, until there is more scientific research that will help us find a little bit of firm ground to stand on, this debate on what is the best or most proper HHD for training flats will go absolutely no where, with each side of the debate bragging about anecdotal experiences as their reasoning for the best or most proper HHD for a training flat.

    The only thing at this point in time that seems certain to me is that each shoe design, from a HHD of 0 mm (i.e. zero drop) to a HHD of 10 mm (i.e. standard) will tend to change the magnitudes, temporal patterns and anatomical locations of pathological external and internal stresses acting within the structural components of the foot and lower extremity during running. As a result, the injury patterns within each running shoe design from 0 to 10 mm HHD will be expected to be quite characteristic due to the simple biomechanical fact that differences in external and internal loading patterns will result from running in each training flat with a different HHD.

    In conclusion, the future is exciting for running shoe design. Gaining knowledge by experimentation is still one of the best ways to optimize the design of mechanical devices....running shoes included!:drinks
  8. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    well.. thanks.. i think. Basically you have confirmed what i think I already knew.. that I hafta go back in to the lab and work this one out properly.
    you are right about the 10mm, and it has never sat comfortably with me because it was a perception not based on experimentation, but 'what seems to work best". I guess the major question to be settled is 'can 10mm raise be directlyu related to injury, as, I believe, 0 mm can?
    i note that Saucony have just dropped the platform of their flagship shoes to 8mm.. seems a little cynical given everyone understands compressibility and the variation in shore A of midsole materials.. big hurrah for something that i believe would make an immeasurable difference..
  9. Simon:

    I believe that a 2 mm decrease in heel height differential (HHD) will make a difference for many runners....some negatively and some positively. And that is basically the problem we have currently: we simply don't know yet which training flat HHD is best for each runner and each runner will probably do best in a running shoe with a different HHD.

    Time to do some good basic research....the type of research that should have been done 30 years ago!
  10. also should be mention higher than 10 mm. I add a 7mm to all my running shoes So I´m at about 17 mm I guess
  11. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    There are many things from main stream manufacture that got moved over to moden runner production, for no other reason other than it was the accepted norm.

    Take the concave shape accross the forefoot of the modern runner, this was needed for cement lasting machinery, yet we still have that concave forefoot on a force lasted product, why?

    It was done because it is the accepted norm and was simply transfered across to force lasted runner production, not given a second thought.

    Toomoon said "...I define the gradient as the difference in mm in height as measured under the 1st Mt and the most proximal aspect of the midsole."

    Its called "Heel pitch" :bang:
  12. RobinP

    RobinP Well-Known Member

    I would think that heel sole differential is the most unambiguous term. From bitter experience I can tell you that the term "heel pitch" means different things to different manufacturing companies.

    Gradient is fairly unambiguous as well?
  13. Heel pitch is an angular measurement. Heel height differential is a linear measurement. They are not the same. I prefer the term and measurement "heel height differential" since heel pitch is not well-defined and, as Robin stated, this ambiguity in definition with the term "heel pitch" leads to different manufacturers and different individuals measuring "heel pitch" different ways.
  14. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    "Heel pitch is an angular measurement."

    Nope, talk to a "Last" manufacture and get back to me then, the heel pitch is set by the last maker, but followed by the manufacture with some "angular" changes for court shoes only.

    The angular measurement of heel is changed to adjust toe spring on a court shoe to get a tight top-line but the heel pitch remains the same.

    Place a new good quality court shoe on a bench and the breast of heel will touch but not the rear until the weight is taken up tightening the top-line, so there is no heel slip for the wearer and once weight is removed the top-line loosens to allow for easy removal, so it doesnt damage you fishnet !

    It is the "differential" between the height/thickness of the midfoot sole and the height of the heel

    Midfoot thickness/height 2cm - heel height 4cm = 2cm heel pitch, no angular measurement at all, you could drop down to the midfoot early or late.
  15. David:

    Here are some references for you: do you have any references that state that heel pitch is not an angular measurement??


    from Toeslayer, 9th September 2007 http://www.podiatry-arena.com/podiatry-forum/showthread.php?t=4482
  16. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    Firstly just because its on the net does not make it true...l remember reading on the net that an oxford shoe is defined by a leather heel and sole and we all know that is not true, dont we?

    Your link reads
    "Heel pitch is the angle between heel and base line. If heel axis is not vertical damage to the footwear may occur with use"

    The axis of a "high heel" is not vertical, otherwise the top-line wont tighten when the wear stands, so that quote is wrong in two different ways:rolleyes:

    Dont believe it because its on the net:pigs:
  17. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    Actually to help a little more if l may, remember l said
    "Midfoot thickness/height 2cm - heel height 4cm = 2cm heel pitch, no angular measurement at all, you could drop down to the midfoot early or late."

    This might be the angular measurement you are thinking of, here is a pic of two lasts.

    They both have a heel pitch of 15mm.
    The yellow is a standard mens shoes last, the blue is one for rock climbing, note that the rock climbing last comes down to the mid foot much later, yet they have the same heel pitch, difference from heel to ball of foot, set by the last maker.

    All these problems come from manufacturing OS without the expertise to go a long with it, l have even seen rock climbing boots worth, sorry, sell for $400 that arent right, some bright spark made them on a standard shoe last and the same has happened with runner, force lasted production.

    Pay peanuts and you get monkeys and as rule monkeys dont make good shoemakers

    Attached Files:

  18. David:

    Thanks for the pretty photos. I'll ask again: do you have any references that state that heel pitch is not an angular measurement??
  19. Depends. If you are talking lasts we always worked in terms of "heel height" not pitch, which is a linear measure. In a previous life I worked for a shoe manufacturer and in my role worked with CAD last design systems and closely with the artisans at Springline lasts of Northampton.

    See this page from Springline- http://www.springline.net/products-ladies.htm
  20. I did some research on the term "heel pitch" from my own library and so far, it seems like this term "heel pitch" has multiple definitions, depending on what the reference is.

    Unless someone can provide me an authoritative reference (not just an opinion) that states otherwise, the term "heel pitch" can be either an angular or linear measurement and may refer to either the shoe last or the shoe itself and may refer to totally different aspects of shoe construction. In other words, the term "shoe pitch" is useless for scientific study of the effects of shoe construction on foot and lower extremity biomechanics since it lacks precision and is ambiguous.

    Here is the definition I gave for the term "Heel Height Differential" from over 24 years ago. I think it is still the best term to describe the difference in heel and foreofoot sole height in a shoe.

    Here is the illustration from that newsletter, along with its accompanying caption, showing both the heel height differential and footbed angle measurements of a shoe.

    Attached Files:

  21. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    Here KK, as l said heel pitch is set by the last maker.
    These are last measurements of all aspects of the last and photo's, it clearly states for the ladies high heel Pump pointed toe12/8 heel, this is a reference/cataloge for the shoe a manufacture to order lasts and the heel he would require and on the chart it is listed as Heel pitch of the last .

    http://www.shoeschool.com/shoeschool/lasts/pdf/Developing Shoe Last Collections - Sample.pdf

    Footbed angle is not heel pitch, refer back to the photo as the footbed angle is different for both lasts.

    .And this one even confuses itself.
    Heel elevation (pitch) - The vertical distance between the base plane and the heel point is the heel elevation.

    From: Cheskin MP: The Complete Handbook of Athletic Footwear. Fairchild Publications, New York, 1987, p. 124.

    Sadly some things get lost and distorted with time, as l said the concave forefoot of a modern runner is yet another
  22. David:

    Thanks for the pdf. Looks like the term "heel pitch" means different things to different people, depending on who you are talking to. What do you have to say about William Rossi's definition of "heel pitch". He states that "heel pitch" is the angle of the heel of the shoe relative to the vertical plane. Like I said, the term "heel pitch" is very confusing and probably not the best term when studying the scientific aspects of shoe biomechanics.
  23. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    l have worked with a number of last makers over the 30+ years l have been making shoes and all use the same terms, as do all my old books on footwear making.

    As for the gent you quote, how would you refer to a rock climbing boot, refer back to my pic's), to his definition of heel pitch, would he refer to this as a negative heel pitch?

    Heel pitch is going to be the best term to use as it is used by the last maker and he is the guy that sets the heel pitch, it is the reference point for all footwear made on that last when the shoe maker orders his heels in or has a sole unit mold made.

    The modern manufacture is either lazy or poorly informed when l see some of the stuff that comes into the country
  24. David:

    When you get a chance, could you provide us with a copies of the pages from your "old books", along with the author, title and publication date that support this definition of "heel pitch". This may be important to others who want to research this subject further since there certainly doesn't seem to be a whole lot of agreement as to what "heel pitch" refers to among other authorities on shoe manufacture and terminology.

  25. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    No promises on finding the old books, but l will do my best.

    If you want to see confusion amongst shoe - importers (not shoe makers) Google images of Oxford shoe, 90% of the pics are bloody derby's:hammer:

    Some call this the age of information l say the age of misinformation-
    was it some one recently said, barefoot is best for your diabetic friend:dizzy:
  26. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    A most edifying discussion gentlemen.
    Unfortunately, it does not matter at all, because the people with all the knowledge and the power, i.e. the bloggers, are not the slightest bit interested in correctness, and therefore have replaced gradient, heel pitch, heel differential with one term that is omnipotent.
    it is... "drop"
    and remember.. anything other than zero drop is a conspiracy by the athletic footwear industry to injury athletes and adversely affect their..'form"... whatever that is..
  27. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    LOL, Sadly l think your Simon, the next claim will be that it is the greatest cause of cancer:eek:
  28. Yeah....and I'm still waiting to have someone define what a "minimalist shoe" is......
  29. Ben

    Ben Member

    Simon, when Asics introduced the added 3mm height for the Nimbus in the Womens range what was the thought process there? I also remember you saying at AAPSM roadshow that you guys did experiment with different heights and data from 3mm and 5mm additions weren't all that different. So does Saucony dropping from 10mm to 8mm really make that much difference?
    Sort of goes back to posting an orthotic at 4 degrees inverted right?
  30. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, I have been wearing those shoes for the past 40 yrs and until the last 2 or 3 yrs, I NEVER questioned the "correctness" of the 10mm or even 12mm differential in standard running shoes. I accepted the differential as something someone figured out as being the "best" for performance and injury prevention long ago.

    Now that shoes with various "drops" are widely available, I own and actively run in shoes that have zero drop, 4mm drop, 6mm drop, 10mm and 12mm drops. Having the benefit of feeling the difference in various models of shoes, I don't think there is a "one size fits all" when it comes to differential. I actually like the option of being able to change that differential going from one day to the next rather than keeping the differential constant day after day, run after run.

  31. stevewells

    stevewells Active Member

    It's a shoe that you dont notice when you walk into a room :)
  32. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    In general, there is a relationship between the size of the heel-toe differential and the weight of the shoe. Zero drop shoes or close to it will tend to be lighter, while the shoes with a 10 to 12 mm drop will tend to be heavier. This makes complete sense because the higher the heel, the more midsole and possibly outer sole material the shoe requires resulting in a heavier shoe.

    Weight reduction is good. With respect to running, I can't think of a situation where the addition of weight to running shoes would be preferred other than for the purpose of possibly building strength in training.

    Assuming the shoe designers are in a never ending quest of reducing shoe weight, if they insist on maintaining a drop of 10mm, at some point they are going to reach a plateau where it will be extremely difficult to squeeze any more weight out of a given shoe. Of course, if they are willing to reduce the 10 mm drop, they can remove midsole and outer sole material and easily reduce weight.

    Since the current thinking questions what exactly is the "best" drop, all of a sudden, the designers have an opportunity to reduce weight. It may be that the shoe companies are reducing the shoe drop on their flagship shoes not because they see a difference in performance or injury prevention going from 10mm to 8mm but that they see this as an opportunity to easily reduce the weight of their running shoes.

    I have found after spending a lot of time running in very light shoes with little or no heel drop that when I go back to wearing heavier, higher heeled shoes there are some very obvious factors about traditional shoes that weren't as apparent to me in the past.

    The shoes now feel big, awkward and clumsy. Besides the obvious weight difference which in itself is a huge negative when it comes to running, the space between my foot and the ground was readily noticeable. The greater the drop, the thicker the outer sole and midsole, the less connected I feel to the ground. The apparent reduction in proprioception clearly has an impact on my general agility. Since I do most of my running on natural surfaces such as trails, having a lot of distance between your foot and the ground is not a good thing. It simply reduces your ability to react to the constantly changing surface angles and puts you at risk of spraining or twisting a joint. Not only does the distance between your foot and the ground reduce your ability to feel and react to what you are landing on, it also acts as a lever that will apply greater torque to your joints.

    For anyone who has spent a lot of time in shoes with a 6mm, 4mm or less drop without any negative side affects such as Achilles tendonitis or strained calves, it would seem to make sense to favor that specification in a shoe to take advantage of the shoe potentially having less weight and providing increased proprioception.

    Without evidence to prove or demonstrate that there is something magical about a 10mm drop, I can't see why a shoe designer would not opt for shoes with less drop to enable him to improve on other characteristics or qualities of the shoe.

  33. And how much does the heel portion of running shoe midsole material weigh when its 10mm thick? Somewhere near to naff all... and what percentage increase in metabolic cost occurs per 100g of shoe?

    Here we go again :bash:

    I got a running shoe midsole off a brooks adrenaline GTS at work, I'll pop the entire midsole on the scales tomorrow and see what it weighs... What proportion of **** all does the heel height differential account for? That'll be **** all - right?

    Saw some tri athletes today, the latest fad is obviously heel height differential as they could all quote me the differential of the shoes they are currently running in. N.B. despite their "vast" experience and knowledge gained via running and t'interweb, they were all injured.... what does that tell you? Jimmy Hill expression/ Joey Deacon on my face right now- y'all of my generation will understand.

    "And I am living
    Without the love of Jesus in my eyes
    It's easier to swallow than collde
    The way above the lows and sold your highs
    [It's all hype]
    When suddenly they strip it when you try
    [It's all hype]
    I still don't get the joke but nevermind
    It's all hype
    All hype
    But your gonna fall down
    Yeh your gonna fall down
    And your gonna be round
    And your gonna see
    that I am leaving
    The light of baby Jesus far behind
    For one with history leaking from her eyes
    As always things get tense when things are taught
    Twisted and distort
    But your gonna fall down
    Yeah your gonna fall down
    And your gonna be round
    And your gonna see
    And on for heavens sake
    I needed you today
    And never having been
    The countrysides obscene
    I understood the part
    But only only one
    You've given up the choice
    Why don't she dig my voice
    And I believe in
    The biggest touted answer to the lie
    But always when it's caught you in the eyes
    Cos ussually it is that I don't mind
    It's all hype
    It's all hype" Longpigs- "All hype"

    And all height, and even that's all hype, tonight.
  34. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, do the math, the work associated with lugging around running shoes that weigh 50% more, 12 OZ vs 8 OZ is considerable.

    The weight differential is only part of the equation. Running in shoes that lift your feet 24mm off of the ground screws with your ability to feel the ground and appropriately react to changing surfaces.

    Try running in a pair of New Balance Minimus Trail shoes for a few months then switch back to something like the Brooks Beast or New Balance 587 and tell me what you've learned. :bang:

    By they way, I've never been injured in 40 yrs of heavy running.....what does that tell you? Can you say the same?

    Simon, if you didn't come at me with guns blazing, you might actually be able to learn something. This will be my last comment back to you regardless of what nonsense you come back with.

  35. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

  36. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Dana.. what Simon is trying to point out to you is that you are not accurate in your postings and you have fallen for the Minimalist Party Line. And by the way.. the "drop' is just being used as a tool to flog product.. zero drop brands are no different to any other athletic footwear brand.. they want to sell shoes.. excepting that they use misinformation and at times downright lies to sell their product.

    the thing that amuses me is that they claim it is all about form and transitioning to a forefoot strike pattern. What a load of BS.. all that will do is injure you. If the biomechanics were properly understood, it would be obvious that changing form cannot be achieved without changing core strength, which in turn alters the foot strike pattern and allows the CoM to be more centralised over the foot, thus reducing the braking force. it has bugger all to do with"drop". However, the minimalist movement would have you believe if you buy their product all your dreams will come true without the work. it is dangerous and reminds me so much of the Toning movement. I could not believe how many people bought into the concept that by wearing an unstable shoe alone, one could achieve ripped abs and buns of steal whislt eating a burger... unbelievable.
    i am going to put it out there that tapping ones skull with a hammer will make one brighter. how many people do you think we will see in the street with hammers.. lots.. I guarantee it.
    to make it plian.. for a distance runner, the goal is a midfoot strike.. i am yet to see a quality marathoner forefoot strike.
  37. blinda

    blinda MVP

    Bit of fluff. Nuffin`to do with the thread, but it just occurred to me, Dana; You may well know my sis in-law. Jane Longhurst, used to work at IBM, lives in Boulder, keen runner?

    The Sun Is Often Out. Good album, but Frankly I prefer Mobile Home.

  38. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

  39. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Simon, as I pointed out in my earlier post, basic physics tell me that when I remove material, I am removing mass. My statement is accurate.

    What again is NOT accurate is your comment about me falling for the Minimalist Party Line. I actually find it insulting but that's OK, we know I have a thick skin.

    In 1994, 17 years ago, I ran the Leadville Trail 100 mile mountain run in a pair of Rockport casual Oxford shoes. At the time I was sick and tired of all the marketing BS around the bells and whistles the running shoe companies where putting on their shoes only for the purpose of trying to differentiate themselves and to jack up the price on their shoes. I saw it all as a bunch of unnecessary crap.

    The Rockport shoes I wore were marketed as comfortable casual oxford shoes that you could as easily wear into the office as you could to a family picnic. They were made out of nubuck uppers with rawhide laces. In general they were quite far away from anything that even resembled athletic footwear. I wanted to prove that if I could successfully wear those shoes in a run which virtually tested the limits of your mind, spirit and body, I could wear just about anything running and that what the running shoe companies were selling was nothing but a load of crap. No surprise to me, I ran the entire 100 miles in those shoes and was able to easily prove my point. The minimalist movement didn't exist at the time but Marketing BS was alive and well.

    You should know by what I've written on this forum that I am not easily swayed by others opinions. Even when they pretend to be an expert or pretend to know what they are talking about. Regarding your comments about whether it be the Minimalist Party Line or any other CRAP the shoe companies are trying to push, I am not the person who will be buying it. Therefore, your assessment of me is totally wrong.

    When I buy a pair of running shoes, the absolute first thing I look at is the weight of the shoe. At this point in time, because of the lightweight materials being used as you have pointed out, I see absolutely no need what so ever to buy a pair of shoes that weigh more than 8 OZ per shoe. I don't care if a pair of shoes is marketed by a naked guy doing cartwheels in green shoes off of Mt. Everest. If the shoes are heavy, I am not interested, end of discussion.

    What I have observed and yes I know there are exceptions is that quite a few of the models of shoes that weigh less than 8 OZ also have a tendency to have have a drop of less than 10 mm. Yes, there are a few exceptions. I have also observed that shoes with a drop of 10mm or more, have a tendency to weigh more than 8 OZ, yes I know there are exceptions. Frankly, the drop of the shoe has never my first priority when buying a pair of shoes. In my first post in this thread I pointed out that I run in shoes ranging from zero drop all the way up to 12 mm.

    I have found in my quest to wear light shoes I have had a tendency to buy shoes with lesser heel to toe differential. Not my intention, it just happened that way. This had absolutely nothing to do with the minimalist party line or any marketing crap from the shoe companies. This had everything to do with me buying light weight shoes.

    After wearing shoes that put my feet closer to the ground, I started to become used to that feel. When I went back to higher heeled shoes, frankly I didn't like the feel created by the distance between me and the ground. This is not a new concept. The companies making trail running shoes for years have been making and marketing shoes that are designed to put you closer to the ground. Again, we are talking about basic physics. When your feet are closer to the ground, particularly with respect to uneven surfaces such as trails covered in softball sized granite rocks, the LAST thing you want to be wearing is a pair of high heeled running shoes. I don't care what the minimalist party line says, I know what works and what doesn't.

    I have mentioned before that I wear my running shoes for a minimum of 2000 miles, often over 3000 miles and sometimes as much as 4000 miles. The shoe company marketing BS says they last 300-500 miles. Trust me, I wear my shoes long after any marketing BS about a given model of shoe has long been forgotten. The 3 most important factors to me are that the shoe is light weight, that I can effectively run on trails in them and that they are going to last. No marketing here, just basic requirements.

    By the way, I completely avoid buying Asics because time and again they have proven not to be very durable. Forget about 3000 miles, I don't think I've ever had a pair of Asics last me more than 1500 miles. Marketing has no say at all in my decision not to buy Asics, it has everything to do with the fact that I have found them first hand to lack the durability needed to meet my personal requirements. No emotion, just sincere honesty.

    I bought my first pair of Vibrams not because of any marketing pitch or being sold by the Minimalist Party Line but as a result of what I was reading on the Podiatry Arena. I just could not believe all of the hysteria about the "injury epidemic" and that based on anecdotal evidence that the medical professionals were spouting about metatarsal stress fractures. I was taken back by the general opinionated closed mindedness demonstrated by people claiming to be professionals. I had no opinion about VFF at the time but had to see for myself what these evil shoes were all about. I bought a pair, learned about them first hand and subsequently bought 2 more pairs in different models. What I found interesting is that some of the most vocal people on this forum against Vibram have no first hand experience with them and are basing their opinion on a few anecdotal stories from their clients. Wow.

    Simon, you started this thread asking about mid sole height appearing to have a neutral opinion but after your last few posts, am I detecting a bit of bias in your point of view?


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