Skechers Running Shoe Giveaway: Mid-foot strike technology in a new minimalist shoe
I was able to try Skechers new fitness line of shoes, including their new minimalist shoe GOrun. I am giving away a pair so make sure you post a comment to be entered in the drawing. But before I get started talking about Skechers shoes, let me first state as a running form coach, no shoe can fix poor form. Without proper hip rotation the strain on the joints and ligaments will continue. Shoe technology has come a long way but it does not mean it has brought a decrease in injury rate, staying steady since the 1970′s as the running boom took off. What people want to invest in their shoes they could put into strengthening and stretching appropriate hip muscles and learning to use the efficiency of correct running form.
Shoes do make a difference, though, and each person has different foot structure and it really is a personal preference. I’ve tried many shoes over the years. Shoes have designed pressure points and foot support that will hit people’s feet in different places. Ultimately, choose the shoe that feels comfortable to you.
Almost all my clients at some point run barefoot so they can feel their natural foot strike with the aim of duplicating that feeling while running in their shoes. If this intrigues you to start running barefoot, do so in increments. Do not start barefoot running the same distance as you do shod. You will more than likely end up injured due to the increased stress on the bones, ligaments and muscles. Start with short distances on a soft surface like grass or the turf on the infield of a track.
The benefit of true barefoot running includes the sensory feedback from the extensive number of nerve endings located on the souls of the feet, allowing for constant and minute adjustments in stride and body form which lessens the impact on the body. Anything you put on your feet, including the number of minimalist running products out there, will dull these senses and inhibit the sensory feedback. The benefit of barefoot running is to FEEL what your foot strike should be with proper form.
You can not heel strike when running barefoot, this is where Skechers technology picks up. Their Smartshoe technology focuses on the mid-foot strike and the spring-back motion to support proper form. With proper form, the hip comes up and around and helps push you forward and brings the foot strike under you instead of ahead of you which causes a heel strike.
I won’t go into the technology in terms of formal explanation, the Skechers website is a great source for that and I would encourage you to look it up if you are interested in the details of their technology.
I will tell you however, how these shoes feel. The three I tried were the Shape-Ups LIV, SRR ProSpeed, and GOrun. General characteristics: they are all light weight and breathable with supportive cushioning, and come in a fun line of colors. They are my shoe of choice to wear for comfort.
They all have their own function. LIV and ProSpeed I grab for everyday walking or running errands, and I really like them for hiking or extensive walks. LIV is stated to be a general fitness shoe and for shorter running distances. I did not feel specific pressure points but a general support system good for low impact activities. I did run in them and they would not be my shoe of choice for training. I can see how they would be beneficial for the low mileage runner and I wear them during coaching sessions.
Skechers’ technology is felt in the ProSpeed. I immediately felt the arch support and felt like the shoe propelled me forward and I really wanted to run faster. I really tried but I could not heel strike in this shoe. I focused on my hip motion and felt like it supported natural hip rotation. It is comfortable and my first reaction was wow. So much so I asked if they would be willing to let one of my client’s try it so I could get feedback from somebody else’s experience whose form and foot strike I am familiar with. I picked a candidate that has been tied to her current running shoes since the day we started working together two years ago. She was skeptical but was interested in trying when I described the technology.
As we both built up our mileage training for a half-marathon, we both started having similar experiences. We became more aware of the pressure points on the balls of the feet and the reaction and feel in the toes with the forward motion. We both felt like the shoe started controlling the form. For myself in particular, being so familiar with the subtleties of my foot strike, I felt like I had trouble really relaxing my foot and feeling it spread allowing full absorption on impact. This caused me to start fiddling with my form, which I didn’t like. With further thought I wonder if going a half size smaller than what I usually wear in a running shoe may help with the pressure point and the flow to toe push off.
Then the GOrun came out, Skechers minimalist running shoe incorporating the technology but on, what feels like to me, a lesser scale of forced support. This truly felt like a minimalist shoe compared to other minimalist shoes I have tried. It really supports natural foot strike, allowing full absorption at impact without forcing a particular motion. The technology was still there in the support under the arch but in a lesser degree which I liked. It would still be hard to heel strike in this shoe, but absent was the forced forward motion I felt in the ProSpeed.
What I really liked is I felt like my foot could make the little adjustments made on impact with the feedback received, like I do when barefoot running. The technology is fascinating, I encourage you to read about it if interested. For me the next test will be how well they hold up as I put more mileage on them over the next few months.
Congratulations, Sonia! You are the winner of a pair of Skechers GOrun! Skechers has been generous enough to give away a pair of Skechers GOrun. Please post a comment below that you would like to be entered in the giveaway. Feel free to share your experiences with your running shoes. Entry deadline is midnight, Wednesday, December 14, 2011.