Listen to this special solo rant episode of The MOVEMENT Movement about how traditional running shoes don’t improve running performance.
Here are some of the beneficial topics covered on this week’s show:
– How people don’t run faster because they purchase a certain brand or type of shoe.
– Why runners shouldn’t be comparing themselves to other runners and what they wear.
– How physics disproves the claims big shoe companies are making about performance.
– How carbon fiber does not act like a spring, and why runners must stop believing this.
– Why adding additional padding to shoes can be more dangerous for runners.
Connect with Steven:
When we see some runner set a new personal best, a new personal record, win a race, and they’ve just put on some new amazing shoe, it’s clearly the shoe that helped make that happen, and therefore people have to go buy those shoes. That’s the way people think, but we’re going to take a look at that in today’s episode of The MOVEMENT Movement, the podcast for people who want to know the truth about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body starting feet first. Because you know those things are your foundation. And we break down the propaganda, the mythology, and sometimes the flat out lies that you’ve been told about what it takes to run or walk or play or do yoga, CrossFit, whatever it is you like to do, and to do that enjoyably efficiently, effectively. Did I say enjoyably? Yeah, I know I did.
Because look, if you’re not having fun, do something different till you are, because if you’re not having fun, you won’t keep it up. I am Steven Sashen, your host of The MOVEMENT Movement podcast and CEO co-founder of Xero Shoes, xeroshoes.com, and we call this The MOVEMENT Movement because we, and that includes you, and I’ll tell you how to do that in a second. We are creating a movement about natural movement. More and more people are getting interested in letting their body do what it’s made to do instead of getting in the way every year. We could not be happier. We support that, of course.
The movement is that more people are getting involved. The natural movement is about the second movement in the MOVEMENT Movement. Anyway, if you get a chance, go to www.jointhemovementmovement.com. There’s nothing to do to join. There’s no secret handshake. You don’t learn a new song, you don’t have to pay anything. That’s just where we have all the previous episodes as well as all the ways you can interact with us, find us on social media, et cetera. And most importantly, if you like what you hear, just give us a thumbs up, leave us a great review. Hit the bell icon on YouTube. You know what to do to say that you like what you’re hearing, share it with people. If you want to be part of the tribe, just subscribe. All right, so this is a rant. I don’t have someone that I’m interviewing, something I’ve been thinking about a lot, and I have not organized this into a super, super coherent linear thing.
So pardon the ranting aspect of the rant, and I’m going to be looking at my notes for doing this, so if you’re watching this, you’ll see me looking down, making some notes. I’ll refer back to things and I will definitely ramble a little bit in that process, but you’ll get where I’m going and I think you’ll like where we land. So let’s start this conversation about shoes and how important they are or aren’t for you and everybody else with a little mind experiment. Think about Roger Bannister, the guy who broke the four-minute mile way back when, the way people talk about what happened. Bannister broke the four-minute mile and then suddenly a bunch of other people did. And everyone loves to say, “Oh, it’s because he just showed them it was possible and then they suddenly were able to do it.”
That’s a really interesting idea that we like because we love the notion that it’s all in our mind and our mind can do anything, and all we have to do is change our thinking and the world is our oyster. But I’m going to suggest that that idea that it was just about the fact that he did it meant other people could suddenly do it is, there’s a technical term for this, complete bullshit. And the reason that I say that is twofold. I’m going to talk about one simple fact and then I’m going to give you a hypothetical to play with. The simple fact is there was a bunch of people who were really close to running a four-minute mile and then Roger did it first. I will bet any amount of money if we could reverse and go back in time and just keep Bannister off the track that day, somebody else would’ve done it really soon afterwards, and many people were right on the cusp of it.
I don’t think it was a question of just some psychological barrier because if it was just a psychological barrier, then after Usain Bolt ran a 9.58 in Berlin, then why didn’t anyone else start running 9.5’s or 9.6’s or even some low nine 9.7’s immediately after he did something astronomically better than what anyone else had done? Well, here’s one answer. Even Usain Bolt hasn’t broken that record. He hasn’t come anywhere close to that record. So the idea that it’s all psychological seems a little out of whack considering that there was a lot of people, right around the time Usain Bolt set that record, who were running all about the same speed, who were trying to break 9.7 or 9.6 and just it hasn’t happened since. Now, by the way, I’m not going to suggest that Usain Bolt or anybody else was taking some drugs that may have led to that.
I will say that every world champion and Olympic champion in the 100 meters has eventually tested positive for drugs when they look back at those blood tests. But, be that as it may, not important for this conversation. But let’s go back to Bannister and the hypothetical, imagine that instead of him just breaking the four-minute mile and then other people doing it, imagine he had tried a brand new pair of shoes and then broke the four-minute mile. Now there’s two ways this hypothetical could go. What if other people then broke the four-minute mile without changing their shoes because maybe they couldn’t get those same shoes, they weren’t available? Or what if everybody switched and gotten new shoes? Well, both of those are interesting to consider because obviously if other people broke a four-minute mile without those new shoes, it couldn’t have been the shoes.
And arguably, if everyone got the shoes, we would have no way of knowing if it was the shoes, because these were all people who were on the cusp of breaking the four-minute mile to begin with and more back then, there weren’t shoe companies who were promoting this idea, it’s got to be the shoes. I mean, this is straight out of Nike and the commercials that Spike Lee did where that was just him saying, it’s got to be the shoes, got to be the shoes, got to be the shoes. That’s what got people to believe it’s got to be the shoes, despite the fact that there was no evidence that it was the shoes. Let’s use as an example to really highlight this now, Elliot Kipchoge. Kipchoge is the guy who ran the sub two-hour marathon, not the sub two-minute mile marathon. You get the idea.
Kipchoge ran a sub two-hour marathon. He did it in some magic special Nike shoes, and then all these people started wearing those shoes. But we got to go back to before he got these magic special shoes, and I’m putting giant air quotes around magic and special. A, he ran a two hour, one minute, and I think it was 38 second marathon in the Berlin Marathon without magic special shoes. When he ran his first attempt at the sub two-hour marathon, he only ran about four seconds per mile faster for the whole thing, a roughly 1% improvement in speed. And that was under really, really good conditions. People forget something though. There was two other runners who were trying to break the sub two-hour marathon in those same magic shoes and same magic conditions. They didn’t even finish the race.
Interesting thing to consider. Then Kipchoge does break the sub two-hour with a number of special conditions. Pacers who were coming in and out because they couldn’t keep up with him, interesting point, and also a perfect course, basically totally flat. He just had to go back and forth a couple of times. Not a typical typical course, but just recently he set a record again on a regular course. And so the question becomes is it the shoes? Is it the course? Is it Kipchoge? Well, I’m going to give you the answer that Kipchoge gave. In a number of articles that came out about a year, little over a year ago. Elliot Kipchoge was saying, wasn’t the shoes, it was my legs. He demonstrated that it was about him, not about anything else. And some people could argue, well, maybe the shoes helped, but again, it really looks like it was him and his legs.
He is undeniably one of the greatest, if not the… Well right now, the greatest marathoner to have ever lived. There’s other ways of looking at greatness about longevity and blah, blah, blah. But regardless, the guy who did it said, “no, no, it was me, not the shoes.” And then we have to think about other people who may agree with that for different reasons. Dr. Phil Maffetone, great distance running coach. He has a book called 159 about what he thinks it would take to run a sub two-hour marathon under legit conditions. And he thinks basically perfectly smooth, wonderful road in bare feet. And the reason he says bare feet is simply because of the same reason Ron Hill, who won the 10K in Mexico City, ran that in bare feet. Ron said, “lightest shoes that I could find.” And Maffetone says basically the same thing, getting rid of that little extra weight makes a difference.
Now I’m going to do part of my rant and let’s talk about the phenomenon that people have been seeing with these new magic shoes. That there’s a bunch of people setting personal bests and winning races. Well, we’ve got to look for counterfactuals. We have to look for things that are the opposite of what people believe as one way of analyzing this. There are still people in those races setting personal bests who are wearing whatever shoe they’re currently sponsored by that was not some magic shoe. There are people who are winning races who are not wearing the magic shoes. But more importantly perhaps is the fact that everyone’s wearing the magic shoes doesn’t, again, mean it’s the shoes, just like Bannister and the other people who did the four-minute mile. If you’re a competitive runner, if your livelihood depends on running and winning races and you see someone who has some magic new shoe and you think it may give you an advantage, you’re going to want to get a pair of those shoes.
And if now you and the other guy have those shoes and you’re doing okay, other people are going to think the same thing and they’re going to want to get those shoes because just in case you don’t want to have a competitive disadvantage. And you will ignore the fact that other people are running better or running well in whatever shoe they were already in. And you will ignore the fact that so much of… Well, let’s just assume for the fun of it that this idea about Bannister is not that he broke a psychological barrier. What it may be, is that when he did it, other people did have the realization, hey, this is possible. And what happened for them is something really intriguing, which is maybe the next time they went out and ran, they were reinterpreting the messages they were getting about what their body was telling them they could or couldn’t do.
This is based on Tim Noakes and his theory that there’s a thing in your brain called the central governor, and we know it’s true. We just haven’t identified like a specific part of your brain. The central governor, it’s designed to keep you safe, to tell you what you can or can’t do. To give you signals about when you don’t want to push too hard. And I’ll give you an interesting example about what the central governor can do or not do as the case may be. There was a, oh, what was a show called? I Shouldn’t Be Alive, I think that was it. A guy who was running or hiking on a mountain trail and a giant slab of stone came and pinned him to the ground. This is a life or death situation. Now, the central governor, one thing that it tries to keep you from doing is exerting too much force because your muscles, if they work at their maximum, can break your bones.
And so the central governor is trying to keep you from breaking your bones. You start exerting a certain amount of force and it’s going to go, whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re going to want to stop that. So when this guy has a like 2000 pound boulder, pardon me if I’m getting the numbers wrong, pinning him down, he basically bench pressed this thing off of him and made it down the mountain. It was only after he got down the mountain that he realized he had ripped and torn most of the muscles, ligaments and tendons that were involved in that pushing. And it broke some bones as well.
What does it have to do with people running in new magic shoes? Well, the argument that Tim makes about endurance running in particular is that one thing that keeps you from running faster is the central governor. One thing that training can allow you to do is either train the central governor that it doesn’t have to be that safe, that protective, or help you just reframe the messages you’re getting from the central governor that would otherwise make a normal person slow down and just you go, yeah, I get it and I’m going to keep going.
So what does this all have to do with you? Well, it raises an interesting question if it’s not the shoes, and I’m going to give you another reason why it’s not the shoes in a moment. If it’s not the shoes, then what? I mean when someone wins a race and you see those shoes and you go, I need to get their shoes. There’s another interesting little component to this. If you are, well, here’s the way I like to say it. If you are not 105 pound Kenyon who is running roughly 13 miles an hour for two hours straight, why do you care what they’re wearing? You are not that person. And when I say not that person, this relates to the magic shoes. And by the way, when I say magic shoes, I don’t want to single out Nike anymore because almost every shoe company is now making a shoe with a big thick hunk of padding, typically with a carbon fiber plate in the middle.
I’m going to make a note to talk about the carbon plate. They all look fundamentally the same. I was at a trade show called The Running Event in November, December of last year, and you could literally just take the logos from any given shoe company and swap them with any other shoe company and nobody would know the difference really. So there’s a really interesting thing. I’ve been saying this for years, which is I wish people knew more physics because if they knew more physics, they wouldn’t be as susceptible to the marketing lies that big shoe companies tell. So one of the lies is the phrase energy return. There’s no energy return in foam. Foam sucks energy out of the system. It absorbs energy not the way you think, and I’ll say more about that in a second. But it basically does not give you back more energy than you put in. Nothing does that.
In fact, foam like anything or like any material that has to do with rebounding or elasticity or plasticity. And elastic doesn’t mean that you can stretch something. It means from the physics perspective how quickly something comes back to its original shape after it’s been deformed. That’s what elastic means. Plastic means that it’s malleable. So there is no such thing as energy return. There’s energy suck and there’s more or less energy suck. But the more or less energy suck is not just about how much foam you have or what kind of foam you have. All foam is basically tuned to a particular speed and weight. If you’re not running at the right speed and you are not the right weight, the foam is not ideal for you. And this is something I’ve been saying for almost a decade if not more, and a Washington Post article that we’ll link actually shows the research showing this, that these big magic shoes may be detrimental to you because you’re not the right weight and running at the right speed.
They may be sucking more energy out of you. In fact, there’s a funny thing I just remembered. I will highlight Nike on this one. I saw an ad that they did about how their shoe with all this big foam gives you the feeling of being propelled forward. Well, I can tell you I tried one of those shoes, and it’s true. You get the feeling of being propelled forward if you’re running at the right speed and you are at the right weight. When I tried running in those shoes, sprinting in those shoes, I felt like I was in sand, wet sand. It was just sucking the energy out of me because I was running at a speed way out of tune with that foam. When I was just walking though, it did feel like I got the feeling of being propelled forward because as my foot was coming off the ground or just when my heel got off the ground fully, the foam decompressed faster than what my heel was doing, but then my heel was moving.
So I kind of felt the thing tap my foot. It didn’t make me move any faster. It didn’t make me walk any faster or get the urge to run. I felt something tap my foot. Now you might think, well, that’s could make you run faster because it’s pushing your foot, but it’s not pushing my foot. There’s no way that amount of foam would move a 145, 146 pound guy. More importantly, if it was actually giving you something that was moving you forward, not just the feeling of moving you forward, you could see it in force plate data. If somebody ran across a force plate, you would see that as their foot was coming off the ground, the way that the force is being applied to the ground would change. And we’ll get into the details of how, you can ponder that if you like, but suffice it to say, no one making these shoes has ever shown force plate data proving that it made you change the natural sort of bell curve that happens about when you land on the ground and then come off the ground. Not affecting it at all.
So just keep that in mind. There was something else. Oh, carbon fiber. I want to mention this really quickly. This also is about knowing more physics. There are a number of, I’m going to use a lot of air quotes today, of quote footwear experts. And big air quotes around that. I’m not going to mention names. If they’re listening, you will know who you are by what I say next. Who have said, “Hey, that carbon fiber acts like a spring.” No, it actually doesn’t because a spring is something that you would stand on, it would compress and then decompress right underneath where the force is being applied. But the carbon fiber plate, that’s not what it’s doing. It’s not acting like a spring. It’s not bending. Actually, the better analogy would be a trampoline, but it’s not doing that either because a trampoline… What makes a trampoline work is still, as Kipchoge said, your legs.
Yeah, the trampoline can accentuate what you’re doing, but only to a point. If you watch professional trampolinist, it’s a weird word to say, you’ll see that by and large they all get to about the same height. And they can only bounce on a trampoline for a certain amount of time because then your legs get too tired and you’re done. So you can apply a certain amount of force. That force is related to how much you weigh and how the trampoline is tuned. And if you’re the right weight and you have the right leg speed, you will like the other top guys in trampolining be jumping about 25, 30 feet in the air on competitive trampolines. So carbon fiber is not acting like a spring, bottom line.
Some people say it acts like a lever. Well, no. A lever has a fulcrum that you can either have like a seesaw that’s a lever, and if you push on one end, the other end does something, but there’s nothing in the shoe that’s doing that. Or you can have a diving board where you have one end that’s fixed and then a fulcrum and the other end gets springy based on where the fulcrum is and how much bend you get in that material. Well, that’s not what happens in that shoe either because there’s no fixed point, there’s no fulcrum. Now the shoe companies will say, “Hey, the shape of that shoe is helping people run in a heel to toe pattern.” But then go back to Kipchoge and watch the guys who he was running with for most that race. They never landed on their heel. They were midfoot and four foot landers. And so that whole thing that that’s why the carbon is in there, had no impact on them until maybe the very end of the race.
So the shoe companies in fact have been very, very quiet about why the carbon fiber is in there. But I can tell you what we all know secretly, those of us in the footwear industry, structural, it’s there to provide structure. Because if you had that much foam of that type of foam without something in between to give it some extra structure that foam would shear and fall apart in practically no time. It’s structural, not performance. So anyway, that was a whole bunch of rant. So I’m going to come back to a couple things.
One thing to think about when you see someone running in a pair of shoes and then everyone wants to buy those shoes because it gives them an advantage. I’m just curious, why didn’t that happen when Abebe Bikila won the marathon bare feet? Why didn’t that happen when Ron Hill, who I mentioned before, won the 10K in bare feet? Zola Budd, when she ran it bare feet? People talked about that like they were just crazy, not that this was a better idea.
And more, the big shoe companies were very aggressive about passing along that message just like they were in 2009, 2010 after Born to Run became popular. And people got the idea that you didn’t need to wear shoes. And the big shoe companies made concerted efforts to say, oh, whoa, whoa, if you go barefoot, you’re going to step on hypodermic needles, you’ll step on broken glass, you’ll get Ebola, your kids won’t get into college, your car won’t start, your mortgage rate will go up, you’ll forget how to use the number three. I mean, they were saying these amazing things that were patently false about running barefoot because they were terrified that nobody would ever buy another running shoe again because they knew that if you had proper form, and this is where I’m going, you’d run in bare feet. You’d be totally fine.
So interesting thing. Similarly, no one, when Usain Bolt set the world record, nobody suddenly switched to the shoes that he was wearing because they knew it wasn’t the shoes. They knew it was Usain Bolt. And since there aren’t a lot of sprinters, there’s more weekend warrior runners and people who do a few miles a day or a few miles a week, they of course never switched to those shoes because they weren’t sprinters, but it never became a thing.
So let’s see, what else do I want to say? New PR’s, people do it all the time. Oh, let me give you my favorite examples and I’m going to read something to you, which is something I’ve never done before. I mean, I’ve read before, just not on one of my rants. There’s two really interesting examples. In fact, I’m going to read this first, and this is from the book, The Sports Gene written by, oh, what’s the name? Epstein? I forgot his first name. I’m going to find that. And then I got to come back to this page.
Well, what the hell? It’s from David Epstein. There we go. Now I got to go find this page again and I’m searching for Owens and here we go. So at this point, he’s started kind of debunking the 10,000-hour rule. But here’s what I’m going to read to you. A group of sports psychologists, particularly acolytes, so the strict 10,000 hours school have argued that improvements in individual sport world records and team sport skill level have increased so vastly in the last century, faster than evolution could have significantly altered the gene pool. That improvement must come down solely to increasing the amounts of practice. As the rewards for top performers have grown, more athletes have undertaken greater quantities of practice in an attempt to earn them.
Well, I would say that it’s not quite that. Practice is an important thing. Improved training methodology is an important thing, but there’s also a just larger pool of athletes who suddenly become available to and incentivized to try to maximize things. And you’re going to find, if you get enough people, you’ll find some crazy, crazy guy who just walks in off the street and is a better performer than anyone you’ve ever met before. And I’m going to talk about one of those in just a second. Let me read this next thing. A portion of the improvements, though, even in straightforward athletic endeavors, are very clearly the result of technological enhancements. Now, you might think, I’m going to shoes, but I’m not going to shoes. Biomechanical video analysis of legendary sprinter Jesse Owens, for example, has shown that his joints moved as fast in the 1930s as those of Carl Lewis in the 1980s, except Owens ran on cinder tracks that stole far more energy than the synthetic surfaces where Lewis set his records.
But technology is not the only source for improvements, here we go, that is often overlooked. Undoubtedly, the increasing amount of precision of practice has helped push the frontiers of performance, but the winner-take-all effect combined with a global market place that has allowed many more people in to audition for the minuscule number of increasingly lucrative roster spots has indeed altered the gene pool, not the gene pool of all humanity, but certainly the gene pool within elite sports. I’m going to close by mentioning someone that I adore who’s not mentioned in here. In fact, wait, I got to see if this is true, if he’s mentioned in here or not. The answer is no. This is a massive oversight. Do you know who the world record holder is for the a hundred yard dash?
No, I’m sure you don’t unless you’ve heard me say it before. It was set in 1971 and the world record still stands because, not because anyone couldn’t have gone faster, but because they switched right after the race I’m going to tell you about from the a hundred yards to the a hundred meters. And so no one ever ran a competitive version of this race again. And the guy who set that record in 1971 was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, is Delano Meriwether. Delano Meriwether was not doing the kind of training that other competitive sprinters we’re doing. Delano Meriwether, and I know this because this is what his daughter told me, Delano Meriwether, who is a very understated man, does not talk a lot about his accomplishments. He was the first black student in Duke University Medical School, and when he was there, the only black student for those entire four years, one of the things Meriwether would do to blow off steam is sprint.
And then he entered a race, won the race, Delano Meriwether set the world record in the hundred yards at 9.9 seconds. And he was not a fully 100% committed, training doing nothing else sprinter. But here’s the kicker. Other research that came from Epstein said that Jesse Owens actually, if you adjust from the cinder track, would’ve probably been second to Usain Bolt. Well, Delano Meriwether, 9.9 second, or sorry, 9.8. Wait, I’ve got it wrong. I think it’s… Ah crap, 9.8, let’s call it. Wait, now I got to look it up. Hold on, I’m going to pause. I’m going to look this up.
Okay. My brain was totally mush when I was saying that because I knew the answer to this, but somehow it wasn’t showing up Meriwether. And by the way, I found an article that I totally love that talks about Meriwether as Dr. Meriwether, 28 and a rookie, captures US 100 and it says, Dr. Delano Meriwether achieved his impossible dream, broke one of the world’s oldest world records in track and field, but we’ve got to go on and on and on around the a hundred yard dash. I found a really good part. And anyway, they refer to him as a hematologist, which he was. I mean, this is a guy who was a practicing physician when he set this world record of nine seconds flat in the a hundred yards.
Key reason I kept having 9.8 and 9.9 in my head is, if you extrapolate from there again on a cinder track, and by the way, both he and Jesse Owens were wearing shoes that looked a lot more like ours than anything magic. They were thin, they were flexible, they were lightweight, little pointy in the toes, but made to fit their feet with big spikes to deal with the cinder track surface. So even ignoring the cinder track surface that Meriwether was on, if he ran a 9.0 flat 100 yards, that would be about a 9.8 100 meters. And what I can tell you is that would make him one of the fastest men in the world today. He would be, I mean, I don’t even know what… Wait, I’m going to look this one up too. Hold on one second.
Yeah, I should have done this before, but I didn’t. If he ran a nine eight last year in 2022, that would’ve made him tied as the fourth fastest man in the world. So what does that say about, well, is it the shoes or is it the person? What does that say about what constitutes or what allows for setting personal best, for setting world records, for being your best? What I’m going to suggest is it’s about you. The footwear can help a little, but it’s mostly going to be about you. It’s going to be about your training, it’s going to be about your form, it’s going to be about your strength. It’s going to be about whatever things you may be taking to help with nervous system impulses, caffeine, by the way, totally legal, almost anything else, pretty much not. But people definitely use caffeine when they’re trying to set a world record.
So this whole idea that it’s got to be the shoes is just not born out by anything that you can think about if you really just look at history and look for some of these counterfactuals and look for other explanations. Now, for the fun of it though, actually without leaving you on Delano, and I will give you a reason that some big magic shoes may be helpful. If you are the right weight and speed, oh wait, here’s a rant for you, or here’s a divergent thing that I said I was going to do. There are a lot of people who set world records on the Harvard indoor track. Why you might ask? It’s not because you’re at sea level. It’s not because you’re at Harvard. It’s not because there’s a bunch of smart people that you want to impress. It’s because they literally designed the Harvard track to work like a trampoline.
The way that the wood is set up is when you hit it flexes and then bounces back just like a trampoline. But if you look at the paper, the physics paper about how and why they designed that, they designed it very specifically for a particular weight and a particular speed for a particular race. If you’re that weight running around that speed in that race, you’re probably going to set a personal best. And I’m going to summarize the research or the way they described how they built the track. They said we want the track to be slightly springier than the spring of the athlete. What does the spring of the athlete mean? It means how much, when you impact the ground, when your foot hits the ground, how much do you compress? How much are you able to get energy back into your system with the use of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons?
That’s your spring, whether you collapse in your abdomen, whether your legs are spending too much time on the ground because you’re over striding. Those are all the things that impact your spring and that track, which when you land on one of those boards, that board is suspended, or, what’s the word I’m looking for? Not suspended, held, mounted outside of where your foot is. There’s nothing in the shoe that does that. It’s because that thing literally works like a trampoline. But instead of having springs on the bed, the bed of the trampoline is partly what makes it work too. Not just the springs, but the bed flexes also, in this case, there are no springs on those boards, but the bed, the board flexes as well. So it’s all about you becoming a better spring, having better form, having the ideal weight sometimes if you’re really trying to go for a record or more accurately, the ideal strength to weight ratio.
There’s all these things that are all about you. Just as Kipchoge said, it was my legs. So what are you going to do for your legs that’s going to make a difference. People will say, Hey, by the way, you sell Xero shoes. Well, what’s that all about? Well, we’re just trying to get out of the way so you can have an experience that isn’t shoes impacting you in a negative way. We want to give you that feedback also about how your form is. If you overstride and heel strike, you’re going to feel it barefoot and you’re going to feel it in our shoes, and hopefully you will take the time to let your brain and body help you naturally adjust to something that feels good, which will be not over striding, most likely, landing mid foot on the ball of your foot, not keeping your heel on the ground, but letting your Achilles tendon work fully to let it be the spring that it’s designed to be.
Let all the other tendons in your ankles, in your feet, your hips, your knees, your back, work to make you a better faster spring. Those are all the things that you can do to do better. It’s not about necessarily switching shoes unless, Hey, look, if you go from the HFS to the Speed Force, you’ve just dropped an ounce of weight. So that could help. And in fact, I was going to say, if there is any reason that those magic shoes might be helpful, if you’re the right weight and the right speed is because they’re so high that maybe, and no one has proven this yet, but this is an idea given to me by Jeffrey Gray, who I had a chat with on this podcast, so you can find that at jointhemovementmovement.com. It was Jeffrey’s idea that maybe, that by being that much higher, but being either the same weight or lighter than previous shoes.
My God, I forgot to mention that. Some of these magic shoes are lighter than what people were wearing before. Back to what Phil Mattone said and what Ron Hill said, maybe barefoot is better because it’s the lightest shoes you can get. Maybe just the fact that those shoes are lighter is helping people run faster. But Jeffrey’s argument is that when you get higher, maybe your stride frequency, or sorry, your stride length is increasing, but because the shoes are lighter than what you’ve been wearing, your stride frequency, maybe unaffected or maybe even a little bit faster, and speed is a just mathematical thing. What’s your stride length? What’s your stride frequency? That will tell you how fast you can go. And so perhaps the weight may be helpful. Perhaps the height may be helpful, but again, there’s still people who are winning those races, who are beating those people in magic shoes, who are wearing regular shoes.
So I will end on this one. Just as Kipchoge said, it’s my legs, so enjoy doing something with your legs. Let me know what you discover. Let me know what you think about this episode. A reminder, go to jointhemovementmovement.com for previous episodes, all the ways you can engage with us, all the places you can leave a review or a thumbs up or whatever else you’d like to do. Again, if you want to be part of the tribe, please subscribe and if you have any questions, comments, feedback, people that you want to introduce me to, who should be on the show, including people who might think I have a case of cranial rectal reorientation syndrome, I would love to talk to people who think I’m completely full of it, because I just ask them questions like, “where’s your proof?” To which they usually have none, but nonetheless, we won’t get into… Anyway, if you know someone or have any comments, feel free to drop me an email. Just email, [email protected].
And until next time, go out, have fun and live life feet first.