Monday, March 22, 2010

Pose Running Shoes

Not too long ago I went to a local running shoe store, and I was unable to find a single pair of suitable shoes. By suitable, I mean a pair of running shoes that would not hinder running with Pose Running Technique. The store I was in only had shoes designed for people who land on their heels. However, I wasn't really surprised, most running shoes on the market today are designed for people who run with bad technique, and I don't think it would be unfair to suggest that these people are the reason most running shoe companies exist. So it should not be surprising that the shoe companies (and the shoes stores) are responding to the demand from the people who comprise their primary market.

If you are in the market for shoes that are Pose Running friendly, it can be a bit frustrating, but do not compromise by buying shoes that will hinder your technique. But what constitutes a suitable pair of running shoes for Pose Running? For Pose Running, basically the more minimalist the shoe the better. Minimalist shoes help the runner to perceive his or her running technique more easily, by allowing the runner to better sense how softly he or she is landing.

My criteria for running shoes:
  • They do not necessarily need to be running shoes.
  • They should have a low heel rise ( 0 to 1/4 of an inch above the forefoot)
  • They should have thin soles (1/4 to 3/8 of an inch thick in forefoot, and 1/4 to 1/2 inch in the heel)
  • They should be flexible
  • They should be light weight

In the future, I will be doing posts on specific shoes. For now, here are some general categories of shoes that I like for Pose Running.

Racing Flats
Racing flats are shoes designed for racing as opposed to training, and they should NOT be confused with racing spikes.  Even though racing flats are designed for racing, if you run with good technique, they are perfect as training shoes. Unfortunately, many racing flats today are racing flats in name only. They are designed with a raised heel and relatively thick soles. Do not settle for these; find a pair with thin soles and a low heel rise.

Shoes without Cushioning
Vibrams have become extremely popular for running, and are one example of shoes that were originally not designed for running, but meet all of my criteria for good Pose Running shoes. They have thin flexible rubber soles, no heel rise and no cushioning. In fact, they are about as close to going barefoot as you can get without actually going barefoot.

No Shoes
People were doing plenty of running long before the invention of shoes; not to mention the invention of the modern running shoe. Barefoot running has started to become popular as way to return to a more natural style of running, but it should not be taken up without doing some research and preparation. Most of us grow up wearing modern footwear, so even if someone runs with great technique, he or she will probably have to go through a period adjustment before running barefoot will be comfortable. Personally, I have not yet tried barefoot running, but I hope experiment with it soon. When I do, I'll discuss my experiences in this blog.

My Advice
If you are relatively new to Pose Running, start with racing flats. Many people will not learn to land softly right away, and racing flats may help with the transition. Of course, if you like running in racing flats there is no reason to switch to anything else, unless you want to. I still run in racing flats most of the time.

Once you have developed a soft landing, you can consider switching over to a shoe like Vibrams, which really only offer puncture protection. I run in Vibrams regularly with no problems, and I hope to try out other brands of minimalist shoes in the future.

If you can run in comfortably in shoes that offer no padding, you can try barefoot running. I know that some people in the barefoot running community will strongly disagree with me on this. Many barefoot runners feel that if you are going to go barefoot, then you should just do it. Their argument is that by going barefoot right away, you will be forced to develop your technique more quickly.  Since I've haven't tried barefoot running yet, I'm will to concede that it may be better just to take the plunge.

Resource for further reading:
Running Barfoot Home
Barefoot Running University
How To Choose The Right Running Shoes
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen


  1. This blog is amazing!!!i stay impressive with the whole information because is absolutely interesting and wonderful .I like the new ideas raised in this blog. Simply wonderful. i love the shoes, it drives me crazy.i usually go shopping, specially to buy shoes.

  2. Thanks for the kind words about my blog!

  3. I appreciate your incite. I got here because my brother mentioned that running on the balls of one's feet is more efficient, and a consequent Google search lead me to research Pose running and any special shoes. This blog post is particularly helpful. Also, I had considered Vibrams before just for comfort, but I think I may buy a pair for comfort while running.

  4. Thank you. I'm glad this information is helpful.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Yeah, I think bed running shoes also lowers the actual effect of running techniques. But I really enjoyed reading your advice. Thanks a lot for posting.

  7. Hi Ken, would a criteria for running shoes also include being "zero-drop"? I.e. the shoe is not elevated at the heel? I've been doing a lot of reading about the "Western Squat" which is where most of us in the industrialized world who grew up wearing shoes (most of which have a slightly or more than slightly elevated heel) can no longer squat with our heels touching the ground, or we fall over backwards.

    Also, years ago I suffered a rollover injury while running in conventional running shoes and was distracted, and landed on a pipe cover, wrenching my ankle sideways, resulting in a fracture. Without the elevated heel of the shoe, I don't think this would have caused any injury. Since then I no longer wear running shoes with elevated heels!

  8. Hi Keith,

    That is a good point. Not everyone can start out with a zero drop shoe. However, over time most people can adapt to it. Falling over backward, in my experience, is also associated with limited ankle mobility. So both issues can be addressed via joint mobility exercises.

    Elevated heels, as well as flared heels, create lever arms that can twist the ankle with additional force. Another good reason to avoid shoes of this type.

  9. There are so many different aspects when it comes to this topic. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge on this particular aspect.