Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Distance Running Existed Before the Modern Running Shoe

I am often surprised by the limited frame of reference some people have when it comes to running. There is a great deal of skepticism that the modern running shoe is NOT absolutely necessary for running.

Let's just consider a couple of facts:
  • The modern running shoe was invented in the early 1970's, and I'm pretty sure that there were people who ran long distances prior to the early 1970's.
  • There are still many people around the world who are great distance runners despite not having access to modern running shoes. Many of the great African distance runners started out their careers training and racing barefoot. Of course there are also the famous Tarahumara Indians in Mexico who run in homemade sandals.
Many people will point out that humans weren't built to run on modern roads and sidewalks, and that is seemingly a good point. However people were running on these surfaces long before the inventions of the running shoe. Paved roads existed in antiquity, and people ran on those roads very well.

My opinion, if you don't already know it, is that it's all about technique. If you have good technique, you can run on almost any surface without running shoes, and if you have bad technique... well, you are going to need running shoes, and you are still probably going end up injured.

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