The primary function of a runner having proper running footwear is to try to help prevent injury and help them run more quickly. The use of an inappropriate running shoe for a runner is considered to raise the possibility for an exercise related injury and make the running less efficient. Whereas if the most suitable running footwear was used then there’s a less of possibility for an exercise related injury and the athlete is more economical in how they run. There is lots of debate if the running shoe really does actually achieve that or not. There isn’t a great deal of data to guide that and what little science there exists signifies that it might not be an accurate assumption that the running footwear will be able to prevent exercise related injury. Different athletic shoes companies have approached the problem or issue in different ways with each and every brand offering up unique methods with various levels of success. There’s an extremely wide range of running footwear on the market, with each and every brand and model having several design features which the running shoe retailer should preferably match all of them up to the requirements of the individual runner.

Just over a year ago, Nike released the new Nike React Infinity running footwear with the strong claims that it may reduce running injuries by 52% and they also had data to support that claim up. You ought to be careful making these kinds of health claims about running shoes as they possibly can be and have been the reason for legal action and settlements with the regulating authorities previously. As of writing this, the study that backs up the Nike claim is not released for expert evaluation and all that’s available is an abstract of the outcomes of the research. The research was performed by a university for Nike. The study divided 226 athletes of all ages and abilities in to 2 different groups as they had been preparing for a half marathon. One group of the runners ran in the Nike Structure that is a conventional motion control running shoe and the other half ran in the new Nike React Infinity Run shoe. The outcomes showed that runners running in the React Infinity experienced a 52 percent lower overuse injury incidence compared to those using the Structure running footwear. The wearers of the React Infinity also mentioned that they felt reduced pain in their knee joints and also the feet from the running. These outcomes appear good, however the data ought to be put under greater examination before it is blindly believed.

Most of these points are repeatedly challenged and litigated in several places. An episode of the livestream, PodChatLive has been focused on the above mentioned issues. In this episode the 2 hosts (both runners) reviewed the topic with Michael Nitschke who’s a podiatric doctor, a very good runner and a running coach. In a thread on the online community, Podiatry Arena, there is a lot of comments around the Nike promises about their Nike react cutting down running injury incidence. Given the number of varying perspectives and viewpoints this is a matter that is not likely to be fixed any time soon.


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Craig Payne Author
University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger, dad.