The science corner: Should you change your running shoes or not?

As researchers, the WoS Team every now and then stumble upon articles that could be of interest to the swimrun-community.
Even though swimrun is a sport by itself, it’s too young for research to have picked up on it. In the mean time we’ll have to do with science coming from the running or the swimming domains. Below is some interesting research for you sci-nerds out there, on the topic of running and what shoes to use.
Which shoes should you use and how will they affect you?

The more you run, the more you tend to change your gait, moving towards the front (falling) running technique. This usually mean the runner changing into shoes with less support and less drop. In swimrun most racers use shoes carrying dubs, leaving the selection of shoes to buy from much narrower.

Not having that many options might influence some to go for new and untested ones. Here, one thing to bear in mind in, as shown by the research below, is that going for the minimalist shoe will increase the load on the Achilles tendon, and most likely also the risk of pulling an injury. So, change the shoes yes, but perhaps not in the middle of the season and not straight-up directly from a steady one to a minimalist version with low drop.

/The WoS Team

Effects of minimalist and maximalist footwear on Achilles tendon load in recreational runners
J. Sinclair, J. Richards, H. Shore
Comparative Exercise Physiology; Published Online: October 27, 2015
The current investigation aimed to comparatively examine the effects of minimalist, maximalist and conventional footwear on Achilles tendon forces (ATF) during running. Twelve male runners (age 23.11±5.01 years, height 1.78±0.10 cm and body mass 77.13±7.89 kg) ran at 4.0 m/s in the three footwear conditions. ATF’s were calculated using Opensim software allowing the magnitudal and temporal aspects of the ATF to be quantified. Differences between footwear were examined using one-way repeated measures ANOVA. The results showed the peak ATF was significantly larger in minimalist footwear (5.97±1.38 body weight (BW)) compared to maximalist (5.07±1.42 BW). In addition it was revealed that ATF per mile was significantly larger in minimalist (492.31±157.72 BW) in comparison to both maximalist (377.31±148.06 BW) and conventional (402.71±125.51 BW) footwear. Given the relationship between high ATF and Achilles tendon degradation, the current investigation indicated that minimalist footwear may increase runners risk for Achilles tendon injury.

Read the full study here: