As mentioned in my last post, I don’t run barefoot. Not yet. But my new running shoes already feel like a huge improvement over the only other pair of specialised runners I’ve ever bought. Those were Mizuno Wave.
A bit like (although not completely identical to) the Mizuno Wave Rider, my old running shoes feature that wedge heel design to disperse impact upon heel-striking. How do they disperse impact from the heel? Well, as Mizuno is still sticking to the ‘Wave’ branding, you can check it out. Below is a screengrab of the promo video for the current Mizuno Wave range. If you click it, you can go through to the video itself, and have it (sort of) explained.
Now I don’t intend or want to alienate footwear makers, but cushioning the heel during running seems to me like a screaming smoke alarm on day one of a fire safety awareness course. Yes, these shoes may well disperse the impact of heel-striking, but should we be heel-striking? People I respect – and my research so far – sugggests otherwise. The barefoot/minimalist belief is that we should be landing on our feet nearer the front of the foot; and although I have no professionally qualified opinion, that’s what I’m going with for my own running.
So, if you want to make a bit of progress towards the goal of barefoot running, or at least away from heel-striking, this might need careful consideration. If you’re a heel-striker, you’ll can look at changing that habit if you deem it potentially useful. From a personal point of view, my Waves are the only thick wedge-heeled runners I’ve ever owned. I guess because of that I don’t heel-strike. Or, if I did so while wearing my Mizunos then my own habit was quickly kicked by changing to my new pair of running shoes:
The Nike Free Run 2+. Nike denotes them part of its ‘Minimalist/Barefoot ride’ category, but they’re quite clearly not the latter. It’s arguable that they’re not even the former with (at maximum thickness) about 40mm of midsole cushioning. Still, I’m hoping Nike’s right in stating they promote stronger feet (which is what I’m looking for), and as long as they do that while protecting them from laceration, they’re doing a fine job for me.
Actually, so far they are: I can say that they’re certainly a lot lighter than my Waves, more comfortable and definitely more flexible. I think I’ve made the right choice in the switch to see me well into my marathon training (and maybe even beyond). And I hope if you’re considering it, you can make as smooth a switch too.