Does running shoes actually make you run faster? Or is this a marketing ploy for running companies to get more money out of newbie runners?
I have come across this question many times and it seems there is so much confusion around it.
I mean, running shoes have been selling for years.
This must be proof that they help improve running skills, right?
Today I’m going to get to the bottom of things and help you learn the answer.
The Evolution of Running Shoes Overtime
We’ve mad leaps and bounds in every single way when it comes to shoes and how the human body moves.
Shoe companies have learnt that everyone is different and that shoes are not “one size fits all”.
Back in the day, running shoes were pretty basic.
They were made of leather that would stretch when wet and wear out quickly.
However, risk of injury was extremely high as no one knew that they had to absorb all the impact and protect joints, bones, and tendons.
Shoe companies quickly learnt that running required an immense amount of effort and energy, and that their shoes had to support all of this while keeping the athlete safe.
Today they use mesh designs that don’t stretch while staying lightweight and ventilated, helping athletes stay cool.
They have ample padding so the shoes absorb the impact and not the joints.
They’ve got heel-to-toe drop to support different types of arches.
And much more.
If you look closely you will see that there’s a trend over a long period of time.
The trend is:
Shoe companies have to constantly create a safe barrier for all these people who are running incorrectly.
In all honesty, we wouldn’t need running shoes if people didn’t have bad running form.
You read that correctly. Just like a weightlifter needs to have good form to lift weights, a runner needs good running form.
Bad Form, the Epitome of Injuries
Ever heard of the term “barefoot running”?
It’s not as common as it used to be, but still popular in countries like Africa and Latin America.
Barefoot running promotes a natural running experience.
Done with the right form you can run without experiencing pain or discomfort.
When you run with good form you allow your muscles to absorb the impact and not your joints.
Our muscles can handle it because it makes them grow.
But our bones, tendons, and joints, they cannot and that’s where all the pain and injuries stem from.
So basically, shoe companies have to constantly create shoes to soften the impact of bad running form.
Running barefoot without getting hurt is 100% possible…WITH the right form.
Running in running shoes with bad form will snap you up (sooner or later).
You can run in anything with the right form.
Don’t believe me?
An 18 year-old ran a half-marathon in Croc shoes and came 16th place!
His choice of footwear was because they’re cheaper and you get more miles out of them – 2000 in fact.
He was able to do all his training and complete the marathon without pain simply because he had good form.
Basically what it comes down to is if you have bad running form, even the best running shoes in the world won’t help you.
They will simply shift the pain to other areas.
Switching up your shoes may make your knee pain go away, but it can also move it somewhere else like your ankles or hips.
Here’s a video explaining how to run properly
The moral of the story?
Focus on correcting your form before worry about footwear choice.
How Today’s Running Shoes are Made
Today, shoe companies provide enough support so that people with bad form don’t injure themselves.
For as long as possible anyway.
Shoe companies have made leaps and bounds since they started manufacturing shoes some 200 years ago.
Nowadays we have shoes with mesh uppers. They provide ventilation to stop hot feet and sweat build up.
They are made much lighter than before and cater to many different individuals.
Some are made for wide feet, some have a wide toe box, some are narrow, some are flat, some have arch support, some have support for supination and pronation, etc.
Innovation has taken a big turn for the better and it’s only going to make runners lives a whole lot easier.
There’s literally a shoe for everyone these days and often times it can take months or even years to find the perfect fit.
This, of course, if they have their running form right.
Without that, shoes will not stop the inevitable of an injury.
It’s not surprising that 8/10 runners get snapped up every year.
How Important is Weight? (Prepare to be Mind-Blown)
There are different types of running shoes.
There’s running shoes for the road, trail, track, marathons, and more.
And there’s shoes created for each categories.
Daily running shoes will have lots of durability and comfort since you use them everyday.
On the other hand, a racing shoe is made to be extremely lightweight to increase speed.
However, this means they will lack durability because lighter materials are weaker.
How important is weight?
It’s the most important factor that determines the speed of a shoe.
A study showed that for every 3.5 ounces added to a sneaker, the runner was 1% slower.
Think about that for a second…
That doesn’t sound like much, but when you add that 1% over many miles, it’s a huge difference.
And if you’re wearing shoes designed for everyday running when everyone in the race are wearing racing shoes, I can almost guarantee that those people will leave you in a dust.
What Shoes Make You Faster?
Racer shoes are the fastest shoes in the world.
They are specifically designed to increase speed and responsiveness, offering more energy return so you can continue running for longer.
One thing to keep in mind is that racer shoes should not be used for training.
The trick is to train in your everyday running shoes, then wear your marathon shoes on race day.
You’ll feel more confident because you feel lighter and have an extra spring in your step.
Plus they don’t last as long. If you train in them before race day, they’ll lose performance for the race.
There are thousands of racer shoes out there and I have come across many.
My speediest, lightest, and most favorite is the Reebok Floatride Run Fast PRO.
The price is a little high but you can’t put a price on winning!
They only weigh 3.5 ounces which is similar to a deck of cards, and as I’ve already mentioned, the lighter the shoe the more competitive edge you have over other racers.
So Will Running Shoes Make You Faster?
Now that we have all the important information out of the way, it’s time to finish up with the ultimate question.
Does running shoes make you faster?
Hell yes they do!
But the most important factor is weight.
Lower the weight for increased speed.
That’s why racer shoes are the fastest in the world.
They stay lightweight, speedy and comfortable while offering protection.
Running shoes have proven to make you run faster. And as long as you correct your running form, you’ll be an unstoppable beast!