Our shoes are treated more carefully than our clothes. This is because shoes are made to withstand impact and direct contact with the ground. Shoes are made of more durable materials than clothes. You can’t treat your shoes poorly if you consider the price of good shoes and how long it takes to get them.
I’m not saying that your shoes should be a temple or that you spend all your time trying to avoid grass, dirt and scuffs. My suggestion is to think of your shoes as an investment, and an essential part of your wardrobe. It makes sense to take more care of your shoes if you think about them that way.
While a shoe-lover, or cobbler, can discuss a dozen parts of a shoe (or more), for our purposes we will only be focusing on three parts: the sole and the outer shell. Your shoes will last longer if you pay attention to each area and maintain them well.
The sole of your shoe is what you use to walk on. Every day, it is subject to wear and tear. It is able to absorb the impact of stairs, concrete friction, and any other damage that you may cause. The key to protecting your feet is to keep the soles of the shoes clean.
Over time, your soles will begin to wear down. Your soles will begin to fall apart if they were not properly stitched or glued. These issues can be fixed for a fraction of the cost of purchasing new shoes.
There is nothing you can do for athletic shoes. They are made of rubber soles and are not meant to be repaired. The soles of casual and formal shoes, including heels, can be repaired by both men and women. A shoe repair shop will often only take about an hour to remove the old sole and put a new one on. The cost is usually between 20-40 dollars.
You can catch damage early by checking the wear and stitching of your shoes once every 2 to 3 months. This could mean the difference between purchasing a new pair of shoes every 18months and every 3 years. This difference in replacement times can save you hundreds of dollars each year, and even more if your shoe collection is large.
The outside of your shoe will be what everyone sees. It is also the area that people judge you by. It is important to remove any scratches and replace the laces.
Non-athletic shoes are more susceptible to damage from the weather and contact with surfaces. It is easy to remember the main points.
Wipe your shoes down once a week, or whenever you are walking through dirt, mud, grass, etc. This will prevent the elements from permanently discoloring shoes, and it will make it easier for you to see scratches and scuffs.
Protect leather, nubuck and felt with a spray of protectant. You should be prepared for slight changes in the color of your shoes. Before applying the spray everywhere, test a small area on the heel. Protectant can be applied to canvas or other materials. However, animal materials are more susceptible to moisture damage.
Your shoes should be polished and polished at least once a month. It doesn’t matter if you choose a specific shoe polish that matches your shoes. You can just use neutral polish. Polishing involves applying a lot of polish to the shoes and then polishing them to achieve a high shine. Use a brush or cloth to apply the polish, and then buff them with a towel.
You should take your shoes to a cobbler if they have any deep scratches or scuffs. It is possible for the shoes to scratch depending on how badly they have been damaged.
Although the inside of your shoe may seem like it should be the most visible, many people forget about it until they have a pebble. A few simple steps can help keep your feet dry, comfortable, and free of any smells
Rotate your shoes – This applies to all of the parts of the shoe. However, the more you use a pair of shoes, the more damage they will take. Rotating through 2-3 pairs of shoes per month will help them last longer.
To keep your shoe in shape, use shoe trees (cedar is the best). This should be done whenever there is moisture in the shoe. You are less likely to develop athletes foot or other foot conditions if you keep your shoes dry and use powders like Gold Bond.
I recently got rid of 5 pairs I had owned for between 2 and 6 years. Some were good gym shoes, while others were shoes I didn’t care for. It hurt me to realize how much I had spent on these shoes, and that they were a great investment. But I hadn’t taken good care of them.
This article can help you if you have shoes that you love and want to keep, or if you are looking to save money. You can keep your favorite shoes in good condition for many years with a little care and maintenance.
It’s more than barefoot running or minimalism versus running shoes. This is the “either/or” situation that many people portray. It goes deeper than that. It’s not that shoe company owners are evil or out to make money. Although shoe companies might be achieving the goals they have set, it is possible that the goals they are aiming for may not be what they need to achieve. Running shoes are built on a flawed paradigm.
Running shoes are based on two fundamental premises: impact forces and pronation. They are designed to limit impact forces and avoid overprontation. This has resulted in a classification system that is based on motion control, stability, and cushioning. This system may not be able to stand on its own. Are we focusing on the wrong things 40+ years?
Let me start with the usual statistic that 33-56% of runners are injured each year (Bruggerman 2007, 2007). This is quite amazing when you consider it. There are many injuries, so let’s take a look at what shoes should do.
Shoes are based on the idea that pronation and impact forces are what cause injuries. Running has become a curse because of pronation. We are inundated by motion control shoes that limit pronation.
Pronation can be described as the overpronating of the lower leg, causing it to rotate (i.e. The main idea behind pronation is that overpronating causes rotation of the lower leg (i.e.,. This is why running shoes are designed to reduce pronation. Running shoes were designed to align the body properly. But is it really necessary to align properly?
The pronation paradigm is based on two things: (1) overpronation can cause injuries, and (2) running shoes may alter pronation.
We can see that there are many studies that don’t support the idea of pronation causing injuries. Wen et.al. He found that marathon runners were not at risk from lower extremitly alignment (1997). Wen et. al. He concluded (1998) that minor variations in the alignment of the lower extremities do not seem to be significant risk factors for running-related injuries. Similar conclusions have been reached in other studies. Nigg et. al. A 2000 study showed that ankle and foot movement could not be used to predict injury in large groups of runners.
If foot pronation/foot movement does not predict injury or reduce the risk of injuries, it is time to question whether or not this concept is sound.
The second question is: Does shoes actually alter pronation? There are many ways that motion control shoes can reduce pronation. Many people insert a medial pin or similar device. Stacoff (2001) tested several motion control shoes and found that they didn’t alter pronation or change the kinematics either of the calcaneus and tibia bones.
Butler (2007) also found no difference in peak pronation between cushioning and motion control shoes. Dixon (2007) also found similar results, showing that motion control shoes didn’t reduce peak eversion or pronation and did not alter the pressure concentration.
This double-whammy is a big deal for motion control shoes. Motion control shoes are not designed to alter pronation and prevent excessive pronation from causing injuries.
Running injuries can also be caused by impact forces. It is believed that the more impact force the lower leg experiences, the greater the stress on the foot/leg, which can lead to injuries. Running shoes, especially cushioning ones, can be used to combat this fear. Let’s take another look.
Wegener (2008) tested the Brooks Glycerin and Asics Gel-Nimbus to reduce plantar pressure. The shoes performed their task well, they found.
However, the pressure reduction was not uniform. Meaning that pressure reduction varied between forefoot/rearfoot/etc. It was then decided that shoes should be prescribed based on the plantar pressure of each person. This reduction in pressure was calculated based on the comparison of a tennis shoe to another shoe. This is not a good control. This study shows that running shoes with cushioning decrease peak pressure compared to tennis shoes.
Nigg (2000) concluded that the midsole of running shoes had a minimal effect on impact force peak external and internal. This indicates that cushioning does not alter impact forces in any significant way. How is this possible? It’s obvious that a shoe made of shoe foam is more resilient than a concrete surface. This question will be addressed in a moment.
It’s not as easy as it sounds. Scott (1990), conducted an interesting study that examined peak loads at the possible injury sites for runners (Achilles and knee). All peak loads were observed during push off and mid-stance. This resulted in the important discovery that the impact force at heel contact had no effect on peak forces seen at chronic injury sites. It led to speculations that the impact force was not related to injury development.
The impact force concept is further complicated by the fact that soft surfaces have no protection against injury when compared to hard surfaces. This is why? This is due to something called muscle tuning and pre-activation, which we will discuss below.
Other studies support this finding. They show that people with low peak impacts are at the same risk of being injured as those who have high peak impact forces (Nigg 1997). Impact seems to be the driving force behind increased bone density.
This should be obvious to you as a trainer or coach. If the stimulus is small and there is sufficient recovery, the bone will respond by becoming more resistant.
Let’s return to my earlier question: How can the impact forces not be changed based on shoe sole softness? Why doesn’t running on hard surfaces cause more injuries?
Problem is that we underestimate the human body. It’s amazing, and we don’t give it enough credit. If given the chance, the body will adapt to whatever surface it is going to hit. The body adapts to the surface and shoe by changing joint stiffness and the way that the foot strikes. This concept is called muscle tuning.
This can be illustrated by barefoot running. The shoe’s cushioning is negated by the decreased proprioception (sensory input) when barefoot.
Studies with minimal shoes/barefoot showed that the body adapts to the impact forces/landings based on feedback. The body uses a variety mechanisms to adjust for optimal protection and landing when running or jumping. The body will put a cushioned running shoe on your foot. It then says “Oh, okay, we don’t have to worry as much about impact, we’ve got this soft bit of junk on our feet.”
Muscle tuning is a concept that deserves to be discussed more. This concept was recently suggested by Nigg et al. In 2000. As I mentioned earlier, he sees impact force in the body as a source or signal of feedback. This information is then used by the body to adjust for soft tissue vibrations and bone vibration.
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He argues that the problem is not impact force, but the signal. These vibrations can be controlled by muscle tuning using a variety of techniques. Pre-activation is one possible mechanism. Pre-activation refers to activation of muscles before impact. It is used to tune the muscles in preparation for impact. Multiple EMG studies have shown that pre-activation can be achieved.
This is not just the impact of shoes, but also the surface type. The change in running surface didn’t impact injury rates, as we have already mentioned. Why? It’s because our bodies adapt to the running surface. O’Flynn (1996) conducted an interesting study that measured muscle activity and found that pre-activation varied depending on the surface. Pre-activation is necessary to prepare for impact and minimize bone/muscle vibration. Concrete pre-activation was high while soft tracks were low.
All of this is to say that the body adapts through sensory input. There are many adaptation methods. The shoe can influence how the body adapts. The shoe does not alter cushioning. It simply affects how the body reacts to impact.
If you think about it, it’s quite a mental leap. Summary: Changes in the type and material of a shoe do not affect the alignment of the lower legs or the cushioning. It alters sensory feedback, which can change the impact characteristics.
Let’s conclude with the cushioning concept. What are we trying to cushion here? In fact, injuries have not been linked to heel impact forces. One study found that low-impact runners suffered a 30% rate of injury compared to high-impact runners who sustained a 20% rate. Shoes’ midsoles don’t change or marginally alter impact forces. The shoes may not be fulfilling their purpose, and cushioning might not be the solution. What about the shoe cushioning studies that show improved cushioning due to their new midsole? The majority of the testing was done using a machine to simulate running’s impact forces. This means that while it might cushion the impact more, it doesn’t account for the body’s ability to adjust the impact based upon feedback.
Why does cushioning not work? Because the body adapts to feedback and feedforward information. These results prompted one notable researcher(Nigg,2000) to call for the reconsideration of the cushioning paradigm for running shoes.
Barefoot running is a quick and easy topic to cover. It is interesting to observe that barefoot running has a lower initial peak impact force than running in shoes. This means that the impact forces for shoes are (A) and (B) respectively. The initial impact force is that tiny blip in A. This initial impact force could be related to injuries, according to one hypothesis.
A recent study by Squadrone et al. Squadrone et al. (2009) compared running in Vibram Five Fingers, running in running shoes, and running barefoot. When running barefoot (or in Vibrams), they showed a reduction in impact forces, shorter ground contact, and a longer stride length. However, their stride frequency was higher than when running with shoes. This is not surprising, but it shows that running shoes can alter our normal strides.
One interesting thing is the decrease in stride length and increase in stride frequency. This is due to increased ground contact and frequency. Shoes encourage a longer stride. Changes in feedback signaling, greater likelihood of landing on heels stretched out, and increased weight all contribute to longer strides on the ground. It is interesting to see that elite runners have shorter ground contacts and higher frequencies, as demonstrated by the Daniels study which measured 180 steps per minute.
This is in line with the discussion about the body controlling things using sensory information. Running barefoot causes a greater degree of stiffness in your lower leg. An increase in stiffness can lead to a greater SSC (stretch-shortening cycle) response. This results in greater force for the push off (2001). Dalleau et al. Pre-activation that causes stiffening increased Running Economy. His study found that running’s energy costs were related to stiffness in the lower leg (1998)
A second study showed that the knee flexion torque, hip varus torque and knee varus torque were all significantly higher in shoes than barefoot. What does this all mean? This could potentially mean more strain on the joints. Jay Dicharry said it best:
Modern running shoes have soft materials that allow for a contact style you wouldn’t use barefoot. Unshoed, the foot doesn’t get the proprioceptive cues it used to. Although the foot is able to adjust to surfaces quickly, a midsole can affect the foot’s ability react to the ground. This can alter the feedback that your body receives while running. These factors enable runners to adopt a gait that produces the higher forces noted above.
Non-barefoot/heel strike supporters dismiss midfoot striking/barefootrunning by referring to the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is more burdened by midfoot-striking runners, which they are correct in saying. The Achilles is designed to carry a heavy load. We’ve made the Achilles weaker by wearing heels and high heels for years.
We’ve basically created an Achilles problem by making shoes that are not meant to stop it. The Achilles is designed in a rubber band-like fashion.. The Achilles can store approximately 35% of its kinetic energies and return it to the body (Ker 1987). The oxygen uptake would be 30%-40% greater without this elastic storage and return. Why is it important to reduce the tendonous contribution when trying to improve performance? It’s almost like giving away energy.
Running shoes don’t use the elastic storage or return as well as minimal shoes. Shoes are more energy-intensive than barefoot running (Alexander & Bennett, 1989). The arch of some shoes is prohibited from functioning as a spring. According to Ker, 1987, the arch of the foot can store approximately 17% of kinetic energie (Ker). These results are why running barefoot is more efficient than running with shoes. Numerous studies have demonstrated a decrease in VO2 when running barefoot, even when weight is considered. As I said above, this should not surprise. Without elastic recoil, the VO2 requirement is 30-40% greater. This system is more efficient when you run in a minimal shoe.
The bottom line is that shoes alter the natural mechanics of running to one that causes mechanical changes that are not optimal (decreased stride frequency and increased ground contact, decreased stiffness, decreased elastic contribution, decreased system stiffness, decreased rigidity, decreased structural integrity, decreased elastic response, etc.).
Elite athletes have greater turnover, less ground contact time and a lower foot strike when they are training and racing. These are the same characteristics that elite athletes exhibit while racing. It makes sense that this is the best way to run fast. Why then do we wear footwear that increases ground contact, decreases turnover and promotes footstrike away from the center of gravity? I don’t know.
Let me conclude by saying that I am not a fanatic urging everyone to get rid of shoes. You’ve probably been wearing shoes for at least 20 years. Your body has had to adapt over that period. If you want to reverse some of these changes, you will need to slowly change.
This article was not about the advantages of running barefoot. It was meant to highlight the issues with Running Shoe classification. They base it on a cushioning/pronation paradigm which is not as accurate as they would like us to believe. This paradigm must be reexamined. This paradigm is not based on sound science, but initial ideas that were logical but without any scientific backing. However, they may not be able to withstand further testing. Recent research found that the old-fashioned shoe classification system, which everyone uses, had very little impact on injury prevention in large numbers of Army Basic Training participants.