I worked in the running shoe business, placing thousands of people in shoes, giving advice... in 3+ years or retail hell. 29 Marathons are in my background, with a 3:26 personal best in 26.2 miles, in bad wornout shoes no less. If I knew what I know now, I might have hit a sub 3 hour marathon.
Just a few thoughts on this. I stepped away from running shoes that have medial, ( inside stiff support ) for correcting my medium pronation, after many many thousands of miles of running. Why? One, as this kind of shoe breaks down, it does so on the softer outside, causing a runner to eventually supinate, forcing the foot to endure high stress on the less substantial side of the foot. Mechanical efficiency is reduced, and injuries increase. In long distance running, this will cost you. Fortunately this is a gradual thing. Bad thing, is getting that new pair of shoes. Your body has gotten used to the gradual shift. Sudden changes can really mess you up!
Many people, ( me in the past ) will run a shoe well past retirement. Now I have boxes and boxes of free shoes given to me by vendors. No problem anymore, and I retired the marathon event, I think.
Supinaters, and there are more out there than is talked about, must stick to a neutral shoe and generally, they will tear them up on the outside.
What to do? My personal choice is the Asics Kensei. It lasts, for me at least, 3 times the life of a cheaper shoe. The format of design, captures the foot, keeping it for the most part, on an efficient strike and power off mode. I have the older, heavier generation shoes, but the Missus has the latest, much lighter ones. She pronated with one foot, and supinated with the other. This shoe stopped that cold.
NOTE: Many neutral shoes have an arch put in! Why? Generally neutral type feet have an arch. A high arch sometimes needs an arch supplement to keep the arch from flexing downward too much. Flat footed runners, will sometimes find the arch that is put in, most uncomfortable!
Great Ball of Foot Fire notes. I watched this back to Cave Man running craze flare up like a Rocky Mountain Forest Fire. People who always used a heal strike, --Kensei shoes are designed for this-- would leap for anything that said that it is better to do... ( I found simple, but tough training to does wonders, but who wants that? ) Results that I saw, well, quite a few were seeing a doctor. Type A personalities would trash themselves. You must transition gradually, to this kind of running, unless you always ran like this. Track runners do. And long distance runners? Patience is a virtue...
A podiatrist that I know, smiled at me once, and said he LOVED this new trend in running. Hint hint. If you can swing this style, great, good for you, you Olympian person you. Generally per Marathons, us MORTALS are content with using, punishing the entire foot. Again, marathon elites can and do use this technique generally, but running a 2:12 Marathon is not something that most of can do or have the time to train for. Good genetics help too! Looking first hand, around me, at many 3 to 4 hour marathon runners, I don't recall seeing many popping the ball of the foot at mile 18 or so. Sprint to the end, yes. Even me.
And NO, I got out of that business and do not work for Asics. Non Asics choice? Brooks Glycerin. Have some, hard to wear out, but one foot pronates a bit too much, making my knee hurt. In fact, my knees need tinder loving care now. LOL! Another choice? NIKE makes the the Lunar Glide and many customers had problems go away with this unique shoe.
Finally, I am a glorious 2.5 years away from the biz and write now. My take in general was that the manufactures were leaning towards shoes like the Lunar Glide or Kensei, but capitalizing like crazy on the barefoot like running.
Best wishes! Hope this helps.
21st June, 2013 @ 11:52 a.m. (California Time)