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Running shoes, like many other things in life, running shoes are a very personal choice. There aren't many broad generalizations we can make about which shoe is "the best" for any specific person, but that very idea keeps people interested and open-minded about the changes we see in the sports footwear market.
We must first consider the past ten years and the patterns that brought us to this point in order to comprehend the most recent trends in running footwear. Let's start by considering the idea of minimalist or barefoot running and how it relates to the maximalism that is the current trend.
Innovations in Running Shoe Tech
Performance running shoes are now lighter, more dynamic, and more resilient thanks to advancements in foams, rubbers, construction, textiles, and other essential running shoe components. The goal of all of this cutting-edge running shoe technology is to improve the running experience while lowering the chance of injury.
No component of the running shoe has seen more technological advancement in recent years than the midsole. And this is even with shoe manufacturers undoubtedly introducing compelling innovations in outsoles (the part of the shoe that touches the ground) and upper materials that offer improved breathability, reduced friction, and improved support.
The most significant change is the development of new foams with improved energy return and reduced weight. When combined with midsole stabilizing elements like a carbon plate that can channel the foam's energy, runners can go faster for less out-of-pocket expense in the last three to four years, which is why world records have been broken.
A tiny carbon-fiber plate is sewn into the midsole foam of carbon-plated running shoes. Upon toe-off, the carbon-fiber plate acts as a springboard in conjunction with the foam to drive the wearer forward. When that momentum is paired with velocity, runners enjoy greater efficiency in their running and hence achieve better times. And in a sport like this, where every second matters, it's only natural to look for every edge you can get. That's why you'll see plenty of people wearing carbon-plated shoes at any given event; these "super shoes" are just so popular among runners.
New Tech to Prevent Injuries
The impact of running footwear on injury risk was investigated in a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training in October 2020, and the results were inconclusive. The heel-to-toe drop, midsole thickness, minimalism index, innersole thickness, mass, midsole hardness, stability elements, shoe age, and usage are only some of the footwear features that have been investigated. Every runner is unique, which makes it difficult to draw a connection between a single factor and an injury.
When a runner's training load exceeds their body's capacity to adapt and heal, overuse injuries can occur. The rate of construction or the adoption of a new shoe model without making the necessary adjustments could have a greater impact than the shoes themselves. Furthermore, it is crucial to do personal evaluations of the fit and comfort of a new pair of shoes.
Maximalist Design Philosophy
A fascinating counter-movement known as “maximalism” emerged from the ashes of minimalism. Maximalism maintains minimal shoes' lower drop characteristics while thickening the cushioning stacks to almost ridiculous heights.
The top brand in the maximalist footwear category, Hoka One One, introduced the idea in 2009.
Due to their distinctive design cues, comfort-focused ride quality, and, most notably, the aforementioned high-stack midsoles present throughout the entire fleet, this brand has produced several iconic models, including the Clifton, Bondi, and Speedgoat, that have since become household names and topic of conversation.
The firm rocker sole, which greatly lowers the flexibility of the shoe's forefoot section and combines it with a prominent toe spring curve for a smooth, rolling toe-off, is another distinctive element present in many maximalist shoes. Because it lessens the amount of extension and flexion of the toe joints, unlike most conventional running shoes, this design can also be advantageous for people who experience discomfort and a considerable decrease in mobility of the toe joints owing to disorders like arthritis and bunions.
What to look for in a pair of high-tech running shoes
Never buy running shoes with looks as your main priority; doing so will result in poorly fitted shoes and an uncomfortable run. Determine the width of your feet and buy shoes that offer plenty of room in the toe box.
You'll also want some thick cushioning at the shoe's ankle collar to protect your Achilles tendon from wear and tear and to keep your foot from sliding around in there while you run.
Cushion the impact
It's crucial to strike a balance between the shoe's cushioning, stability, and how much of the ground you can feel. During jogging, the excessive heel cushioning of some shoes can feel unbalanced.
They work best when you have proper running form, so it can be helpful to sacrifice some comfort for a more stable and responsive ride.
Heel-toe drop and general shape
Again, this varies greatly from shoe to shoe, as does the distance between the heel and the ball of your foot.
You should try on the shoe and run a few steps in it, even if it's just inside, to get a feel for how it feels. Some people's running strides might be drastically altered by particularly extreme designs; therefore, it's important to get it properly.
A More Natural Design
The next phase of running shoe development will focus less on changes to the cushioning levels and more on adaptations to the fit profile as the maximalist movement continues to gain momentum and we look toward the future of running footwear. Runners may now make more educated decisions about the footwear they use, thanks to the proliferation of online resources.
Brands like Altra and Topo Athletic are pioneering the next big thing in running shoes with designs that are more anatomically correct and healthier for the feet than the conventional pointy toe boxes. These companies have hit their stride in recent years with industry-defining innovations that are shifting how we think about shoes.
Technologies Used in Smart Shoes
Smart shoes are here to provide customers with customized input on a wide range of variables, including athletic performance, fitness, and health. Attempts are underway to improve the convenience, health, and comfort of conventional footwear by incorporating cutting-edge technology into their design. Insoles of smart shoes are Bluetooth accessories that relay data about the wearer's activities or location to a corresponding mobile app.
The Future of Smart Shoes
There could be a lot of cool new features in the next generation of smart shoes and insoles. For instance, athletes would benefit from, and coaching would be improved by real-time feedback during workouts and training. Another topic is 3D-printed, performance-data-driven footwear. It's possible that in the near future, smart materials will be used to allow the sole and cushioning to adjust to environmental conditions dynamically. Lastly, recommendations for better health and well-being may be derived from combining shoe data with other health and fitness information gathered from digital records and other smart devices.
Despite the fact that the market for smart shoes is still developing, many brands have already introduced models equipped with sophisticated tracking technology.
Lucky Feet Shoes is up to date with the latest running shoe technology. If you're looking for an innovative model, we can help you get it from our wide catalog.
Fuller JT, Bellenger CR, Thewlis D, Tsiros MD, Buckley JD. The effect of footwear on running performance and running economy in distance runners. Sports Med. 2015 Mar;45(3):411-22. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0283-6. PMID: 25404508.