Super-cushioned running shoes have little effect on stride, according to a study.

July 25, 2022

A recent study published in the Journal of Biomechanics, however, finds no proof that these impacts alter your stride or cause your leg muscles to exhaust more quickly.

About the Study

Twenty seasoned runners who participated in four separate sessions of treadmill running in three different pairs of shoes and barefoot were the subjects of the study. In addition to employing force-measuring plates on the treadmill, their mobility was evaluated using 3D motion capture technology.

Running barefoot resulted in participants' feet compressing their longitudinal arches by a significant amount, while wearing shoes with heavy midsole cushioning had no effect on this compression. Therefore, increasing the sole thickness of a running shoe is unlikely to produce leg stiffness, which would alter your gait.

Running Shoe Selection

This information does not imply that you can choose any pair of running shoes. According to Idalis Velazquez, CPT, a Beachbody trainer and former professional track and field athlete, running shoes typically have more midsole foot support, which relieves pressure on the toes, heels, and ankles during a run. However, if you're just starting out, heavy cushioning may not be the best choice, she adds. Try shoes with a neutral description instead, which suggests they have a medium level of cushioning. As you develop a sense for running, you can later switch to more or less cushioning.

In either case, trying on shoes might give you a better indication of how comfortable they are overall, particularly if they feel shaky or unstable. Feeling unsteady typically indicates that your feet aren't being properly supported by your midsole.

Top Running Tips

Regardless of the shoes you decide on, it's crucial to maintain a constant stride. However, there are additional factors to take into account, particularly if you're a beginner, to help you run more successfully. According to AmyMorris, an RRCA-certified running coach and director of personal training at CrossTown Fitness in Chicago, it is best to start a run slowly and gradually pick up the pace as you go.

Morris advises varying workouts with activities like tempo runs, hill workouts, and long runs if you've been training long enough to establish a basic level of fitness. Even track speed exercises and practicing your race pace are essential components of training. She adds that switching up your workouts will help you improve your running technique and stay motivated. Working with a professional running coach, if one is available, can be beneficial as well because the coach can evaluate your stride and determine whether or not your overly cushioned running shoes are actually helping you, as well as provide feedback, motivation, and accountability.

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