Do Good Running Shoes Really Increase Performance?
Any runner will tell you that running shoes are expensive.
The new brands, unique styles, and constant state-of-the-art technologies often drive prices up sky high.
As such, many people may find themselves asking the question, are more expensive running shoes actually worth it?
The short answer is, yes.
In this article, we will study the differences between premium and non-premium running shoes performance to show exactly why that is.
NIKE Vaporfly 4%
Lighter Shoes Lead to Better Energy Use
The idea that more expensive or higher-quality running shoes create better performance is backed up by numerous studied conducted on the subject. While it may seem like common sense to some, such claims are meaningless without data or statistics.
One such study on the subject comes from researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, who recruited 18 competitive runners and got them to complete 3,000 meter time trials in weighted shoes once a week for three straight weeks.
After looking at the data, they found that lighter shoes not only helped the participants run faster, but it also caused them to use less oxygen as well.
Running shoes performance
In this way, the research showed that lighter shoes are good for runners. Not only do they feel better, but they help save energy during a race. That energy is key because it allows your body to reallocate it to other areas. In the case of the above study, the subjects’ energy cost rose roughly 1 percent with every 3.5 extra ounces of weight added to their shoes.
That number is important because it shows that even 1 ounce can make a difference in how easy or hard it is to run.
You may not feel it, but your body sure will. That extra exertion will then slow you down. When looking for running shoes, it can be easy to trend towards heavier, more affordable ones. Because it doesn’t seem like a few ounces will matter, but the study shows they do.
The Importance of Lightweight Shoes
Going off the above data, you should always try to look for shoes that are going to increase your total energy. That will give you the ability to run harder and make your workouts much more efficient.
For example, a different study conducted in November of last year showed that specific shoes are able to save you so much energy that you can run much faster than you normally would. In this research, a group of Nike-funded scientists analyzed the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%.
While the shoe comes with a steep price tag. A series of lab experiments revealed that the model did help people run harder in both short and long distances.
As a result, the running shoes performance is another example. Of why getting the right shoe is important for people who want more speed.
Higher Quality Shoes for a Higher Quality Run
Energy efficiency and lightweight are both important when it comes to improving your running shoes’ performance. However, they are not the only things at play. There are many aspects that contribute to speed.
For example, you also need proper technique, cushion, and the correct support. Running with lackluster shoes is like trying to do a construction job with shoddy tools. It might work, but it won’t be as good as it could be.
The big reason proper shoes make you faster is that they are able to mold to your needs. Everybody runs differently, and those differences should be reflected in the shoe.
Getting a generic model with a few features does little to improve your runs because it is not adapted to your style.
For instance, a standard lightweight trainer is not going to give you the same amount of power or speed on trails as a well-cushioned support shoe. Nor will a heavy, highly-cushioned shoe give you the speed you want on a track.
One final advantage of using a proper shoe is that they come with the upgrades and features. That you need to take your running to the next level.
We live in an advanced world, and running shoes have greatly changed over time.
Stability, cushioning, support and app integration all matter. And all work to make sure you are as fast as you can be.
The Need for Speed
When it comes to running fast, there is no replacing quality.
It is easy to be skeptical that running shoes improve performance. However, there is ample scientific evidence to support that claim.
If you want to shave some time off of your runs, improve your races, or if you simply want to be quicker. Then looking into the proper shoes is definitely worth the time and money.
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Last update on 2019-12-20 PST - Details