Our shoes are treated as much more than our clothes. This is natural because shoes are designed to resist impact and direct contact with concrete. Shoes are also made with more durable materials then clothes. However, shoes are made from more durable materials than clothes.
I’m not suggesting you make your shoes an altar or try to avoid grass, mud and scuffs every day. I suggest that you view your shoes as an investment. When you see them in this light, it is easier to take better care of them. For more details visit
A shoe-lover can talk about as many as a dozen parts of a pair of shoes, but we are only going to be talking about the sole, the outershell and the innershoe. It is possible to make your shoes last a lot longer and keep them looking great no matter what.
The sole is the part you walk on. It sustains daily damage. It absorbs the friction from concrete, the impact made by stairs, and the stabbing of stones and other sharp objects you use every day. To protect your feet, it is essential to maintain the soles on your shoes.
Your soles will start to wear over time. Your soles will start to lose their shape if they are not well-stitched or glued. Both of these problems are easily fixed and cost less than buying a new pair.
Athletic shoes don’t have much to do with rubber soles. These soles cannot be repaired and are not intended for use. It is possible to repair the soles for both women’s and men’s dress shoes (including high heels) by removing them. A shoe repair shop can often take only an hour to remove the old soles and install a new one. The cost usually ranges between 20-40$.
Checking the wear on your shoes and the quality of the stitching every two to three months will help you catch any damage before it becomes serious. This could make the difference of buying new shoes every 18-months or every 3 year. This will save you hundreds of Dollars per year. It is even better if you have large shoes collection.
The outside of your footwear is what everyone notices and by which you are judged. Here’s the key: Remove any scratches, replace the laces, and polish them.
The weather and shoe contact with the surface are what cause most of the damage to non-athletic shoes. These are the key points to keep in mind.
You can wipe your shoes down several times a week. This will protect your shoes from being permanently stained by the elements and make it easier to see scratches or scuffs.
Spray leather, nubucks, felt and suede with a protectant spray. Be aware that the color can change. You may need to test the application on a small portion of the back of your shoe before applying it everywhere. Protectant is available for canvas, leather and other materials. But animal materials take the most damage from water.
Shine your shoes at minimum once a month. You don’t have to use a specific color shoe polish, you can simply use neutral polish. It is important to polish your shoes by applying a generous amount of polish, then buffing them to a high gloss. A good brush or cloth is necessary to apply the polish. Then, a strong towel should be used for buffing.
If your shoes are scuffed or have deep scratches, take them to a cobbler. It depends on the extent of the damage. If it is not noticeable, you can take the shoes to a cobbler.
The inside of your shoe is probably the area you are most conscious of. But many people don’t pay much attention to it unless they have something in there. These are some simple ways to keep feet dry, comfortable, and clean.
Rotate your footwear – This applies for all parts of the shoe. However the more you wear one pair of shoes, they are more likely to sustain damage. Shoes that are worn less often will last longer.
To maintain the shape of your shoe, you can use shoe trees (cedar works best). This is a must if moisture builds up in your shoes. You’re less likely than others to get athletes’ foot if the shoes are kept dry.
I recently toss 5 pairs of shoes, which I have had for about 2-6years. Some of them were sneakers that I used a lot, others were trainers that I loved and a few that I neglected to care for. It was painful to realize that while I really liked these shoes, I hadn’t been careful enough to take care of them.
This article will help if you have shoes you wish to keep or want to save some money. You can keep your favorite shoes looking great for years by giving them some TLC and taking preventive measures.
It’s not as simple as running barefoot, or minimalism versus running sneakers. It goes deeper than this. It’s more than just about shoe companies being evil and trying to make profits. The shoe companies may be meeting their goals, but it’s possible they are not achieving what they want. The problem is in the paradigm on which running shoes are built.
Running shoes are built around two core premises: pronation, and impact forces. Their goals are straightforward: limit impact forces, prevent overprontation. This has created a classification system with motion control and stability. The problem is that the system may lack any basis. Did we spend 40+years focusing on wrong things?
Let me begin with the dreaded statistic that 33-56% runner get hurt every year (Bruggerman (2007). It is amazing to think about. Because there are so many injuries, let’s now see what shoes are supposed be doing.
Shoes are built on the principle that pronation, impact forces, and pronation cause injuries. Running is a nightmare if you are a pronator. We are inundated daily with motion control shoes, which limit pronation.
The main idea behind pronation, which is overpronating can cause rotation of the lower legs (i.e. Overpronation can cause rotation of the lower leg(i.e. ankle,tibia or knee), which puts stress on the joints and leads to injuries. Running shoes are made to prevent this pronation. Running shoes, by design, are meant to bring the body into “proper” alignment. But do we really require proper alignment?
This paradigm regarding pronation relies upon two main aspects: (1) excess pronation results in injuries and (2) running sneakers can alter pronation.
Many studies do not prove a connection between injury and pronation, as we can see from the first premise. Wen, et.al. He discovered that runners running marathons had a lower risk factor than they thought. Wen, et.al. He concluded in a prospective study (1998) that minor differences in lower extremity alignment did not prove to be a major risk factor for runners suffering from overuse injuries. Similar conclusions have been drawn from other studies. Nigg and his colleagues. One by Nigg et.al.
If foot movement/pronation cannot predict injuries and is not a risk factor to injuries, then it’s time to question if the concept is sound.
Consider the second point. Do shoes affect pronation? Shoes that are motion controlled can be used to reduce pronation. Most people choose to insert an insole or similar device. Stacoff (2001), conducted a study and found that motion control shoes did not alter pronation. They also did not affect the kinematics, tibia and calcaneus bone kinematics.
Butler (2007), in a second study, found that cushioning shoes and motion control footwear had no effect on peak pronation. Dixon (2007) came up with similar results. The motion control shoes did no reduce peak pronation or eversion and they didn’t alter the concentration pressure.
This is sort-of a double win for motion control sneakers. The motion control shoes do not alter pronation in any way, so excessive pronation is not a cause of injury.
Running injuries also include running injuries that are caused by impact forces. As you can see, the greater force applied to the lower leg by running, the greater amount of stress the foot/leg experiences. This could possibly lead to injuries. To overcome this fear, runners shoes, especially those with cushioning, are the best option. Let’s take one look.
Wegener (2008a) tried out the Brooks Glycerin, and Asics Gel-Nimbus to see if it reduced plantar stress. They were pleased to report that the shoes did what they were supposed to.
However, there were many variables in where pressure was reduced. Meaning that pressure reduction varied between forefoot/rearfoot/etc. The interesting result was that there should be a shift from prescribing shoes based upon the individual’s plantar pressure. This pressure reduction was based on comparison to a tennis-shoe. This seems like a poor control. This study shows that cushioned tennis shoes can reduce peak pressure.
Nigg (2000) discovered that the midsoles of running shoes did not have any effect on the impact force peaks. This indicates that cushioning is not able to alter impact force peaks in any significant manner. But how could this be? It’s not hard to see that the shoe surface will be softer if you jump on concrete than on a foamy shoe-like surface. This is a question we’ll be returning to in a minute.
It isn’t as easy as you might think. Scott (1990), a fascinating study, examined peak loads at possible injury spots for runners (Achilles or knee, etc.). All peak loads occurred during push off and midstance. This discovery led to the important conclusion that “the heel contact impact force had no effect upon the peak force at the chronic injuries sites” and led to speculations about injury development.
It is also important to note that, when you look at the injury rates of runners who run on both hard and soft surfaces, it appears there is no protection benefit to running on soft surfaces. Why is that? Because of something called “pre-activation” and “muscle tuning”, which will be discussed further below.
These data are supported by studies showing that people who experience low peak impacts have the same chance of being hurt as those who experience high peak impacts (Nigg and Associates, 1997). For those who want to complicate things, impact appears as the driving force of increased bone density.
This is important for trainers and coaches. The stimulus can cause the bone to become more resistant, but only if it isn’t too strong and there is enough recovery.
To answer the question above: How can impact factors not change based purely on shoe sole softness? Also, why don’t runners running on hard surface cause more injuries
Unfortunately, we underestimate our bodies! It is an incredible thing and we do not give it the credit it merits. If given the opportunity, the body will adapt itself to the surface on which it will strike. The body adapts itself to the surface and shoes by changing the joint stiffness, the way your foot strikes, as well as muscle tuning.
You can see this in barefoot racing. Wearing a shoe reduces proprioception (sensory response) and negates cushioning.
Studies that used minimal shoes or barefoot have shown that your body adapts to impact forces and landing based upon feedback and feedforward data. It adapts to the impact forces and landing from jumps. The body can take in sensory info as well as previous experiences. Imagine putting a cushioned running shoes on your foot. The body then responds saying, “Oh, we’re fine, we don’t have to worry about impact as often, we have this soft piece junk on ourfoot.”
Muscle tuning is an important concept that deserves further attention. Nigg et al. just recently proposed the concept. It was introduced in 2000. As I explained earlier, he perceives impact force to be a signal. The body then interprets this information and adjusts accordingly in order to minimize bone vibration and soft tissue vibration.
His argument is that signal and not impact force are the problems. These vibrations are controlled by muscle tuning, which can be done via many methods. Pre-activation may be one mechanism. Pre-activation is the activation of the muscles before impact. In this instance, it is used for muscle tuning to prepare the body for impact. It can also alter muscle stiffness which is another way to prepare to impact. Multiple EMG studies were conducted to establish pre-activation.
Not only do shoes have an impact on this, but so does the surface. The injury rate did not change with the running surface, as previously mentioned. Why? The body adapts to running on any surface. O’Flynn (1996) conducted an interesting study on muscle activity that found that surface affects pre-activation. To reduce bone/muscle vibration and prepare for impacts, concrete preactivation was higher than soft tracks.
It is important to understand that the body adapts via sensory input. There are several adaptation methods. It adapts according to the shoes it wears. The shoe does nothing to alter cushioning. Instead, it alters the body’s response to impact.
This can make a big mental leap. Here’s the summary: It isn’t because the shoe or its material has an effect on your alignment, nor because it changes the cushioning. Instead, it alters sensory feedback which changes its impact characteristics.
This concludes the discussion on the cushioning idea. But what are you trying to cushion? It has been shown that heels impact forces are not related to injuries. In fact a study of low impact runners showed a 30% injury rate, while high impact runners had an injury rate of 20%. Even though shoe midsoles can change, or slightly alter impact forces, they do not affect their effectiveness. Also, shoes may not be providing the right cushioning, or even the best possible solution. Did you know that shoe cushioning studies have shown an improvement in cushioning when using a new midsole? You can simulate the impact forces of running by testing the shoe’s cushioning with a machine. That is, while the machine might be able to absorb more impact, it doesn’t account the body’s ability to adjust its impact using feedback.
What’s the reason cushioning isn’t effective? Because the body adapts based upon feedback and feedforward. These results prompted one notable researcher(Nigg,2000) to call for the reconsideration of the cushioning paradigm for running shoes.
The topic of barefoot racing is worth a mention. A striking fact about barefoot running is the absence of the initial peak force compared to running with footwear. This is a sign that the impact force for shoes looks like (A), and for barefoot, (B). The initial impact power is measured as a small blip in the A. One hypothesis suggests that this initial force may be due to injuries.
A recent study by Squadrone et al. Squadrone et.al.(2009) compared running with shoes, barefoot and Vibram Five Fingers. The results showed that running barefoot or in Vibrams had less impact, shorter ground contact, longer stride lengths and higher stride frequency than running with shoes. This is not unusual, but it does indicate that running shoes can affect our normal strides.
A fascinating point is the decrease of stride length and rise in stride frequency. The increased frequency and contact time with the ground causes shoes to promote a longer stride. This is due to feedback signals, increased chances to land on heels stretched out and weight increases, which all lead to longer time on the ground. It’s striking to note elite runners all have low ground contacts. They also have high frequencies as evidenced by the Daniels study that measured 180 strides per min.
This is in keeping with the discussion above regarding the body controlling things based off sensory information. A higher degree of stiffness can be seen in the lower legs when running barefoot. Increased stiffness can cause a stronger push off due to increased SSC (stretch reducing cycle). Dalleau et al. Research by Dalleau et al. demonstrated that running economy was enhanced when stiffness is increased prior to activation. His study showed that stiffness of the lower legs was directly related to energy consumption.
A recent study also found that the knee flexion, knee varus torque, as well as hip internal rotation torque were all significantly higher for shoes than for barefoot. What does this all translate to? This could possibly mean more stress to the joints in this region. Jay Dicharry described it well when he said, “This could mean more stress on the joints in this area.”
“Modern running shoes offer a contact style that is not possible with barefoot. The foot does not receive the proprioceptive signals it receives if it isn’t shod. Although the foot adjusts to surfaces naturally, a midsole could impair the ability of the foot to react to the surface. This can impair the body’s ability for feedback to be received while running. These factors allow runners adopt a gait to cause the above-mentioned elevated forces.
Non-barefoot/heel strike proponents dismiss midfoot striking/barefootrunning with the Achilles tendon. They claim that the Achilles tendon is more strained in midfoot striking runners. The Achilles is built to support a significant load. However, years of wearing heels and shoes have made it more vulnerable.
We’ve created the Achilles problem using the shoes designed to stop it. The Achilles was designed to be operated in a rubber band fashion.. The Achilles can store 35% to 40% of its kinetic energy. (Ker. 1987). Without elastic storage and returns, oxygen uptake would be between 30-40% higher. Therefore, performance-wise, why reduce the tendonous effect? It’s akin to giving away your energy.
Running shoes do no utilize the elastic storage system and return as well barefoot or minimal footwear. Shoes lose more energy than running barefoot (Alexander und Bennett, 1989). Some models of shoes prohibit the arch from acting as a spring. The arch of your foot can store around 17% energy (Ker. 1987). These findings are clear and it is no surprise that running barefoot can be more efficient than running in shoes. Numerous studies show that barefoot running results in lower VO2 levels, even when weight and other factors are taken into consideration. As I already mentioned, without elastic recoil, VO2 would be 30%-40% higher. This allows for better utilization.
The conclusion is that shoes have a negative impact on natural mechanics, resulting in a change that makes it harder to run fast (lower stride frequency, increased ground contact and stiffness of your system), and thereby reducing the ability to run quickly.
The elite athletes are more likely to exhibit higher turnover when racing or training. Their foot strikes are usually under their center. These same characteristics are evident in the racing of elite athletes, making it easy to believe that this is how you should run fast. So, why is it that we are wearing footwear that promotes footstrike, increases ground contact and decreases turnover? I don’t know.
Let me be clear, I’m not saying everyone should get rid of shoes. Your feet have probably been in shoes for 20+years. Your body had to adapt during this time. If you want some of those changes to be reversed, then you have to change slowly.
This article wasn’t about the benefits to running barefoot. This article was written to show the problems associated with Running Shoe classification. It is based in a pronation/buffering paradigm that is not as true. It needs to be reevaluated. It isn’t based in good science. Rather, it was founded on initial ideas that had no scientific basis but may not have stood up to testing. A recent study revealed that the use of the same shoe classification system everyone uses had little effect on injury prevention for a large group Army Basic Training participants.