Thursday, January 27, 2011

Runner's World Out of Touch?

Runner's World's Spring Running Guide features the usual assortment of expensive, heavy, big heel to toe drop motion control, stability,and "performance training" shoes. Nothing weighing much less than about 9 oz and no shoes with what would consider Low heel to toe drop, less than 6mm, that I could see. A small addition is included in the print edition about more minimal shoes.

Seems to me the main line running press or at least RW is out of touch with the revolution in running that less can be more for many runners, even the recreational joggers and beginners RW targets. I often see the same assortments reviewed pushed in even very good running specialty stores.

Is it because most more minimal shoes are less than $100? Overall inertia of big companies? To much invested in dollars and brand messages in motion control technologies? The editors have been pushing "categories" based on foot type for so long?

What do you think?


Stephen said...

I tend to be an optimist, but I think they'll come around eventually. Just in the past few months both running magazines I subscribe to (World and Times) have done "what's this barefoot thing all about" articles, and the performance trainer category is a small step in the right direction. I think progress is being made, although it's slow.

In a way though I'm kind of glad that they're taking it slow adopting the minimalist attitude, because in my opinion it can be a little dangerous if applied inappropriately. There are lots of people out there who will jump blindly into whatever RW says, and I can foresee a rash of injuries coming from people doing too much too fast. Same thing Nike saw when they first introduced the Free. Thankfully I think companies (in particular NB and Merrell) are putting more emphasis on education and making sure that warnings and guides are available to help people transition to minimalist.
If the media takes it slow, I hope (there's the optimist cropping up again) that it'll help runners take it slow as well. I myself caught the minimalist bug slowly, going from stability to performance trainer to VFFs. And there's plenty of information out there in places like your blog and others that can help minimalist newbies.

On a side note, I think there's probably some truth to your implication that big companies and ad dollars have a lot of inertia, and I hope that as things like the NB Minimus, Saucony Hattori, and others become popular that this is less of an issue.

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks for your comment. I agree that going straight to near or total barefoot is not wise for most. I don't plan on VFF and such any time soon especially on the road. I do think RW and such should provide reviews of the "bridges" to more natural running which I am finding is as much about the heel toe drop as how minimal the shoe is. So for example why no review of the Kinvara, Brooks Silence, Adidas Rockets, and others similar in a bridge category. For my part I run in a mix of Saucony Kinvaras (medium tempo), Adidas Rockets (speed and short tempo) Golite Flash Lite zero drop trail runners, Newtons (fast longer tempo) and for long runs and recovery trail and road Hoka One One Mafates which have a 4mm drop yet also about 2" of very light cushy foam and a rocker sole which gets me on my mid foot without pain or gymnastics.