Athletic runners are looking for ways in which to improve their running economy, decreasing their times – hence running faster!
Running economy and Vo2 max?
Running economy is described by Sinclair et al.2016, as a reflection of oxygen required to maintain running velocity. Vo2 max is a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilise during exercise.
There have been significant studies that showcase running economy as a superior predictor in distance runners than its counterpart VO2 Max. Therefore, improving the running economy is of significant interest to the running population.
Running shoe design to help run faster
Footwear has been implicated in improving the running economy of the athlete, and commercially available footwear has been manufactured in such a way as to improve the running economy. Footwear characteristics such as:
- Midsole cushioning
- Rearfoot control
- Midsole longitudinal stiffness
- Midsole viscoelasticity
- … can all impact VO2 Max.
Interested in more about footwear – check out our footwear section
A hypothesis outlined in Frederick et al. 1986, is that different types of athletic footwear significantly affect VO2 Max. As a runner, it is important to know how your muscles, heart and lungs effectively use oxygen (VO2Max) at an optimum rate.
Sinclair et al. 2016, provide valuable information describing the influence of commercially available footwear, claimed to increase energy return on the economy of running. On the basis that decreased VO2 and RER (respiratory exchange ratio) were observed when running in footwear which aims to increase energy return, the study suggests that innovations in footwear may be associated with increases in runner performance. Sinclair et al. 2016, suggest that runners interested in performance may wish to select energy return footwear over more conventional shoe models.
Lower energy cost = run faster
Therefore, specific footwear can make you run faster, it is important to pick the right ones. The recommended shoes that lower the energy cost of a runner are:
- Nike Zoom Vaporfly (Carbon)
- Nike Alpha Fly
- Saucony Endorphin Racer 2
- Asics Metaspeed
- HOKA Bondi *
Rocker shoes *
The idea behind rocker soles is to propel the foot and ankle through the gait cycle in order to maintain forward momentum and reduce time spent in closed chain kinetic movement, such as a HOKA.
Yes the right trainers can make you run faster
- providing the runner with better running economy through footwear that propels the athlete further
- reducing time spent in the ‘heel-strike’ phase of the gait cycle.
Can gait analysis help me run faster?
The advanced technology in our gait analysis software (Run3D) critically evaluates all aspects of your running gait and musculoskeletal function with the same precision and rigour that is usually reserved for the sporting elite. Once we have identified your biomechanical issues, we can deliver data-driven advice for addressing them and improving performance.
The principal of marginal gains is based on making small incremental improvements, which result in significant advances when they are added together. Book now below:
- Andrew J.M. Boulton, Edward B. Jude; Therapeutic Footwear in Diabetes: The good, the bad, and the ugly?. Diabetes Care 1 July 2004; 27 (7): 1832–1833. https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.27.7.1832
- Barton, C.J., Bonanno, D. & Menz, H.B. Development and evaluation of a tool for the assessment of footwear characteristics. J Foot Ankle Res 2, 10 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1186/1757-1146-2-10
- Frederick, E. C., E. T. Howley, and S. K. Powers. n.d. “Lower Oxygen Demands of Running in Soft-Soled Shoes.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 57 (2): 174-177. https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.1986.10762196.
- Jay Worobets, John William Wannop, Elias Tomaras & Darren Stefanyshyn (2014) Softer and more resilient running shoe cushioning properties enhance running economy, Footwear Science, 6:3, 147-153, DOI: 10.1080/19424280.2014.918184
- Prado, M.P., Saito, G.H. (2019). Sports Footwear: Problems and Advances. In: Rocha Piedade, S., Imhoff, A., Clatworthy, M., Cohen, M., Espregueira-Mendes, J. (eds) The Sports Medicine Physician. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-10433-7_41
- Rome, K., Frecklington, M., Mcnair, P., Gow, P. and Dalbeth, N. (2011), Footwear characteristics and factors influencing footwear choice in patients with gout. Arthritis Care Res, 63: 1599-1604. https://doi.org/10.1002/acr.20582
- Sinclair, J., R. McGrath, O. Brook, P. J. Taylor, and S. Dillon. 2016. “Influence of footwear designed to boost energy return on running economy in comparison to a conventional running shoe.” Journal of Sports Science 34 (11): 1094-1098. 10.1080/02640414.2015.1088961.