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#2 Debate on running shoes


Today, we continue with our 2nd publication of a series of six on a debate on running shoes held at Université de Lausanne in Switzerland.


Rules of the debate: Blaise would answer any question in 5 minutes and panel members, who had seen the slides beforehand, would present their counterarguments.

Moderators: Gabriel Messmer, Jacques Wullschleger.

Panel members (counterarguments): Boris Gojanovic, Eric Haefelin, Davide Malatesta, Grégoire Millet, Laurent Paonessa.


Question 2 of 6: Running shoes: definition and state of knowledge (minimalism vs. maximalism, value of integrated technologies)


TRC Position: Pronation control technologies are useless. Shoe absorption does not reduce stress on the skeletal system. As we move toward the minimalist end of the spectrum, the likelihood is that there will be less stress applied to the knees, hips, and the back, while there will be more stress applied to the Achilles tendon and the foot. Conversely, the reverse is true for maximalist running shoes. There is no technology out there promoted by shoe companies that actually reduces the incidence of injury We operate in an industry where marketing prevails over clinical judgment or scientific research. Business research and development departments only go for what catches the eye... and, most importantly, there is no clinical study that can support the use of the technologies that are being proposed every year by shoe companies. We have developed a way to make the concept behind running shoes simpler by determining “where each shoe model stands in terms of minimalism or maximalism” (in relation with “the probability that a specific shoe impacts running kinetics and kinematics”). To that extent, we have built a formula based on specific characteristics (TRC rating/minimalist index).  



  • Eric Haefelin (ASICS representative): Running shoes have evolved. Motion control has been left behind. Everybody knows we cannot control movement…
  • Blaise replies: This debate is a non-issue, I agree… but why all these technologies then?
  • Grégoire Millet: Whether you wear minimalist or maximalist running shoes, regular biomechanics tend to switch into protection mode over the course of an ultra-trail event (e.g., preservation through a higher cadence).
  • Question from the audience: Why do shoes have drops?
  • Answer provided by Eric Haefelin (ASICS representative): We work on shoes that feature a drop ranging from 6 to 13 mm to make the motion of running easier on recreational runners…
  • Blaise adds: …which is unfounded and bears no value…


Next week, question 3 of 6: Running shoes and injury prevention: What is the basis for our recommendations?