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#6 Conclusion and End of Debate

 

Sixth publication of a series of six on a debate on running shoes, held at Université de Lausanne in Switzerland. See our first publication of this series for the rules of the debate.

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

 

Question 6 of 6: Conclusion Here are the conclusions reached by our panel members along with our trick questions (just to fuel the debate :) ).

 

Boris Gojanovic, Chief Medical Officer – Swiss Olympic Medical Center, Haute École Fédérale du Sport de Macolin.

  • Shoe model he runs with: Brooks Green Silence – 66% TRC rating (now)… Mizuno Wave Rider – 53% TRC rating (before)
  • His position: I take the time to establish patients’ sports history with them. Shoes seldom play a pivotal role, as opposed to training, rest, the variety of terrains, realistic objectives, etc. The decision to switch to minimalism often comes from patients who want to try it. In such cases, I will support them in their decision to try it, inform them of the need for adaptation, and ensure follow-up.
  • Our trick question: You mentioned being rather for the use of minimalist shoes and yet you say that it is up to your patients to make such a decision. What would you say if a beginner who didn’t know anything in this matter came up and asked you the following question: I’m going to buy a pair of running shoes at New Concept Sports, any recommendations?

 

  Eric Haefelin, ASICS Swiss Representative.

  • Shoe model he runs with: ASICS Gel GT 2000 – 56% TRC rating
  • His position: The “best” stride is that which comes from runners themselves based on who they are as athletes, the body knows what’s best…
  • Our trick question: ASICS is a company that totals yearly profits of hundreds of millions of dollars. A portion of which goes back to research and development. In spite of that, no study is being carried out that would justify all of the new technologies promoted and sold, at a very high cost (in the hope that they end up preventing injuries). Is ASICS doing its job extremely poorly or extremely well?

 

  Davide Malatesta, PhD, Responsible for Research and Education at ISSUL.

  • Shoe model he runs with: Adidas Adizero Mana – 62% TRC rating (now)… Adidas Response – 52% TRC rating (before)
  • His position: The selection of a running shoe depends on how the shoe feels when running and on foot comfort during training. My advice is to opt for lighter shoes as much as possible.
  • Our trick question: Is a longer contact time really associated with better running economy? Is heel striking (vs. forefoot striking) really associated with better running economy?

 

  Grégoire Millet, PhD, Professor of Sports Physiology, Director of ISSUL.

  • Shoe model he runs with: Asics Trabuco – 52% TRC rating
  • His position: Very little concrete evidence allows recommending minimalism which comes with a proven high risk of injury during the maximalism-minimalism transition phase. Select your shoes by trial and error, based on the feel. Rather light with a low drop. It is paramount not to focus on the shoe per se, but rather on improving your biomechanics/running technique (frequency, plantar pressures...) if you wish to minimize injury.
  • Our trick question: You mentioned being rather in favor of lighter shoes with a low drop. What do you think of the Hoka One One (4 mm drop and light… but rather maximalist). Should stack and flexibility be minimized as well so as not to interfere with biomechanics? (Be careful, if you say yes, you will become an advocate for minimalism :) )

 

  Laurent Paonessa, Co-Owner – New Concept Sports, Specialized Shoe Consultant.

  • Shoe model he runs with: Mizuno Sayonara – 63% TRC rating (road)… Dynafit Feline – 56% TRC rating (trail)
  • His position: Running enthusiasts should visit any passionate and knowledgeable supplier shop, to test a bunch of shoes: based on the shape of the feet, stride, favorite terrain, and the usual training load, they only will FEEL what’s best for them at that moment...
  • Our trick question: You mentioned being rather in favor of minimalism and referred to knowledgeable suppliers and shops. Will New Concept Sports join our listing of specialized shoe stores with an evidence-based practice? (It’s free :) )… and, if such is not the case, why is that so?

 

  Blaise Dubois, Physical Therapist.

  • Shoe model he runs with: Inov8 – 72% TRC rating (now)… Adidas Response – 55% TRC rating (before)
  • His position: For financial reasons, shoe companies recycle trendy concepts or wallow in a frenzy race to develop marketable technologies, without any actual validation, to save money. Marketing departments have much more power and money than do research and development departments, which end up being used solely for materials... nothing substantial in terms of research that can help injury prevention, yet indirectly promoted in that sense anyways. Real changes in practice will come from informed consumers enlightened by retailers and professionals who can take a step back from commercial influences and rely on unbiased scientists who perform actual research on running shoes.
  • Our trick question: Why were you running with such bulky shoes 13 years ago?

 

In conclusion of this series of six posts: We would like to thank everyone who took part in this debate and who will also play a major role in tomorrow’s changes. We would also like to thank the panel members as well as moderators Gabriel Messmer and Jacques Wullschleger. Finally, we would like to thank the organizers of the event, EVALEO Sustainable Health and UNIL.

 

How about you, any trick questions for The Running Clinic? Let us know your comments!