Kmag's footwear debate
On september 14th, there has been a major debate on running footwear, traditionnal vs. minimalist, organized by Kmag magazine at La Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal. The event has been a sold out success with its 300 seats but also has been the reflexion of the effervescence happening now in the world of running. 6 experts panelists, all professionals from different environments touching the running industry, took their turn to argue on their vision of the subject. Here's the debate in its entirety followed by another video with Blaise's introduction to this debate: http://vimeo.com/29351598 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YEaFivYohQ
Here are our comments and impressions following the debate.
What we already knew :
- Retailers sell shoes with the impression that they are "normal" and not so much "traditional" (absorbing, big, stiff, heavy, ...).
- The new trend tends to go wide on the definition of a minimalist shoe. If it wasn't for professionals prescriptions and popular trend, retailers would keep selling only traditional running footwear.
- Companies keep many scientific articles justifying their technologies, but they keep them "secret" and won't publish them because of corporate espionage...
- Let's imagine all the good information on traditional footwear that we don't know!
What we learnt :
- All 6 panelists aren't against minimalist footwear as long as their running profil goes along with the shoe. * Even Blaise will recommend a traditional shoe to a runner who is : 1) adapted to his/her shoe for a long time 2) is uninjured 3) doesn't want to improve his/her performances.
What we still don't know :
- All panelists seemed to agree that young children should go barefoot or in minimalist footwear. The question that hasn't been resolved is "at what age do they start to sell our children traditional footwear???
- What justifies that a beginner runner always gets to be offered traditional footwear when showing at a running shoe retailer?
Our conclusion :
False beliefs are so crystallized in our minds that scientific evidences are insufficient to change our practices and mentality. Everyone stops his/her path to his/her personal experience and convictions. This debate won't change the current pratice (corporate) but at the end, the smart informed shopper will decide of the industry's destiny.
Thanks to the panelists, organizers and moderator (Anne-Marie David, François Lecot, René Therrien, Kaireen Patton, Gilles Labre / Marianne Pelchat, Pierre Hamel / Yves Boisvert) The Running Clinic™ crew P.S. Let us know what you think, please leave comments!