The Comfort Filter Paradigm (part 2)

To read part 1 of this article, click here.


The comfort filter paradigm: not the missing piece of the puzzle


Today, we suggest a new paradigm that we believe is way more realistic than Dr Nigg's Comfort Filter Paradigm.


But just before, let's look at the facts:


  1. Running footwear evolved within the last decades with the aim of reducing injury incidence.
  2. Despite agreement among researchers regarding the non-preventative role of cushioning and motion control technologies, manufacturers keep promoting such concepts for one simple reason: they are easily understandable for consumers.
  3. The majority of modern maximalist shoes (approximately 90% of the current market shares) are similar in terms of characteristics (high cushioning and heel to toe drop, low flexibility, rigid heel counter, etc.)
  4. Despite the lack of research supporting such characteristics, several researchers don't challenge their usefulness. Please note that most researchers publishing on the topic of running shoes receive (or have received) or wish to receive monetary incentives from the running shoes industry; commercial bias is certainly part of sporting footwear research.
  5. Manufacturers, along with retailers and specialized magazines, keep promoting "technologies-enhanced" modern shoes to the running community.
  6. Consumers are highly influenced by running shoes marketing, and follow recommendations from retailers who promote the technologies paradox including cushioning and motion control devices.
  7. Available choices for consumers and even for retailers are still limited to modern running shoes characteristics (e.g. minimalist shoes for kids are extremely difficult to find).


Now, here's our new paradigm :


The pseudo forced-choice paradigm or the marketable fashion paradigm


runners spend their money on fashion products, marketed and promoted by companies aiming for profits, and recommended by retailers who believe that these shoes will help prevent injuries.


Detailed explanation


First and foremost, manufacturers conceive and sell products with the goal of making profit. They produce costly shoes to be recommended by retailers and magazines, who earn incentives by doing so. Runners seek for fashion shoes that provide them with a certain degree of comfort, and shoes for which they receive favorable recommendations from retailers. Furthermore, runners were educated from all sources (retailers, manufacturers, magazines and health professionals) since a number of years about the false belief that appropriate running shoes were more expensive and from well-known brands, included several technologies and were conceived to prevent injuries. The running shoes market currently offers a number of different models that include similar characteristics. These modern shoes have become the standard of running footwear since 30 years, although they don't decrease injury incidence and even negatively affect biomechanics and physiology. Runners have become so dependent on their modern shoes that they simply can't transition to more minimalist shoes without increasing their chances of getting injured. Therefore, confusion is responsible for false information that minimalist shoes are dangerous from spreading all over the running community...

Pretty realistic, isn't it?


Blaise Dubois