Saturday, August 12

Is there embarrassment all round at Reebok?

No, they probably haven't even noticed.

Their super-duper, full-color, fold out, three-page advertisment for shoes designed for heel-strikers is illustrated by a fantastic picture of an athlete -- blatantly NOT a heel-striker.

The ad is in September's Runner's World magazine and is for their new "breakthrough" shoe the Trinity KFS...."the shoe that moves with you". Yeah, right.

This shoe is so special, apparently, because it incoporates the absolute latest technology that "manages the forces of impact" and is designed to "follow the foot through" heel impact, mid-foot stabilisation and toe off. my foot doesn't land on the heel first. Neither do the feet of any elite runner I have ever watched.

The running shoe industry is obesessed with heel strike, as it is with "over-pronation", because they are problems that sell shoes. Reebok, like all the other manufacturers, keeps quiet about the fact that 90% of elite runners are midfoot/forefoot strikers, while 90% of slow runners are heel strikers. Wouldn't the industry better serve its customers by preaching proper biomechanics, gait and form?

Heel striking is braking. It's what you do when you want to slow down. Heel striking is biomechanically inefficient and leads to injury. Especially when shoes are padded so much that they allow runners to (temporarily) get away with heel striking with locked knees.

There should be red faces at Reebok. The runner in full flight bursting across their advert is about to land... and one thing's for sure: she is not landing on her heel!

Tucked away in RW is an advert for Velocy, a shoe brand actually designed to encourage runners to run "with gravity" and get off their heels. This shoe is not included in the issue's fall show review, despite the fact that it is the only genuine breakthrough we've seen all year.

I went to the Velocy website and got suitably excited. "Conventional footwear technologies focus on the heel. That's why virtually every major running shoe company focuses on 'cushioning' and 'shock absorption'. But what if heel technologies are not the answer? What if gravity is actually a friend and not a foe?" Yes Velocy! Thank you! At last.

Velocy are so new they are still finding their way to stores and are not even available on the Net yet. So instead of buying a pair unseen and untried, I found an application to be a Wear Tester. VP Angela Talbott told me today that they're appointing me one of their testers for the month. I should get the shoes in the next two weeks. Can't wait! Check 'em out on the Velocy website.


Anonymous said...

So have you tried the shoes what did/do you think?

Simon said...

Yep, tried and not all that impressed. I am in the middle of writing the feedback report for Velocy and will post it when complete.

Meanwhile, I just met a guy called Danny Abshire, who has developed some new shoes that are very promising. They're due out early next year. Danny has a retail outlet - Active Imprints: