Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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The Monday Shakeout: Unique Things Brands are Doing that We're Excited About
By Bach Pham

In this week's shakeout, Bach explores some niche things running brands have started doing that could be a big benefit for all runners. Each Monday we share a new shakeout piece on things that have been on our mind. Send us ideas at today and you might see your idea in our next shakeout!

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Shopping for shoes is already complicated. There are over hundreds of models to choose from, and that's just from the major running shoe brands. There's daily trainers, workout shoes, racing shoes, trail shoes, and divisions inbetween all of them to fit various needs. If shoe shopping were easy, we obviously wouldn't need to exist as a website!

Some brands, especially those on the more specialty side, are starting to offer some great strategies we'd love to see expand. Inov-8 for instance, a brand that particularly specializes in trail footwear but also dabbles in the road, has been employing a fit scale which ranks shoes and their width on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the most narrow and 5 their widest. Inov-8 isn't a brand that is as commonly seen in stores, which makes the fit scale particularly helpful for thinking about how a shoe might fit the runner ahead of purchase. There are certainly nuances to consider like what does the brand consider to be wide (wide from a runner's perspective vs. width from their overall selection), but it does offer an initial way for a consumer to decide if a shoe would fit their needs. It would be great to see this expanded even further so you can see the whole spectrum on one page.

Karhu is a lesser known, but older than many, running shoe brand out of Finland. One of the cool things they've done is offer HIVO options for some of their shoes. Instead of just focusing on width, HIVO allows runners to have an option for higher volume shoes - a critical area that gets severely underappreciated as an option in the shoe industry. 

Zen Running is a new company born out of the pandemic that focuses on crafting the most environmentally-friendly design without sacrificing performance. Their ZR-01 and ZR-S are their first two models, featuring a high stacked, plant-based design. The unique thing about these two are that they are essentially the same shoe, except the ZR-S provides a more rigid heel counter for structure vs. the ZR-01 which has no heel counter. This could be a great thing for runners who have haglund's deformity, sensitive heels, or want a more supportive heel.

Another newer shoe company, Atreyu, recently started adding expected durability of their shoes based on experiences of their runners and feedback from the community. While we know that is a complicated matter for many reasons, this is still valuable information for runners who are interested in being able to spend their money wisely. Shoes are major expenses today, and having all the information on hand to help make a decision can be very helpful. Atreyu put fairly reasonable estimates on their website, which is appreciated greatly and follows along their history of transparency well.

The last interesting project we've seen a brand begin is with the largest company on our list today: Brooks Running. Their ReStart program offers runners the ability to purchase gently used Brooks running shoes that have been returned to their stores. This is not only aimed at reducing waste, but also giving runners a chance to purchase some heavily discounted shoes in (hopefully) very good condition. Discounts are as much as 40% in some instances for brand new pairs of shoes from the Ghost to the Cascadia. There is surely a big amount of investment required to run a program like this, but it is a great idea to help bring runners in affordably which is such a big plus today when shoes are only getting more and more pricey.

What innovations would you like to see running companies share, either from this list or other ideas? Share these ideas with us at today.


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*Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

Ultraspire Fitted Race Belt: The best way to carry your phone and goods on the run. No bounce and various sizes for waist. (Also recommend the Naked belt)
Saysky Running Gear: We were really taken aback by this Scandinavian company's ultra-thin, durable performance clothing
Skratch Recovery, Coffee Flavor: Mental and physical boost post run. Coffee flavor is excellent and goes great straight into a fresh brewed cup
goodr Sunglases: Run in style with goodr's super fun sunglasses.
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Water Bottle: Perfect for long runs when you need hydration in the summer
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!
Fractel Hats: Our team's wider fitting running hat of choice!


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Why Heel Bevels are Natural

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