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: Everything is Becoming Maximalist and Super
By Matthew Klein

In this week's Monday Shakeout, Matt discusses the latest trend in running shoes that we're seeing from companies. What happens when everything becomes a mini-super shoe? Matt provides an answer to a common question we get around training in super footwear.

For those who have followed us for a while, you may remember when the first maximalist and super shoes came to market. The original Hoka Bondi, Cliftons and Nike Vaporflys were drastically different from prior shoes on the market. With anything new, we cautioned those that certain shoe types may not provide the protections advertised (maximalist) and others should not be used all the time given their aggressive natures (Super Shoes). Our words of caution came from not knowing the impacts of using these shoes all the time and any potential risks, if any, that existed.

Changing Landscape

A reminder of this came as I started running in the On Cloudmonster Hyper, a new super trainer featuring a maximal stack height and a PEBAX midsole foam. I have used this shoe for everything from easy runs, to workouts, to long runs. In the past, I would not have started doing all my mileage in a shoe like this due to concerns of how drastically different it was from prior models and training shoes. Now, this type of shoe is fairly common and along with shoes like the ASICS Superblast, Adidas Boston 12, Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 and others are common in my daily rotation. 

The majority of running shoes on the market are now maximal or maximal leaning in stack height. Obviously there are still companies that create minimal or traditional stack-height shoes, but those are somewhat rare now. The majority of the most common training shoes: the ASICS Nimbus, Hoka Bondi, Saucony Triumph, Nike Vomero, Brooks Glycerin, New Balance 1080, On Cloudmonster and many more all have maximal stack heights, standing far taller than prior models. The majority of running shoes on the market also either feature new-age EVA mixes, TPU or a PEBA foam.

A Super Trainer Market

More and more training and uptempo shoes are using PEBA/PEBAX super foams, making them less different than the new super shoes we used to through so much caution to regarding training in them full time. So should we still be so cautious about them?

Our biggest concerns came from the drastic differences between super shoes and older trainers and the difficulty transitioning between them. Now that they are becoming more similar, there may be fewer concerns about which model you are using and instead the focus should probably be spending time working on muscles or joint mobility that may not be used as much in these shoe types.

At the end of the day, shoes are tools. You should probably use these tools for their intended purpose. Some people will be able to use those tools for their own unique needs, including training (especially if that is the only shoe they can run in and stay healthy). Our thoughts still stand on super racing shoes. They are stiff, aggressive, bouncy, often unstable, and really meant for faster and longer efforts. While some people do great running all their miles in them, that is not their intended purpose. If doing so allows you to continue running and you cannot do so in other shoes, then by all means, train in them full-time. Just be aware that that is not what they were designed for.

There are now far more options that have some of those features while still being meant for training, including the ASICS Superblast, On Cloudmonster Hyper, Saucony Kinvara Pro, Adidas Boston 12, Mizuno Wave Rebellion Flash, etc. So with the options available now, we still suggest super shoes be used as training tools. Use them for your faster runs. Use them during race prep efforts, especially long runs in order to prepare your body to tolerate them during longer races. However, we advise that you get the majority of your miles in a training shoe that works for you. That training shoe may be a super trainer, but at least it was designed for those paces. At the end of the day, you know your body best and thanks to human variability, different things work for different people. 


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What is Drop and Why It Doesn't Always Matter
The Science of Sole Width
Challenges with Large Toe Spring
Phases of the Swing Gait
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The Best Shoes of 2023 for Highly Specific Reasons
Andrea's Favorite Shoes of 2023
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Matt's Favorite Shoes of 2023
My Favorite Flat Feet Shoes of 2023
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How Forefoot Rockers Help Toe Mobility
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Why Heel Bevels are Natural
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Shoe Rotations for Different Runners
Strength Training to Prevent Injury - A Case Study
On the Impacts of Different Stacked Shoes
The Importance of Heel Bevels in Shoe Design
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Why is Proprioception Important to Runners?
Best Running Movie Scenes of All-Time, Part 2
Best Running Movie Scenes of All-Time, Part 1
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Reflections on Saucony's Running Economy Study
Sustainable is Only Going to Work if It's Good
A Simple Guide to Footwear and Foot Health
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How Long Do Shoes Last?


*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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Do We Adapt to Shoes, or Do They Adapt to Us

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