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4.07.2011

Shock at the Shoe Store

Shock Absorbers and Springs

We often think of the soles of our running shoes as shock absorbers.

A rigid foot hits the ground decelerating rapidly and the forces damage our feet and knees.  Injury being most likely on hard surfaces, so it stands to reason to get a shoe that decelerates us gently.

Let’s look at this from another view.  In your car it is the springs not the shock absorbers that keep you from being bounced around over the pot holes on your city street.  If your vehicle just had springs and no shock absorbers you would bounce up and down relentlessly after hitting the hole. Shocks dampen the vibrations

A foot needs elastic material to cushion impact on the ground, but it need not be shock absorbing to stop vibrations.  Vibrations of the foot against the ground is not a bad thing it is part of the way we maintain surface contact.  We use vibrations for sensory information from the soles of our feet not only to maintain surface contact, but manage gait mechanics.

If you dissect the heel pad from an amputated foot you would find that it its elastic spring like qualities would exceed similar tests of the heel cushioning of many running shoes.

Barefoot running is interesting and so is the fact that a lot of sports for a lot of years were played with just a little bit of elastic material under the feet.

Shoe cushioning should be examined carefully and well thought out.  Getting strong feet is a good thing especially for running and jumping.  The human dampening system has been made very well and this shouldn’t be shocking.

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