It wasn’t too long ago that many of us were running to the Houston malls in search of toning shoes that could supposedly tighten our thighs, abs and glutes as we walked, letting us get in shape without putting in time at the gym. For those of you who thought these ‘miracle’ shoes were too good to be true, you were right! Turns out that very few people actually got toned wearing those shoes. In fact, many people suffered serious injuries while wearing these shoes, including joint and tendon injuries and ankle sprains and fractures.
Now another supposed miracle shoe is coming out of the U.K. This shoe’s claim to fame is that it uses miniaturized pocket springs—like those you would find in your mattress— to absorb the shock of a runner's foot hitting the ground.
Developed by researchers at the University of Central Lancashire, the shoe is still in the experimental stage, and is now on display at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London.
If the shoe actually lives up to the hype, it could prove to be a huge help for runners, marathoners and triathlon advocates. According to Jim Richards, the lead researcher behind the new shoe, more than 70% of recreational runners suffer an injury in any given year, despite the constant roll-out of new and improved running shoes.
Why are runners so prone to injury? When your foot hits solid ground, shock waves travel up your leg, often triggering injuries like shin splints (pain in the lower leg), runner's knee (inflammation of the knee) or stress fractures (tiny fractures, most often felt in the shin bone).
For many years now, running shoes have been fitted with shock-absorbing cushions to try to prevent such injuries. But the researchers behind the new shoe felt runners needed something more.
With that goal in mind, researchers teamed up with Harrison Spinks, a mattress manufacturer, to develop a lightweight micro-spring that could fit into the sole of a sneaker, giving runners an increased uplift as their feet pound the pavement.
For now, only visitors at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition will be able to try out the shoe, as it will not be available to the public for quite some time.
The question is, should you rush out to buy these shoes when they do hit the market? You might want to save your money, says Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider. If injuries are keeping you from running or performing other recreational activities, a fancy new sneaker is unlikely to solve your problem. Instead, schedule an appointment at our Tanglewood Foot Specialists office today, so we can find a permanent solution to your problems instead of a trendy, temporary fix.