Trainers. Minefield

13 messages
03/07/2012 at 13:27

I've been running for a few years now and have had one or two good pairs of trainers in the past but am in the market for a new pair and finding it very frustrating. 

 I went out and bought half a dozen pairs or different types/makes and have been trying them out and am disappointed with all of them. 

What I *think* I've discovered: All this talk of air and gel in the heel to absorb shock is a bit more psychology/marketing than science. This is 2012 and materials must exist that provide the same absorbtion without all the gimmickry.

Further, the volumes of gel provided in trainers seems to be the same whether the trainer is a size 6 or a size 14. I can't help thinking that someone who is a size six and nine and a half stone (like me) is going to have requirements quite different to someone who's a size 14 weighing 20 stone. Why then the same thickness of gel whatever the size of the shoe (in the makes I examined)? 

Why do trainers make no mention of the body weight they are most suited to? Or is that irrelevant?

One more thing. I took a knife to a brand new pair of Asics and cut the gel open. Guess what?! It's 2-3 mm deep, that's it. This seems to support my theory that gel is more for show than for actual runner benefit. It's stuck on to the outside of the shoe so a few extra quid can be added to the price.

 Somebody tell me I'm nuts and I've got this all wrong! 

03/07/2012 at 14:07

I will say that you're nuts - and that you must have more money than you know what to do with, and a lot of time on your hands!

 

03/07/2012 at 14:14

you're nuts and you've got it all wrongc 

the science behind running shoes is pretty complex as are the materials used.  you can't just cut one open and deduce the characteristics of how the shoe will work in practice or how it's wrong for certain weights   you'd need to talk to the designers/manufacturers to get the full lowdown on the whys and wherefores.

body weight can be misleading - I'm a 16stone heelstriker so look for shoes suited to me.  but I've seen 16stone forefoot strikers who would need something very different to what I use.  and I'm sure there are 16stone barefoot runners.

shoes are meant to appeal to a range of wearers so there will always be compromises made otherwise we'd all be looking at custom made ones which would be impossible on the manufacturing front based on volumes needed.

so, you're not wrong - but you're not right either!!

03/07/2012 at 15:33

 Wilkie, I didn't go out and buy a whole load of trainers because I lack occupation. I'm just trying to get trainers that are kind to my old and dodgy heels. 

fat buddha, I have no doubt there's considerable science driving improvements in footwear. But the gimmicks are what shift products off the shelf.  I accept your point about running style and to some extent that's taken into account: trainers are advertised / reviewed as suiting overpronators or underpronators. It wouldn't take a great deal more to disclose, for example, the optimal weight range the manufacturer recommends.

"you can't just cut one open and deduce the characteristics of how the shoe will work in practice" 

True. My surgical exploration wasn't so much to unravel any esoteric facts about the science behind the construction, it was to confirm my suspicion that the gel was more cosmetic than functional. I have the same suspicions about air cushioning i.e. not that it's useless but that it exists more for the marketing mileage. The same effect could highly likely be achieved just modifying the materials used to provide an effect equivalent to that provided by trapped air (and it would probably be cheaper too).

BTW, I don't claim expertise in shoes, but I used to own my own heel bar and was in shoe repairs for many years ...so I do know a little bit. I've even built shoes from scratch for the occasional pensioner who couldn't wear off the shelf products.

04/07/2012 at 10:26
John Doe 20 wrote (see)

Why do trainers make no mention of the body weight they are most suited to? 

For whatever reason that information does not seem to be well publicised - maybe to prevent reducing sales of shoes to people who would otherwise happily buy the 'wrong' shoe for their weight range? For Asics at least though, that information is available indirectly if you use their 'shoe advisor':

http://www.asics.co.uk/running/shoe_advisor/

04/07/2012 at 10:45

Thanks, Ballasteros. That's useful. If they publicised those recommended weights for each model (instead of some of the other marketing fluff they put in their descriptions) it would be a lot more useful to consumers. 

 Once again, many thanks for the link.

04/07/2012 at 11:35

The shoe advisor on the Asics website is good - and it's now more comprehensive than it used to be.  

When I put my data in it gave me 2 final options - Nimbus for road, Trabuco for off-road - precisely what I currently wear....  

04/07/2012 at 12:35
I was going to say asics it does change depending on what you put in the weight sections.
04/07/2012 at 12:46

"I was going to say asics it does change depending on what you put in the weight sections" 

Yes. One caveat: For those over 13 stone there is no fine tuning so you'll get the same recommendations whether you're 13 stone or 20 stone. 

But it worked for me. I took their recommendation and bought a Cumulus 14 just now which I have tried on a short run. I am wearing them now.

I must admit they do feel very good and the gel is responsive to my low weight. I won't take a scalpel to the gel on this pair but it's obvious from looking at it that the (translucent) gel is more than a couple of mm thick (though whether they really needed "gel" to get that level of response is debatable). Suffice that it works. Thanks for the suggestion.

 

04/07/2012 at 13:52
John Doe 20 wrote (see)

"I was going to say asics it does change depending on what you put in the weight sections" 

Yes. One caveat: For those over 13 stone there is no fine tuning so you'll get the same recommendations whether you're 13 stone or 20 stone. 

 

as I said (slightly differently) - how much fine tuning do you want??  if Asics could knock out zilions of shoes fine tuned to everyone's needs, then they wouldn't be able to cope with the demand as it's not sustainable.  they have to produce shoes that work within a small range and I guess most people bar the odd few of us (on a distribution curve) over 13 stone are regular road runners so they draw the line at that weight.   

enjoy the Cumulus

WiB
04/07/2012 at 14:48


fat buddha wrote (see)

The shoe advisor on the Asics website is good - and it's now more comprehensive than it used to be.  

When I put my data in it gave me 2 final options - Nimbus for road, Trabuco for off-road - precisely what I currently wear....  

I get 0 matches... and they are correct. I don't wear Asics

WiB
04/07/2012 at 17:18

Damn - I get 0 matches and I wear Asics. Time for a bit of surgery on my 1160s. Pass me the knife JD20.

04/07/2012 at 17:42

I over-pronate on my right foot and appear to have zero matches since dropping below 11 stone, I'd better sort my gait out or put some weight back on .

I'm not sure when they revamped their website since the shoe advisor is not the same as I remember using before, but it seems that the Trabuco 14 and DS Trainer 17 have both disappeared off of the UK site despite being current models. 


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