A faster shoe


Über Member
East Sussex
I just found a stiffer sole gave me no foot pain, my old soles flexed a lot and after a long ride my feet just hurt.

I found a carbon soled shoe super cheap as they were ex display and the pain wwent away, also they were crazy comfortable.

Ajax Bay

East Devon
couldn't they just limit the sole thickness to 5mm? Just enough to protect your feet basically. I don't know much about running
As you admit: "I don't know much about running". For distances on road, you need more than 5mm, but 40mm is totally unnecessary from a cushioning or protection PoV (that limit was set for high jumpers and the IAAF did not think through the implications and possible design developments).
but facts speak for themselves,
And now someone wants to argue the effect of faster shoes?
There's no 'argument': they are faster in use - "facts speak for themselves". The question is whether they should be allowed in competition (and of course that's the whole point of their raison d'etre).
I'm guessing here but I suspect you "don't know much about running" or want to know (which is fine).

Here are my daughter's, which she uses for a marathon after and hour's swim and 113 miles on the bike (4:42).
A sports scientist's take: https://sportsscientists.com/2020/02/running-shoe-tech-the-emperors-clothes-and-the-issues-for-the-integrity-of-running/
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Iron pony
Once soles are stiff enough to resist YOUR bending force, making them stiffer adds no advantage. They may benefit some other rider with more power who can generate more force.
The greatest improvement in 'performance' I ever had, as measured by the very scientific method of Strava segments and time round my usual route, was when I bought some better cycling shoes which fit me properly. This was when I used to belt it round a specific route fairly regularly, my times were falling bit by bit, then I got the shoes and the results were instantaneous.

Alas I don't have time these days for playing silly buggers on Strava.


Über Member
Hmm, this whole Nike thing worries me:

Physics says, a spring is a device for storing energy, and then releasing it later.
It cannot release more energy than is put into it, any more than you can pour more water out of a bucket than was put into it.
Indeed, with any real world spring system there will be some frictional losses, so you will always get out of the spring a little less energy than you put into it.
In the Nike shoe the energy is coming from the runner and nowhere else, so the shoe cannot give back more energy than the runner puts into it.
Now, it may be that there is some fundamental inefficiency in the way barefoot humans transfer power to the ground, and that these shoes somehow correct that by shifting around the timing of energy outputs. (The analogy here would be oval chainrings on a bike, but the advantage of those is not exactly on a firmly proven basis.)
But I think that would be (a) unlikely, and (b) quite hard to prove conclusively. I therefore leave open a little bit of room for doubt on that score.
But not much. Against that idea is the fact that professional level running shoes have always been as light as possible. Really not much more than protection from abrasion. That’s how Nike started. It’s only the amateurs who get sold the thick ‘shock absorbing’ foam soles -until recently!
To these observations I would add that this being a human system, factors like accommodation (you learn to work best with what you’re used to), and placebo (any change can inspire you to do better, if you are convinced it’s a good one.)
So on the whole, as far as the Nike’s go, colour me sceptical.
I’d even go so far as to take a similar position on stiff soles in cycling. The more you stiffen the foot, the more you ‘lock out’ muscles in the foot -and the complex system of levers they operate and transfer leg power through. Again, I’m open to a modicum of doubt on this one, but no avalanche of anecdote is going to shift my underlying scepticism that stiff shoes offer anything other than a placebo effect.

(It may not surprise readers of the above to know that I walk and ride a lot barefoot, or in the thinnest and most flexible soles -3mm max.)


Senior Member
You said that since 2010 the dots have fallen beneath the prediction line. Firstly, it's not a prediction line, it's a regression line, and secondly there's another variable been introduced. It's perfectly possible that an undoped rider in 2010-16 will have been faster than an undoped rider in 2000-2010. We don't have the data.

You're right about applying it to regular cyclists though, the graph clearly relates to elite athletes and isn't really relevant to a 40yo fat dad.
Right, it doesn't apply to most people at all whether fat or not, dad or a cad, it doesn't matter, and it really doesn't matter to elite pro racers either because the speed gains are NOT there after all the expensive technology promising to do so.
Don't listen to such BS, you can have all the lightest wind cheating stuff you can possibly buy and you're speed won't improve, all that crap is nonsense generated by the cycling industry to goad rich people into parting with their money in the attempt to gain speed. I saw this same crap happen years ago in the golfing world, and knew a guy who bought into the hype of fancy scientific words of the how the clubs were made and how extreme testing proved it, and on and on and on about golf clubs that cost $2,000 EACH! he got the entire set!! so I asked him about 3 months after he bought them if his game was better, his response was: "Shut up Froze! those damn clubs didn't nothing for my game!" And now they're wanting us to buy the speed hype in cycling because cycling is the new corporate golf, and rich people without much brains are cycling.

I can hear a lot of you screaming at me so how can I prove to you that it's all hype....hmmmmmmm, oh I know, let's look at the history of the world's longest bicycle race, the TDF, and see what history says. Please read: http://stats.areppim.com/stats/stats_tourdefrance_vitesse.htm. At first glance it appears that the speeds keep ramping up, however you need to interpret the chart better, let me explain. If you look at 1974 the line intersects at 35 km per hr, however in 2016 they continue to draw the line upward but in reality since 2010 the little dots show the speeds have actually dropped where the predicted line is, so in 2016 the average speed was 40 km per hr; so for the last 42 years we've only seen a 5 km per hour, or 3 miles per hour, so from non aerodynamic steel bikes to fancy aero CF bike that's the speed increase we get? Actually the picture gets worse because if you look at the dots they were doing 35 km per hour as far back as 1956!! But wait I'm not done having my fun with all of this, for you see since 1956 to now the average distance of the race has been reduced by 700 miles; so in 1958 the total distance was 2,795 miles over 22 days, in 2016 the race was 2,193 miles over 21 days, the race between those two years was actually reduced by 700 miles, but look at the average miles per day raced, in 1956 they raced an average of 127 miles, rounded down, per day, but in 2016 the average miles raced per day was 104, rounded down. This should tell you all that the only reason speed has gone up by a tiny amount of 3 miles per hour over the last 60 years is due to the race being easier in terms of miles, those 700 less miles allows the cyclists to have more energy in reserve and that's why the speeds have gone up, not all the fancy and expensive aero crap.

I know you all are going to deny this information I showed, but facts speak for themselves, and the emperor's new expensive fancy clothes that everyone in his circle said was so nice and he looked so good wearing them, have been reviewed to be no clothes at all.

And now someone wants to argue the effect of faster shoes? LMAO!!! or faster anything for that matter!
Some great points here, and I get that some of it being related to selling new equipment at increased costs may certainly be the case.

However, as with anything in pretty much every walk of life, gradual improvements in technology are there to help achieve more.

How can you say that more aerodynamic clothing/bikes are not quicker? If you were to wear a big old coat and a pair of jeans you certainly would not be as efficient/fast as if you were wearing tight fitting resistance reducing clothing. Aerodynamics in cars improve efficiency, what you may drive today proves this and we see it everyday in sport as well, cycling is no different. I am pretty certain that if you were on a lightweight aerodynamic bike, with tight fitting lightweight clothing you would be faster over the same bit of road at the same distance than if you were on a loaded up touring bike from 1970 with your rain mac and Wellington boots.

The analogy with the TdF is pretty good, but does it take into account the different routes, including road surfaces, mountains etc? I'm sure that this must play a difference but may not be represented in the results over the years?

Randy Butternubs

Über Member
As you admit: "I don't know much about running". For distances on road, you need more than 5mm, but 40mm is totally unnecessary from a cushioning or protection PoV (that limit was set for high jumpers and the IAAF did not think through the implications and possible design developments).
I mean, the Tarahumara do it. Barefoot/minimal shoe running is a fairly big thing, and for the vast majority of human history a shoe sole has been, at best, a slab of leather. Clearly humans are capable of running without modern high tech fat-soled shoes, you just might no go as fast or as far.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't use such things, or that they shouldn't use magic Nike spring shoes. I'm just saying that all modern running shoes are performance enhancers so it's silly for anyone to complain about the purity of the sport or whatever. The limit of what is "fair" to wear is purely down to competition rules.


Kilometre nibbler
Running seems to be a way behind cycling in this respect. Cycling has long been wrestling with the question of technology vs human endeavour, witness Desgrange's insistence on fixed wheels early on, the outlawing of recumbents in the 1930s, Obree's battles with the UCI, the "athlete's hour", the Lugano Charter etc etc. This fancy shoe is a feeble attempt by athletics to get in on cycling's act.

btw, the TdF isn't one big time trial. So average speeds over the whole race are of questionable value. It's first over the line for most stages, so it's not about being fast, it's just about being faster than the other guy. Many stages the peloton is just idling with one eye on the break.
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