The triathlon race sea­son’s reach­ing its con­clu­sion, which means one thing – in­creased run mileage. James Witts tests 10 of the best cush­ioned run­ners

220 Triathlon Magazine - - CONTENTS -

How do you find the cor­rect run shoe for you? It sounds sim­ple, but with a labyrinth of jar­gon out there, the re­al­ity can prove trick­ier than find­ing your tran­si­tion space at the Lon­don Triathlon. For ex­am­ple, should you choose sup­port­ive or mo­tion control? When is heel cush­ion­ing more favourable to fore­foot cush­ion­ing?

Run shoe man­u­fac­tur­ers might some­times be lib­eral with claimed in­jury-pre­ven­tion ad­van­tages, but as time passes and in­jury stats are stud­ied, there’s an in­creas­ing ar­gu­ment that run shoe choice should largely be about what feels the most nat­u­ral and com­fort­able. Some run-shop ex­perts might dis­agree, their video tech­nol­ogy a tool of per­sua­sion, but use this as a start­ing point and you won’t go far wrong. It’s a point picked up on by coach An­nie Em­mer­son.

“It’s per­sonal pref­er­ence, but with­out a doubt you need to go with what­ever works for you,” says Em­mer­son. “I’m not into chang­ing too much in terms of biome­chan­ics. In­stead, work with what you have and make sub­tle changes along the way. For in­stance, I wear a neu­tral shoe, but if I’m rack­ing up the miles in train­ing, I’ll buy an off-the-peg in­ner-sole with a bit of arch sup­port to pre­vent sore Achilles. Ul­ti­mately, there are too many shoes that are rigid and heavy. Yes, some triath­letes will need more sup­port and cush­ion­ing, but that doesn’t mean the shoe has to be re­stric­tive.”

With An­nie’s wis­dom in mind, see which of th­ese 10 best fits your per­sonal tem­plate.

How we tested

Your off-sea­son will likely be filled with long, low-to-medium in­ten­sity runs to crank up aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity and trans­form you into a fat-burn­ing ma­chine, though your mus­cu­lar and neu­ro­log­i­cal sys­tems will also ap­pre­ci­ate a few in­ter­vals to not only keep speed tick­ing over but add much-needed va­ri­ety, too. That’s why our test runs were be­tween 30min fartlek ses­sions and 75min easy(ish) runs. Com­fort rat­ings were based on ini­tial fit and how opin­ions changed – or not – on the fly. Sta­bil­ity was key, too. There’s no point in hav­ing a com­fort­able shoe if, when you run, your foot’s shift­ing around. Fi­nally, we weighed each with Sal­ter scales.

Mid­sole Heel counter Out­sole In­sole Up­per A rigid or semi-rigid sec­tion in the heel area of the shoe, de­signed for sta­bil­ity and foot control.Nestling be­tween the in­sole and the out­sole, the mid­sole’s where man­u­fac­tur­ers place cush­ion­ing and sta­bil­ity tech­nolo­gies. The bed that your foot rests on. You can buy heat-moulded ver­sions that can ad­just to your foot shape and gait.The sec­tion that cov­ers the top of your foot. A pro­fi­cient up­per of­fers sup­port, breatha­bil­ity and enough flex­i­bil­ity to work with your foot, not against it.The base of the shoe in con­tact with the ground. Its rub­ber com­po­si­tion pro­vides dura­bil­ity, en­ergy re­bound and grip.

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