Running shoes

" Previous one

By Dr. Stefano Casali

4. The antishock inserts and the general consumption of the shoe

Another important innovation introduced since the 1980s but developed and consolidated over the following decades is the widespread diffusion of shock-absorbing training shoes, which are usually positioned, with obviously different thicknesses, in the footwear midsole both in the anterior part under the metatarsal line that in the posterior one, in this case in the zone under the heel.

The task of these structures is simple and at the same time very important, and consists of a filtering and shock-absorbing action very important for the safeguarding of the articular and muscle-tendon structures that the athlete uses during training. There are many types of antishock systems, in practice each house relies on a different technology a little for technical choice a little, probably, for commercial needs. Faced with so much choice, the athlete can initially be displaced but, usually, by experimenting with various footwear, he is directed towards that system which seems to guarantee him better performance and optimal comfort. Whatever the choice of the athlete it is important to make a valid consideration for all the systems: the damping power of these structures decreases with the number of kilometers traveled or hours of use, and in this case a periodic check is of fundamental importance general up of the shoe and possibly replace it, regardless of the outward appearance. But how long can the shock-absorbing unit mounted on a running shoe last ? According to the laboratories that produce the empty hexagonal cell system adopted by a German company, it maintains 90% of the damping power for about 1000 km of normal use (running): these values ​​could show however significant variations if we went to consider the use of the shoe in different types of training such as exercises that involve leaps and repeated runs at a fast pace. The average life of a training shoe for athletes who train on the bottom a minimum of three times a week does not exceed six months and this fact makes us think about how much they should take this aspect into consideration and what inconveniences they would encounter when training with a shoe "download". In a parallelism we could imagine traveling on a car with the shock absorbers discharged: the problems we would encounter would be to the detriment of road holding and comfort with the dry blows that the wheels would send directly to the chassis, then to the cockpit. In the event of a shoe "discharges", therefore, all the osteo-articular and muscle-tendon structures come to lose a precious filter capable of effectively reducing the stresses and the load transmitted by the impact of the foot on the ground.


There is no doubt that the most stressed part of the body in the greatest number of sporting activities is the foot: this complex and wonderful structure defined by Leonardo as "an engineering masterpiece" consists of 26 bones, 19 muscles, 33 joints and 107 ligaments that interface the athlete with the external environment and is a source of amazing performances and at the same time the origin of many ailments that afflict him. According to a survey by the CONI Sports Science Institute, the foot alone is responsible for one third of all the problems that may affect the sportsman. Based on this, it is important that athletes are directed towards choosing a training shoe that really meets their needs; the new technologies applied to the construction of sports shoes have led to a very diversified offer capable of satisfying any type of request. Being aware of the existence of specific models for different body weights can allow athletes with different weight characteristics to take advantage of the appropriate shoe, thus performing their workouts in complete safety. Taking a look at the characteristics of the plantar support, perhaps by means of a baropodometric examination, enables the athlete to opt for a model of shoe suitable for his needs, directing him towards the choice of a shoe with neutral characteristics or equipped with an antipronation insert . But the most important aspect from a preventive point of view, however, is that linked to the consumption of footwear: too many times we see athletes in sports fields and gyms who train with worn-out shoes and now lacking their own functional characteristics; they are thus lacking the contribution of another technological innovation inserted in the sports shoe over the last few years, that consisting of shock-absorbing systems. These represent precious allies of the sportsman in the prevention of muscle-tendon and ligamentous suffering of the foot, of talalgias and other inflammatory phenomena that may occur in other districts of the musculoskeletal system. If it is true that the feet are the starting and arrival point of all the muscle chains, one can well understand their importance in the mechanics of every sporting gesture, a rational choice and a small investment for the periodic change of one's training shoes important elements can be identified in a preventative way, both for the occasional sportsman and for the professional athlete.


C.Vittori and coll . ; The speed races - FIDAL Center for studies and research, 1995.