Why waste money on expensive running shoes when cheaper ones are as good, if not better? That’s the finding of a British research study which compared nine sets of running shoes in three price ranges, bought from three different manufacturers.
Forty three volunteers were used for the study. They were not told the prices, and were asked to rate the shoes for comfort.
Plantar pressure—the force produced by the impact of the sole when hitting the ground—was measured in eight different areas of the sole. It was found to be slightly lower in the cheaper shoes, although the difference between them and the more expensive shoes was not statistically significant. Comfort ratings varied, but again there no obvious difference between the shoes tested.
The authors of the research explained that running produces sizeable shock waves to the bones of the foot, which radiate to other bones in the body. The result is that runners often suffer from knee pain, stress fractures, muscle tears and osteoarthritis.
Running shoe manufacturers claim that the cushioning in more expensive running shoes gives better protection to the sole, and helps prevent these conditions.
Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine 2007; doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2007.038844