walking

RUNNERS NEED RECOVERY SHOES

Save them for walking.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.


THE GIST
Even if you like to run in cushioned shoes, consider walking in a minimalist pair. 
 
In a new eight-week study, 57 runners were randomly assigned to either walk in shoes with little support (starting with 2,500 steps per day and working up to to 7,000), do a set of foot-strengthening exercises five days per week, or neither, while maintaining their pre-study running mileage. They found that walking in a barely-there pair increased the size and strength of the runners’ foot muscles just as much as the exercises did.
EXPERT INSIGHT
When you run, you land with forces two to three times your body weight, explains lead study author Sarah Ridge, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Walking is a much lower-impact activity, and doing it with little shoe support causes just enough stress to strengthen muscles without causing pain. 
 
The stronger your foot muscles, the less likely you are to get stress fractures or develop injuries like plantar fasciitis, says Brian Fullem, a sports podiatrist in Clearwater, Florida.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Consider walking in minimalist shoes as part of your recovery routine. Ridge suggests looking for a pair with a flexible sole, a wide toe box, and no arch support, like the pair used in the study or the Escalante 1.5 from Altra Running.