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Subject: RE: Wall Street Journal story on Gel-Kinsei, Air Max 360
well here's my deal... I work at a running store in California and i deal with these shoes on a daily basis. I have not trained in any of them, but i have heard feedback about all of them from many customers.
Here's my beef with these "top of the line" shoes... They claim that these are all hybrid type shoes, that will fit a wider variety of foot-types, from a neutral high arch foot, to a medium/ low arched pronator. Here's why i think they don't work the way they are billed to:
Nike's Air Max 360 has no EVA foam midsole which leads to greater durability and maximum cushioning. While the lack of EVA foam does mean no compression of materials, you lose the stability that EVA effectively provides. The problem with putting a full air midsole is that there is no structural integrity to stabilize a flexible ankle and arch. If you press upward with your thumb on the air sole unit in the heel, you will see that it is easy to compress that area. Now imagine putting your full weight on that spot, and then multiply that by 4 (which is how much force the shoe recieves on impact in the running stride). The shoe provides no stability for pronators. Although they say that the pillars that are placed throughout the sole help aid in pronation support, they just dont compare to the stability that you get from a double density EVA midsole. I think the Nike 360 is a good option for a neutral foot or a supinator. Pronators beware, no matter how much cushioning this shoe has, you wont be able to outrun your shin splits and plantar faciatis.
Asics Gel Kinsei is the newest technology that Asics offers. Bohold, they say, gel on the outside. They claim that the full gel heel not only absorbs impact 30% better then their previous top of the line shoes (gel Nimbus and Gel Kayano) but adapts to the ground in order to guide the foot and promote a smoother heel to toe transition while neutralizing pronation. Again, a hybrid shoe that mends the gap between nuetral and stability shoes. I say, its poorly mended. The problem arises in the stiff heel counter they use for their stability. It extends from the heel through the midfoot, ending just before the ball of the foot; creating what i would call, a harsh heel to toe transition. Now i'm sure that stiffness will break in, but i have had customers return this shoe because of blistering on the medial side of the heel and through the arch. The fact is, this shoe is not made for pronators. If your arch collapses in the midstance phase of the running gate, then you will end up with blistering problems due to the heel counter. Again, like the Nike 360, the gel Kinsei is a great choice for the nuetral runner, who neither pronates nor supinates.
Gimmick does not begin to describe the Adidas One. Technology has evolved emmensly from the days of the cloth, polyurathane, and rubber shoes of the past, but I just dont think there is any room for this kind of technology in running. It sounds great, the self adapting shoe, doesn't it? But what the hell does that mean? People think, it means it will adapt to my foot, my running stride, my weight, my mileage, etc., making it the custom orthotic of the running shoe world. But the fact is that this onboard PC basically ajusts its midfoot flexibilty/rigidity depending on the firmness of the surface its used on. On grass, more rigid, on pavement, more flexible. Pretty advanced, mostly useless. I would suggest that it be flip flopped to be more rigid on the roads and more flexible on the grass or dirt. Drop a golf ball on the street, then drop it on the grass. With the incresed impact forced of concrete on our joints and muscles, support becomes just as important, if not more important, then cushioning. Whether the shoe is rigid or flexible in the midfoot doesnt matter if your arch is collapsing over the midsole. Neurals runners, feel free to drop $260 on this shoe. I can't guarantee any miracles.
Save your knees, ankles, plantar fascia and soft connective tissue as well as your life savings, and buy a pair of $90 shoes that are right for your foot. Sure you might have to replace them 100-200 miles before some of these "top of the line" shoes, but you'll be saving money in the long run with less visits to the podiatrist. Get the professional opinion from someone who sees a lot of feet, whether it be a local running store, or a doctor, and have them evaluate your feet, arches and running gate. I guarantee that the knowledge you gain there will not only keep you up to date with these new technologies, but get you in the right shoe for your foot... meaning happier miles.
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