Is it Function or Fashion?

What are your guys opinion on what this article has to say? I don’t believe what this guy has to say. I don’t know how much more expensive shoes help but I think they are better in most cases than cheaper price shoes. Mike or Rich K. probably should have more to say about this.

totally right.

to me, the article is a non-sequitor.


  1. the cushioning was measured only for a short time. one of the key factors in cushioning esp. for any performance activity is not only the initial response but the compression set of the material (ie. how much bounce back it will have over time to return to the original state). in cheap shoes, the cushioning material is often composed of a higher % of filler which will break down over time and loose the cushioning. impact pressure is also only one factor in cushioning and its is equally as important WHERE the cushioning is, as to how much there is.

  2. “comfort” was found to equal by the subjects. comfort is one of those things that is very subjective. just as american cars are sometimes found more “comfortable” that european or sportscars, this is misleading. comfort can be anything from added more foam to fill the shoe up and make is poofier, and isnt really linked to performance in terms of support, motion control, etc. as well, this is something that changes over the use of a shoe.

  3. “trainers of all prices were usually made with similar materials in the same factories in China.” similar is the key word. there are drastically different ranges of materials and while there may be some accounting for marketing and markup, in the end you get what you pay for. saying the materials are similar is like saying that that a Kia and BMW both use similar materials for their car. Cost of materials is anywhere from 65-80% of the FOB cost of a shoe (the rest being labor, overhead, development cost, fty profit). Guaranteed that in a $50 running shoe you will have different materials than in a $200 one. that being said, of course not all materials directly relate to the performance (such as trims, logo details, etc.), but still you do get what you pay for.

obviously this is more of a sunday paper supplement article than real news or scientific study.

all that being said, for sure i’d accept the premise that in some higher price shoes (lets say $120+), the performance benefits may not be proportionally balanced with the price, and indeed some shoes have gizmos that are more marketing than real benefit. (you ever see a real runner use a pair of $200+ adidas 1 shoes with the microchip? didnt think so).

i just dont think you can make an across the board statement saying that cheaper shoes are equal to those of higher prices in all respects.

just my 0.02$ worth


I agree with Rich K on this subject.

Rich is right on all points. This is waaaay too complex a topic to have been adequately addressed with such a simple article.

Runners (people not shoes) come in all shapes and sizes. We have wide feet, we have narrow feet, we’re an over-pronator or we’re a supinator. Some run 10 miles a day, some 5 miles a week. Some run a 9:30/mile pace, some run a 6:45 pace. Then there’s terrain. Some run roads and sidewalks, others like grassy parks/fields, or wooded trails. Some live in the hills (like me, in Northwest Arkansas), some can only run on flat terrain (like where I grew up, closer to Memphis on the delta). Then there’s running style… Some are heel-strikers, while others are forefoot strikers.

All this to say that there is no one person to whom that article holds a heck of lot of value. What makes a “good” shoe is completely exclusive to each runner. And this article doesn’t speak at all to how a shoe will perform after 150 miles. With my neutral gait, I’ve easily gotten stellar performance through 300+ miles out of each of my 2 pairs of Nike Air Pegasus 06. At $80 that’s the lowest priced running shoe Nike makes with forefoot Air. And I find it extremely hard to beleive that any $65 running shoe would perform like that. But Dr. Abboud’s article gives us absolutely NO material to support the argument either way.

All you can do is try shoe out and see if they work for you. And the more you run the better you know your running shoe needs. And once you know, price tends to take a back seat anyway.

One of the things Richard was getting to was also longevity. A foam midsole quickly breaks down under daily running wear, giving the runner less and less cushioning, but most cushioning technologies are engineered to feel more consistent throughout the products life.

high price better quality and better shape and cooling.

I got old Nikes where the bottom of the shoe is totally gone and still runs ok and rest of the shoe looks like new. And it was top of the range few years back. And this is 3 time a week 10km each run for 3 years.

Bought new one now not total top range of Nike this time. But could see allot of difference between the shoes.

You might see guys that do free running says cheaper shoe are better. But the shoes were made for running not jumping from buildings. Also most say cheaper shoes are better cause cost less when you need to buy new shoes allot. So mostly not really about the quality of the shoes but they wear and tear them faster then normal.

The article lacks of important “details”:

1 - Who were those 43 male volunteers who tested shoes? Normal people, joggers, runners, hard core runners? The more you run the more you are picky with the choice of shoes…

2 - Which distance did they run and how often did they run?

3 - Which shoes did they compare? Lightweight, Cushioned, Supportive, trail running? You can’t cross compare these…and each one is specific for a type of runner and/or a type of course/race distance (like Ryan said).

Lacking of these important clarifications you can’t call it a scientific research, too many free variables in their equation!

I think it’s also reductive comparing running shoes just for cushioning, it’s not the only feature that matters for a runner (fit, stabilty, weight, breathability…), plus it matters less or more in the measure you are running fast or slow…
Running is subjective and if you want to compare products you have to put correct borders like type of shoes, type of training/race, runner’s body/biomechanic efficiency…and this way you can’t solve the comparison problem in just one short page :wink:

mc [pietro]

This article was lifted from the British Journal of sports medicine and has a touch of spin. There have been countless studies on EVA versus alternative cushioning systems and all have cocnluded that one is no superior than the other.

I can see where they’re coming from TBH. For instance I don’t think Air would’ve been succesful if it didn’t look sexy. It’s important to see past the marketing bllcks.
I don’t think it’s necessary to spend alot of money on running shoes, no. If you are running alot, they will break down quickly, I’m not talking about just the soles, I’m talking about the heel counter, the support from the upper.
I worked on a hockey range years ago with a female hockey player, we tested at a biomechanics lab and they told us that ALL shoes start to deteriorate after only the third wear and in some sports an athlete might wear a new pair of shoes for every game. So it might be better to buy mid priced shoes and replace more often.
It’s not all about cushioning either - my podiatrist won’t let me near ‘cushioned’ shoes, they’re not stable enough for me. He told me he finds it frustrating where all the marketing is about cushioning and most of the problems he sees are from people who severely over pronate, wearing overly cushioned shoes. Perhaps in the test they fell for this marketing as much as everyone else did? As said here, it’s not one size fits all.
I ran the London marathon about five years ago, didn’t see many expensive shoes, no, I’ve found that ‘runners’ don’t really go for the flashy expensive models as a rule.