Our columnist is certain: runners are also somehow victims of marketing. He himself, he says, often catches himself believing what he sees in advertisements. We need to listen to ourselves more, he thinks.
If you are looking for the perfect running shoe, you will almost go crazy. The offer is diverse, the opinions differ completely. If one study appears that states that a lot of cushioning destroys the foot and the joints, the next one is published, showing that too little cushioning is a guarantee for an artificial hip joint.
Hardly any study is really representative, they are often commissioned by the manufacturers themselves. In addition, the test mechanics are often completely different. Another challenge: people’s feet, which are also different.
Experts, researchers, doctors – they all have their opinions. Just like the medical director of the Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery at the Charite Berlin, Carsten Perka, who believes: “The strong cushioning of the running shoes is associated with more instability in the foot area. Increased padding in the foot area makes increased muscular compensation necessary.”
Mike Kleiß has been doing sports since he was a child. “If you move, you achieve more” is his motto in life. Running was always his favorite topic. For seven years he has been running between 15 and 20 kilometers almost every day, often in marathons and sometimes in ultra marathons. So far, our columnist has published two books on running. He is the founder and managing director of the communications agency GOODWILLRUN. Mike Kleiß lives with his family in Hamburg and Cologne. He writes about running here every Thursday.
What I’ve been asking myself for a long time: Why do many experts and running shoe manufacturers always assume that they want to prevent injuries and their consequences? Why is the starting point of running shoe development usually avoiding damage?
And then again, I’m amazed at how the manufacturers want to get their brands out to the people. There are manufacturers who promise that you can run much, much faster with their shoes. Others claim that their sole optimally supports the natural running style – whatever that may mean. Promise, according to the motto: If it rains outside, you might get wet.
It gets really exciting when manufacturers claim they are overpronators. You need a stable shoe. Yes? Is that so? Well, if the running shoe brand I trust says so, then it must be true. At the latest when you are promised that you can walk on clouds, then you should perhaps pause for a moment. Take a deep breath. And turn on your head.
Because all these advertising promises are completely for the feet. A few months ago, the founder of a running shoe brand said to me in confidence: “It’s completely nonsensical to always wear a certain shoe. Just because it’s supposed to be the best running shoe out there. Who eats spaghetti bolognese every day? Maybe you feel like it on Monday. The next day it’s more fish, and at the weekend there are only vegetables. Why should it be any different with running shoes?”.
What was said so succinctly is one of the most important sentences on the subject. Our body needs something different every day. And we give it to him. You can see it particularly well when eating, but also in almost every moment of everyday life. Every day we make decisions that have a significant impact on our well-being: when we go to bed, what clothes we like to wear, how and what and how often we drink, the list is endless.
When it comes to running shoes, however, we act quite differently. We use one or a maximum of two pairs of shoes at the same time. How about three or four couples? And what if we slip into each pair before a run, feel it in our bodies? And then decide which shoe we feel comfortable in that day?
That sounds like a big investment at first – and it probably is – but I’m committed: If we can pour a liter of oil into our car for 30 euros, then our bodies should be just as sacred to us.
Another aspect that I really find “sick” in the truest sense of the word: Why is our fear of illness actually worse than the love of life? Health insurance companies are not called health insurance companies. Most of the profit is made with medication and supplements for the prevention of serious illnesses, and the cushioning of the running shoes is also intended to prevent injuries.
Something is wrong with us. I would be much more comfortable if we would go through life more positively, if we would question advertising measures and marketing strategies more precisely, if we would listen to our bodies and minds more.
My clear appeal: Running is – and anyone who runs regularly knows that – simply a question of how well you are doing on the day. The best running feeling comes from the right choice of shoes. And that can lead to a different decision every day. That’s how it works.
Read all of Mike Kleiß’s columns here.