From the monthly archives:

September 2011

Prove it, or pay

by Christopher on September 28, 2011

No study has ever shown that running shoes do anything to reduce injuries or improve performance. Yet the whole multi-billion dollar industry business is based on the marketing lie that running is dangerous if you’re not wearing some kind of super-cushioned or motion-controlling footwear. It’s amazing the shoe companies get away with it. But one of them, finally, has been spanked: the FTC announced it was hitting Reebok with a $25 million fine for claiming its rocker-bottomed sneaks strengthen muscles.

Could this be the beginning of the end of running shoe scam? Look at what the FTC had to say about Reebok:

“Advertisers cannot make claims about their products … without having some basis for it,” he said. “If you’re going to make specific claims, particularly about health benefits, about your product you better have some kind of adequate substantiation about those claims before you make them.”
—David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection

By that standard, what kind of substantiation can Asics provide for this claim about its Gel-Kayano 16?

“The result is better protection from injury and outstanding ride.”
—Simon Bartold, Asics research consultant

“Better protection from injury” — really? Now that it’s exploded the toning shoe swindle, it will be fascinating to see what happens if the FTC begins tearing into the video-gait analysis/pronation-must-be-controlled/every-runner-is-unique ripoff.

If you doubt barefoot running is on the rise..

by Christopher on September 27, 2011

…check out the mob at the NYC Barefoot Festival. Only 2 years old and already booming. Barefoot Ted’s monkey-powered cart was the No. 1 hit (well, excluding the free kegs of Smuttynose pale ale). Watching Ted both pull and be pulled caused Dr. Lieberman to label him “both a rickshaw wallah and a shirtless barefoot sahib.”

Kat & Ollie: newly engaged and paraded thru a barefoot honor guard

The Dipsea Demon made it a motto, John J. Kelley made it a tradition by barely slowing during decades of marathon, and the New York Times reports it’s now corroborated by German researchers:

A few years ago researchers at the German Sports University Cologne took a close look at the finishing times of 400,000 marathon and half-marathon runners between the ages of 20 and 79. They found no relevant differences in the finishing times of people between the ages of 20 and 50. The times for runners between 50 and 69 slowed only by 2.6 to 4.4 percent per decade. “Older athletes are able to maintain a high degree of physiological plasticity late into life,” the researchers wrote.