The Right to Go Light

From ultra runners to beginners, we all have the right to light. The right to wear lightweight running shoes that is! The question is, when is it all right to go light? As St. Louis’ running and walking resource, Big River is here to help answer that question.

Here are a few differences between “standard” running shoes and those classified as “lightweight trainers:”

The more minimal the shoe, the more the foot, ankle and lower leg actively supports and stabilizes your body in motion. The bulkier the shoe, the more the shoe does the work for us. Lightweight trainers can have a lower heel to toe offset (meaning your foot sits more level to the ground when wearing the shoe) compared to when you are wearing a standard shoe.

Lightweight trainers tend to offer little or less medial stability and cushion around the heel isn’t as plentiful. The reason is that most wearers of lightweight footwear are striving to achieve what is known as mid-foot strike as opposed to a heel strike. Think of an elite runner’s form while running fast on the track. Mid-foot strikers make contact with the ground with their mid-foot first, putting their foot in a more efficient place for take off, which reduces wasted effort.

Every runner can benefit from a lightweight trainer when introduced and used in a smart manner. Lightweight trainers can improve efficiency without sacrificing much in cushion. They are slightly lower to the ground for more energy return. So if you are training for a race and don’t want to go all the way to a racing flat, a lightweight trainer might be just the ticket.

One school of thought is that you “add” one second per ounce of shoe, per mile to your time. So if you had a shoe that weighed 11 ounces, like an Adrenaline, and switched to a 7-ounce shoe, like a Kinvara, that theoretically could save you 12 seconds running a 5k without doing anything but changing your shoes.

Having a secondary different shoe to switch up the stress from day to day can cut down on overuse injuries, especially one that might help your form and efficiency. Many runners will save their lightweight shoes for days they are doing faster things like speed work or a track workout. Here, because you are running faster, you typically are running more efficiently. Having a special lightweight shoe just for race day (especially 5k’s and 10k’s) can give you a mental boost as well. It is a special day when you can put on your ‘racing shoes’ no matter how fast you are.

Want to see if light is right? Come on in to Big River and have the staff walk you through the fit process today! We have several new lightweight trainer options available. Check them out HERE!