Mizuno changes the shape of the sole and announces the 3rd revolution in running shoes – 05/25/2023 – Na Corrida
“This is the third running shoe revolution.”
The phrase is strong, and it was said by someone who knows what he is talking about. With the microphone in hand, one of those responsible for developing products at Mizuno, Shunsuke Aoi, presents the new Wave Rebellion Pro to journalists, runners and influencers, the first sneakers with carbon plate from the century-old sports material manufacturer.
For those who are not used to running shoe technology, it is worth taking two steps back and understanding where the development focuses are. The first revolution he refers to is the introduction of semi-rigid plates, usually made of carbon, in the midsole of sneakers. These plates return energy and lengthen the step, optimizing running mechanics. The performance gain is such that World Athetics, the entity responsible for regulating world athletics, considered banning the use of the equipment, equating it with doping.
The second is the evolution in EVA foam technology responsible for cushioning. Although not new, these compounds weigh less and offer greater responsiveness and comfort for runners.
But, in his presentation, Shunsuke Aoi drew attention to another characteristic that, for him, was equally disruptive. On screen, it showed the sole structure of the Rebellion Pro, with a wedge shape in the heel area. According to Mizuno, this design induces the runner to land less with the heel, and more with the center of the foot.
I’ve included a photo of the shoe below for clarity. Note how a piece of the shoe appears to be missing in the heel region. This is what Mizuno calls the third revolution.
“The objective is to change the body’s center of gravity and make the landing happen in the central area of the foot. With that, the running mechanics consume less energy and the athlete has more reserves for the final moments of the race”, explained Shunsuke Aoi .
Indeed, a closer look at so-called super shoes reveals a trend. The soles are no longer straight and started to help in the process of projecting the body forward. Nike and Adidas, each with their own peculiarities, are among the manufacturers that already offer models with this feature.
Fashion or trend?
It’s important to say that the redesigned sole is still restricted to performance shoes. Entry-level models or those developed for shorter workouts, running or that focus on cushioning tend to be more structured, with more traditional formats.
This is because flat soles provide more comfort and stability on a daily basis. During a race, when the goal is to keep the body moving, instability works in favor of the runner, who benefits from this projection of the body forward. That’s why you’ll rarely find someone walking around the mall in a super sneaker. It’s the most expensive discomfort money can buy for your feet.
As explained by orthopedist and master in biomechanics Raquel Castanharo on her social networks, the new format reduces the impact on the heel region and transfers the effort to the buttocks. That is, in one way or another, the effort made by the runner will be the same – what changes is the muscle group involved in the runner’s displacement. Advantage for some, disadvantage for others.
Is this good or bad? For the professor of biomechanics at USP, Julio Serrão, it is still too early to say. “I don’t usually look kindly on moves that alter people’s natural running mechanics.” He admits that he is unaware of scientific studies that prove the efficiency of this new footwear dynamic.
“Tennis’ contribution to impulse and impact absorption is very small when compared to the cushioning and propulsion capacity of our legs”, says Serrão.
If you’ll pardon the pun, running shoe technology has evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Just look at the amount of athletes who manage to run marathons and half marathons in times previously considered impossible. For this elite, gaining a few seconds can make the difference. But for the average athlete, what matters most is not super tennis. “Hard and committed training continues to be the best way to improve a runner’s performance”, says Serrão.
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