Christopher McDougall, author of the bestselling Born to Run, recently wrote on his blog about a “correction” in the March 2012 issue of Runner’s World. The correction has to do with how Runner’s World reviews shoes, and where motion-control shoes fit in to those reviews. To refresh your memory, motion-control shoes were created and recommended for moderate to severe over-pronators. Lately, though, new information has come out questioning the usefulness of the shoe. McDougall says:
In the March 2012 issue, [Runner’s World] began slinking away from the once hugely-profitable, and now discredited, “motion-control” shoe. They did it so quietly even I missed it, even though I’d been shocked to hear RW’s shoe reviewer, Warren Greene, hint as much at a seminar more than a year ago.
After following the links and doing a little research, it seems that the major shoe companies are “phasing out” motion-control shoes. I tried to find some studies that talked about the benefits of motion-control shoes, but it turns out there aren’t any. That’s right; no publicly released studies have ever been done on the benefits of motion-control shoes by the shoe companies selling that type of shoe—and making millions off of them.
However, information on how bad they are is slowly coming to light. Benno Nigg, PhD, author of The Biomechanics of Running Shoes, and one of the folks who’s credited with creating the original concept and design of the motion-control shoe has gone on record saying:
It’s important to realize that modern running shoes, even the ones equipped with ‘anti-pronation’ features actually cause pronation—they don’t control it. A runner, male or female, who pronates about eight degrees while running barefoot, will often pronate about 20 degrees while wearing ‘anti-pronation’ running shoes.
To sum it up, those shoes you are wearing to control your over-pronation are probably making things worse. It makes you wonder if the shoe companies have some proprietary information on the benefits of motion-control shoes that they aren’t sharing, or if it’s just another cog in the running shoe marketing machine by the major shoe manufacturers. Another question to ponder is Runner’s World’s role in the marketing of motion-control shoes. They are the ones pushing those shoes on the public, and most folks get their information on new running shoes from the magazine.
Have you been wearing motion-control shoes? Do you think they’ve helped you?