I’ve been running for years and have had to retrain my gait several times due to injuries or because I finally learned how to place my foot correctly with each step. Getting the running gait right is a great challenge and takes learning and coaching to get it right. You cannot just buy a pair of running shoes and be a runner. You must learn how to run and in what shoes you will do it correctly.
Do I believe in minimal cushion? No. Even running with the proper gait and on soft dirt, I broke a bone in my foot. For the majority of people and ground being treaded, cushion is the better choice.
After seeing so many of my patients who were race-winning runners switch to Hokas, I became curious. Were they that much better than the average shoe? When I first put them on, I was immediately aware of how much spring I had in my step and how soft a jump felt on my ankles and knees. The softness was due to the amount of cushion, which was the most of any shoe in the market. So I immediately became worried of rolling an ankle. The wide shoe base makes it very difficult to roll on a rock. If the cushion felt better and I was not going to roll my ankle, was there more about the Hoka that was beneficial to running? Yes. I found it easier to run in a neutral position and in the proper pattern: ball of foot off the first toe and push. You cannot run on your heels in the Hoka. I ran my first five miles in the Hoka and don’t want to trade them in. On my way home I passed a runner in Reebok minimal shoes who was pronating severely on the right. Wasn’t he in pain? Pronation stresses joints, ligaments, muscles an even lower back discs. If you have never been coached on your running gait or don’t know what pronation is, look it up, read, learn and get a pair of shoes that prevents it: The Hoka.