Runners are always looking for ways to improve whether it be through hydration, supplementation, diet, training and coaching. Although shoe type (minimally shod, shod etc) often get discussed in relation to injury rates and foot strike patterns, less attention is paid to the effect shoe weight has on running performance. In our Melbourne city sports chiropractic clinic many of our recreational runners run in shoes like ASICS Kayanos which weigh around the 300g mark. So what does this mean in terms of performance for those runners?

people running on treadmills

A research paper looked to quantify the effects heavier shoes had on running times. Blinded to the runners, the researchers placed lead weights into runners shoes (normal shoe weight, normal shoe weight +100gm and normal shoe weight +300gm) and then had them run on a treadmill and perform a 3km time trial. The data showed that the energy cost of the runner increased by 1% for ever extra 100gm of weight.

What Does This Mean?

This small study leads some support to the notion that if two runners with the same age, fitness, race pace and times line up against each other one wearing a 200g shoe and the other a 300g shoe. The runner in the 300g shoe will have to exert an extra 1% of their energy to cover exactly the same distance. This is likely to result in a slower finishing time.

It should be noted though, there is a lower threshold limit for shoe weight. Ie, having the lightest possible shoe doesn’t mean you will run the fastest. The cushioning of the shoe helps to absorb impact shock and therefore reduces energy expenditure. If you remove too much cushioning, energy expenditure will increase because that cushioning effect is greatly diminished.

If you are interested in more running related blogs we have a great selection, especially on running injuries. To make an appointment with Melbourne city chiropractor Dr. Shannon or sports massage therapist Paula Pena you can book below. You will find our Melbourne CBD chiropractic clinic on Collins Street, opposite the Melbourne Town Hall.