I bought a new pair of shoes last week, and damn do I find this exciting, and yes I’m going to take this challenge and attempt to write an entire interesting blog based off of this.
So why am I excited?
Throughout the misery of my achilles injuries, I’ve discovered that one of the main things to kick off a flare-up is certain shoes. If you look at a standard shoe construction you’ll find that around the heel area theres a rigid heel cup, and this is a killer for me. The hard material gives a real nice surface to cause friction with my calcaneous bone and really flare a good, solid, inflammatory reaction. But these beautiful, beautiful blue suede shoes don’t have this hard heel, they are just soft supple calcaneal hugging suede all the way around. This type of shoe is extremely difficult to find, and thus I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes in years, thus my excitement.
I even have a hard time in trainers, I’ve worked out one pair, the puma faas 300s which have a soft enough rear for my bulbous heel, I’ve currently gone through three colour variations, and need to by some more. I have one pair of adidas trainers which I actually managed to rip the plastic heel cup out of. Spikes are an even more difficult prospect. Currently I’m rocking some of the zoom Triple Jumps which I’ve had to severely modify.
Whats the purpose of this heel counter?
So I consulted the google gods, and apparently the source of my pain is called the heel counter. Its purpose to control the foot during heel strike and guide against over pronation of the foot. Ok, I get this, but why is this in nearly every trainer? Without wanting to open the whole “minimalist running shoe” debate, should nearly every shoe be controlling our gait? You would of thought at least some of us don’t need controlling, is running not supposed to be some kind of expression of freedom? Should the shoe not be following our foot? Allow us to perform the movement that your body has defined as the most efficient for you at that particular time? A shoe that follows your foot, rather than guiding it is not necessarily “minimalist”, closer to like a running flat.
Maybe its supposed to increase the robustness of the shoe? But for me its just a literal pain in the heel.
The paleo revolution
Anyone eat the paleo diet? Anyone read books about the paleo diet? Every author of every paleo book ever written will have some personal sob story about how they suffered with unknown diseases and illnesses until they cut out gluten/dairy/legumes and due to their unknown intolerance, they suddenly discovered ridiculous levels of health and so everyone else should now eat the same way. Not knocking paleo, #justsayin.
Well maybe this is what the running shoe industry is missing, a book written about how heel counters are counter productive (title: heel counter productive, this is pretty much writing itself), a beautiful sob story about how I had a really bad injury and the perils that everyone else is operating at less than optimal because of the same issue. Or maybe I just need to accept that I’m a freak case