These shoes, the Ampla Fly, due out in February, have a midfoot carbon spring that is intended to give the runner an extra push on the toe off phase during running. The Ampla website describes it as a FORCEPOWER plate that "maximizes force application at big toe push off". Call me a cynic, but doesn't this seem a little gimmicky? Forcepower? And it kind of reminds me of a Seinfeld episode involving a certain pair of shoes that were purported to make one of the characters, Jimmy, jump higher. When George tried them...not so much...
Shoes manufacturers have been making promises of enhanced performance to runners for years! (Sounds like viagra for the feet, right? RD=running dysfunction?)
Remember the barefoot craze a few years back? Anyone jump on that bandwagon?
Shoes are probably the most expensive items a runner can purchase. But there are a lot of products marketed to runners that claim to make us run faster, run injury free, run farther. I mean, who doesn't want to run faster? Run injury free? I'm not going to touch on nutrition in this post, because that is a topic for a whole separate post. Here are a few items, besides shoes, that make my skeptic flag fly:
Compression socks are super popular right now. All the cool kids are wearing them in all different colors. I've considered wearing them too. After all, as a nurse, I am aware of the benefits of the compression sleeves we use in the hospital to improve blood flow in the legs and prevent the formation of blood clots. Seems like they could be beneficial for runners too, especially long distance runners. Makes sense to me...
But the inner skeptic in me turned to the research for confirmation of my hunch. It turns out that in 2 very small studies, compression socks were shown to mildly improve performance--but not significantly--by about 2%. This translates to maybe a 1-2 minute faster marathon finishing time. There was no improvement in recovery, although the runners in the study perceived less soreness after a run in which they wore the socks. If you look at the elites, some wear compression socks and some don't. I've never run in compression socks. They seem like they'd be really hot to me. Not to mention the weird tan lines I'd get. As if I don't already have those...
What about compression gear? Same story. I have a pair of CW-X compression tights and I actually feel like they slow me down. The compression shorts I have? Um, tried them a few times and for this gal, I'm not going to run in them again. Can you say chafing? I'm going to try them at CrossFit and see if there are any benefits there. Bottom line, don't expect dramatic results from compression socks. Or gear.
And what about socks in general? Running socks are pricey. And they are marketed heavily to runners. My internet search found these Stable26 running socks and wow! are they expensive. They have some integrated silicone pads in the rear foot, " to enhance stability, improve performance and comfort, resulting in reduced blister formation and improved blood flow". Well, if they really do that, then sign me up! I couldn't find many reviews on these socks, but Susan at FitBottomedGirls did one. And confirmed what I already suspected. These socks are...just socks. You know what socks I like? I like that pair of Balegas that Marcia gave me... a lot. And my Feetures are pretty awesome. My Soxy Feet makes some really fun socks that make my feet happy. SmartWool keeps my feet warm. And my Target C9 DuoDry socks perform just as well as any of their more expensive friends. Bottom line, if they stay up, wick away moisture, and don't make me blister, I'm happy.
|Wouldn't these make you run faster?|
I recently bought a super cute shirt from Athleta. When it arrived, there was a tag on it that said the top was UNSTINKABLE. Hmmm...again, my skeptic flag was flying. My research found that the odor repelling technology is silver salts (silver has antibacterial properties) in the fabric that fights bacteria and fungus. Athleta sprays the silver salts onto the finished product and claims that the silver coating lasts throughout the lifetime of the garment. Skeptic alert!!! According to an article I read on Rodale, these silver salts wash out after 1-2 washings, which makes more sense to me. And there is research to back this. So, if you like the top, buy it, but don't expect to come home from a hard run smelling like a rose. And at least they aren't marketing these shirts to make you run faster! Wouldn't that be something?
|From Athleta UNSTINKABLE--how could a shirt this cute ever smell?|
Because there is no substitute for hard work. No shortcuts. No gimmicks.