Sunday, December 29, 2013

Brook's Stride Signature: future of running shoes?

Brooks Running has recently release a new white paper, where they introduced a totally new way of the looking at how running shoes can be made to fit runners. This is the first part of an article series where we will look at the concept from Brooks called the Stride Signature.

The underlying principle behind this new concept is that ; everyone move in a different way in running, whether you are looking at how unique the upper arms are being swung, or how the legs move, from when the knees are lifted until the the toes touches the ground. 

And should we pay enough attention, these uniqueness are quite noticeable, as shown even among elite Olympian marathoners. Agree?

Interesting enough, Brooks shared a picture made from combined photos from a bio-mechanics study; on how the foot strikes of all 10k runners during the 2012 Olympic trials. And here you can see how different each of the elite runners land on the track as they run. (By the way, these feet belong to world class elite runners including Amy Hasting, Shalane Flanagan, and Galen Rupp.)

So, in short,  it is almost like saying we are doing the same thing, but the way we execute it is different. Just like these guys here:

These Elvis wanna-be guys impersonating the same King, singing same songs, but they still  have their own unique signature uniform! Thats the point.

Ok. Back to running.

And of course most of us runners are just too familiar with the fact that we have different arches, different foot shapes and therefore need different support systems, as we were often told, every time we visit the running stores.

And according to Brooks in their research, the rational behind why each runner has a different signature running movement is because they have their own individual unique joint geometry, ligament flexibility, muscle strength and motion patterns.

Base on this view, Brooks Running is telling runners today that it is time to get excited again for the next best thing that is based on the concept of  "Stride Signature", by having a new way of looking at which shoe is best for which runner.

What is Brook's Stride Signature? According to white paper from Brooks, it is an Individual’s Unique Running Form Defined by the Body’s Habitual Motion Path.

The write-up is quite technical and lengthy, but if you want to read more about the Brooks Stride Signature, here is the link to the technical literature.

But in simple layman term, as I understand after reading numerous times:

For years, Brooks has been on a quest to design footwear which strive to create the perfect ride for runner's every stride. To do this, they are constantly trying to better understand running bio-mechanics. 
But, instead of trying to find the “right” way to run and trying to “fix” what is wrong, Brooks wants to optimize the way each of us naturally run, by giving us the technology that supports our unique movement path.

So, Brooks proposes a shift away from trying to come up with a single right way to run;  to better understanding your unique way to run; And from matching the runner to the shoe, but rather matching the shoe to the runner.

Which is in line with Brooks Run Happy philosophy : to celebrate runners differences and uniqueness.

Stay tune for the sequel of this write up on how Brooks Running executes the Stride Signature concept : The Brooks Transcend. Here is a video made from the people behind Brooks Running, their design philosophy and that they are runners too...

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