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Do Running Shoes Prevent Injury?

Posted by George Parker on

A recent New York Times article concludes that the idea that running shoes can prevent you from getting hurt doesn’t hold water. Rates of running-related injuries, such as shin splints and stress fractures, have remained high over the past 40 years — despite evolving shoe technology. And a Cochrane Review published in 2022 assessed 11,240 runners across 12 randomized controlled trials, most of which compared different types of running shoes to each other. The analysis found no evidence that running shoes, or prescribing certain shoes by type, have injury-preventing properties.

Phew. That’s a heavy hit to the running shoe industry. Or is it? What is the culprit if technological advances in running shoes are not ridding us of running injuries?

Meb Keflezighi, in 26 Marathons, advocates his non-running routine as essential to injury prevention. He has a well-established warm-up and cool-down process, stretching, massage, and nutrition after workouts. Strength training is catching on in all sports, including running.

Running shoes alone may not prevent injuries, just like a Runner Multivitamin will not make you faster. But both are part of a system of little things that add up to a healthier, faster, and stronger version of yourself.

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