The emphasis on cushioning has been arguably the most important battle in the ongoing sneaker-tech war, with brands constantly looking to push boundaries of energy-return and comfort. The innovation has brought us plenty of great releases — cushier and more injury preventative than ever. Well, that’s what we’ve been led to believe, according to renowned sport podiatrist Simon Bartold.
Having previously worked for both ASICS and Salomon, the biomechanics guru says there’s no definitive, research-based evidence that cushioning actually reduces running injuries.
‘Where we are in 2018 is we now have a situation where we know pretty conclusively that cushioning has no effect on injury rates whatsoever,’ says Bartold.
He’s also critical of the concept of motion control — a technology in modern sneakers that’s designed to ensure the foot lands in a ‘neutral’ position each stride.
'So, we’ve got the two main paradigms of the last 40 years and what all the data is telling us is that neither of these things has any relation to injury,' he says.
Has marketing has overtaken science in the industry? Bartold certainly seems to think so.