Saturday, January 11, 2020

Sneakers vs Technical Shoes

When it comes to running shoes, you will find two different "schools of thought": on the one hand, experts, coaches and self-declared gurus claim that a high-quality technical shoe can make a huge difference; on the other hand, you will hear voices saying that speed and endurance depend solely on the runner (and on his talent combined with proper training, motivation and, why not, a prodigious DNA). Willing to touch results with my hand (pardon: with my foot), I decided to make an easy test, comparing the feelings I experienced running a 30 minutes session with a pair of technical shoes (Nike Zoom Streak 6) and a pair of sneakers (Mistral Seventies). Here are the results, of course based on my personal experience.

The shoe is quite heavy, when running on the forefoot I felt like I was dragging a heavy burden on the back of the shoe
Very light (below 200 gr). When I run at a 4:00 min/km pace or below, I have the impression that foot and shoe become one thing
After 30 minutes running, my socks were totally soaked
Even in summer, the foot can breathe and sweats moderately, thanks to the very thin mesh and the essential material of the upper
The foot is not firm, especially on the heel. On the front, I had the feeling that running 10 or 20 minutes more, I would have had blisters
Feet are firm, shoe is stable, especially running fast. A real pleasure to sprint with these shoes
Not so good. The sole “scratches” the ground, and it makes a noise like a “clap” when the heel lands on the asphalt
Very good grip, responsive soles, these shoes fly like feathers on the ground, yep providing good traction
Too much rooms on the back and in the front, more material than running shoes but more “dispersed” and superflous
Very well cushioned around the ankle, essential upper, the blown rubber midsole ensures a “soft” stability
Probably I should have run longer to evaluate the absence of a shock absorption unit. The impression is that the sole is quite hard and the shoes don't provide any propulsion
Two great features of the Streak 6 are the Zoom Air unit and the plate. When shifting running style, from forefoot to heel running, the unit on the back of the shoe allows the runner to rest the feet. The midsole plate pushes the runner forward and ensures speed.

Bottom line: a pair of good technical shoes are worth their price. They guarantee speed, comfort and stability. If your aim is to improve your personal bests, you cannot do without them. Cheap "normal" shoes can cause injuries, blisters and bad running habits.  

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