It seems that the new modern training shoes are designed with overly thick heels which cause young children to misplace their foot strikes when running. When children learn to run in trainers they develop bad running habits that make it difficult to learn how to run with the proper form.
According to The Independent, scientist have determined that wearing old-fashioned plimsoll shoes with flat soles are better for children that modern cushioned training shoes. The basic premise is that the flat soles associated with plimsolls train kids to run in a more natural manner, landing on the ball of their feet.
Sports exercise scientist, Mick Wilkinson, says that he would advise parents to forgo the expensive training shoes for a pair of old-fashioned plimsoll shoes with flat soles. He said that parents need to give the kids basic shoes that make them use their natural running patterns. There is an immensity of scientific evidence that reveal that the human foot is structure to make specific strikes with the ball of the foot when running. The training shoes change the strike pattern; thereby, creating an unnatural running style.
According to science correspondent, Richard Alleyne, modern cushioned sport shoes encourage poor running form by causing the runner to strike the ground heel first instead of with the ball of their foot. Alleyne’s report also reveals that most people will probably consider it odd, but running barefoot is the most natural way to run when it comes to training yourself to run with proper form. Obviously outdoor terrain makes it difficult to run barefoot, but a plain basic shoe with a flat sole is the next best thing.
According to Mail Online, plimsolls are actually better trainers than the modern day training shoe. Running in flat soled shoes causes children to run in a way that reduces the risk of injury.
Dr. Wilkinson suggests that parents should create a running situation that mimics the natural running style of kids. He understands that safety won’t allow for children to run around and play barefooted, but a pair of minimally padded flat soles shoes will work great in properly training children on how to run.
All of this may seem like highly irrelevant data, but the truth is running with improper form increases the risk for injury and long term joint issues with the ankles, knees and hips. Putting your child in a situation in which they will learn the proper way to run can impact their lives for years to come. Wilkinson strongly advocates kids using their natural equipment, as he calls it. As a child begins to train themselves on how to run, they are training their muscles and joints – creating a particular biomechanical motion that will either, be conducive to natural movement or forcing the body to adapt to abnormal movement.
The important point to understand here is that once these bad habits are developed, it is not easy to break them. It is not as if an adult can pull put some plimsolls and start running and immediately retrain their running style. Actually, that could cause more harm than good, because plimsolls are not designed for a heel strike first running style. It could literally take months, or even years of working with an expert trainer to change your running style. All of this hassle can be alleviated by starting out on the right foot.
It may seem that spending an exorbitant amount of money on expensive trainers, with modern insole cushioning, is the way to go; however, good old-fashioned plimsolls create a more natural running situation – plus they are a lot less expensive.
If your children have been participating in running activity using modern trainers, you should not abruptly switch them to flat soled shoes, as their muscles and joints will not be prepared to deal with it. Slowly transition them from the high heeled trainers to shoes that have less of a heel – eventually moving them to a flat soled shoe. You will probably get some flack, but this is what is best for them in the long run.
GUEST BLOGGER: Megan Barnes researches shoes and fashion. She frequently blogs about style and benefits of footwear for all ages.