If you are having foot issues, you may suspect that lack of shoe cushioning is the culprit. It makes sense: the more padding between your feet and the ground, the better. Unfortunately, that’s not how shoes actually work.
It is a common misconception that more cushioning is better for the muscles, bones, and joints in your feet, legs, and throughout your body. But that is not necessarily the case.
Much like mattresses, the right amount of firmness combined with support elements is ideal. However, that balance can be difficult to strike.
Keep reading to find out more about the potential problems excessive shoe cushioning can cause. Besides addressing some of the common shoe-cushioning myths, the information below provides solutions for addressing support issues. It will help you determine the right shoe for you, to improve comfort and your health.
The Minimalist vs. Maximalist Debate
Especially among runners, there is a big debate between minimalist and maximalist shoe cushioning. There are pros and cons of shoe cushioning at different levels.
Minimalist shoes are lightweight and encourage proper running form, more in line with running barefoot. Maximalist shoes can add stability and protect your feet from roots and rocks. It is, in part, why they have become so popular among trail runners.
But too little cushion can lead to higher impacts. A forefoot striking pattern can mitigate this, but it requires a lot of force from the calf muscle that can fatigue runners. Distance runners in minimalist shoes tend to revert to a heel-strike pattern without much cushion to absorb the impact.
One main issue with excessive cushioning in shoes is that it makes our feet “less aware” of the ground they are experiencing. Also, people may not realize that maximalist shoes can actually increase the amount of impact on your legs and joints.
This is not unrelated to gait. When walking or running with excessive cushioning, the danger is the overconfidence that your shoes can absorb the force of longer, heel-strike strides.
Put another way, you are increasing the amount of overall force on your shoes. The cushioning absorbs some of that, but not enough to negate the excess amount of force that is not experienced with proper cushioning.
Also, people get pushed to maximalist shoes because of issues like overpronation. But excessive cushioning is not the silver bullet that they expect it to be.
What Is The Right Amount Of Cushioning?
The thing that the minimalist vs. maximalist debate misses is that there is so much more to shoes than the amount of cushioning. For instance, where the cushioning is in the shoe is as important as the amount and level of firmness.
Also, the rest of the shoe has as much to do with support and impact as cushioning. What type of shoes you need--including the level of cushioning--depends on your unique feet and which activities you plan to use them for.
Learn More About Shoe Cushioning
Now that you have an idea of some common shoe cushioning, you can better assess the type of shoe that will best suit your lifestyle. Whether for specific recreational activities or everyday walking, having the right shoe with the appropriate amount of cushioning can make all the difference between comfort and distress (at best), and possible injury.
Apex footwear and inserts are the go-to for so many health-conscious customers. Our shoes, which come in a range of styles, are engineered to support the unique biomechanics of your feet. Reach out to us today to learn more about our products and how they can help you.
< Back to Blogs