I could easily have called this the 'HOKA hatred' post. But I have no issue with the brand, there are plenty of others offering the same level of cushioning so it would be unfair to single out this brand. Although, that being said they have done their best to promote the idea of maximal cushion and it's perceived benefits to the masses.
So what's the deal? Why do I dislike OVER cushioned shoes?
Well. It's all about context, this is the main problem. Another way to look at context would be to appreciate how each person is different, I.e. What I mean by this is, if you have fantastic hip stability and land in a perfect position, on a flat surface, all the time, in a shoe which is the right width for your foot, then you probably won't have a problem if you increase the depth of cushion. But how many of us regular people are like this? In my experience, in hundreds if not thousands of clients, very few of us are like this.
But what about these professional athletes running in cushioned shoes? Did you see the shoe for the Nike sub 2 project? It was huge! Yes! That is because the elite runners with their fantastic hip stability can get an increased economy from cushion, cushion does have some good sides!
They would also likely wear a new set of shoes for each race, why is this important? Because the greater depth/softer the cushion the more the shoe will deform. This happens DURING a run, and with repeated runs, so a brand new shoe will behave very differently.
Take this example -
This is a well worn HOKA, actually, I say well worn I think it had done less than 100 miles! Which is barely worn at all. Look at the compression of the foam! No wonder this client had knee and hip issues!
I hope this is starting to illustrate my problem, it's not that cushioning is a bad thing, it's that too much in the wrong place can cause greater instability.
"But my HOKAs are so comfortable!" Yes I know! They are like wearing two pillows on your feet! But unfortunately with this comfort they give you instability. They may feel great for the first mile or so, but soon your hips will start to ache, those niggles will come back and all those stability muscles are doing so much work to keep you upright that they are starting to fatigue. I see this time and time again.
This is the equivalent to the office chair, or sofa, it feels so comfortable but in giving you comfort it makes your muscles (brain actually) quite lazy. Hence why it's so hard to move after you've been sat in it for a while.
Maximal shoes give you short term comfort for long term loss, in my honest opinion and experience.
Don't fear the ground/impact. Feeling this ground impact is an important part of running, it allows you to feel the impact energy it and reuse it.
That will do for now, but I'll be back to this topic soon!