Avid runners, take note: The surface on which you run may have more of an effect on your foot strike than you realize. As the rear-/mid-/forefoot strike debate rages on, a study recently published in Footwear Science has revealed that the way a runner's foot strikes the ground has more to do with the running surface than whether or not s/he is wearing a running shoe.
Proponents of barefoot running, or running with minimalist shoes, have argued that wearing running shoes flies in the face of the most natural way for the foot to strike the ground – on the forefoot or midfoot.
However, the barefoot running craze has been linked to a number of injuries, including stress fractures and pulled calf muscles. Although some doctors advocate for a gradual transition for runners who want to try jogging barefoot, others argue that it's best to strike in a heel-toe footfall pattern.
According to Runner's World, humans may have adapted over time to run in the way that is best for the body according to the surface on which they are running.
The study shows this to be true: 65 percent of subjects landed on their midfoot or forefoot while running on a hard surface, while this number decreased to 20 percent on a soft surface. This suggests that the running surface has more of an effect on a runner's footfall pattern than the shoes they are wearing.
As a result, it's extremely important that runners execute their workout routine on a surface that allows them to maintain a footfall pattern that will lead to minimal injuries. This is most easily achieved on TRUE Fitness treadmills with the patented Soft Select™ cushioning system.
Available on the PS800, Z5.4, PS850 and ES900 treadmills, the TRUE Soft System™ is the most biomechanically correct running surface available, putting the runners in control of the firmness of the surface on which they are running.
The TRUE Soft System™ allows for the most orthopedically correct shock absorption, providing a soft surface for impact and transitioning to a firmer surface for a stronger push off as you take each stride.
Because the surface on TRUE Fitness treadmills with the Soft System™ is adjustable, runners will be able to tailor it to help them achieve their desired footfall pattern, whether their allegiance be to the heel-toe or mid- /forefoot strike.