A few weeks ago we told you about our practical view to running shoes. Today we want to dig a bit further into the world of stability and how our shoes break out through the lens of our practical view.
The Practical View
- Biomechanical history doesn’t lie. You either need stability or you don’t. Stability is defined as: The use of product design to create a stable platform to minimize the effect of over-pronation of a highly mobile foot.
- Your running form is your running form. The best way to improve your running form is to run often. You can learn to improve your form through technical changes, but it’s not easy. Shoes can’t improve your form.
- The best shoe for you is the least amount of shoe you can get away with. More shoe definitely isn’t any better, but neither is less. This will be easier to understand when you read through the shoes in future blog postings.
So why do you need a stable platform anyway? The idea is that no matter what type of runner you are the best shoe for you is one that brings you back to neutral to aid alignment in the body. It would be great if we all had the strong balanced body of an elite runner. We could run in virtually any shoe and get away with it. But most of us don’t and therefore need a little help to run more comfortably. The best way to determine if you need stability in your training or racing shoe is to go see a professional running store to receive a proper evaluation of your running form.
At Zoot we don’t mess around with stability. In other words we don’t offer a large variance in the degree of stability. What we do offer is the “same” stability in different “amounts” of shoe. By “same” we are referring to the length of the 2nd density posting (the grey foam on the inside/medial, of your shoe under your arch) which is the exact same and in the same place in all of our shoes. By “amount” we refer to the overall amount of foam and size of Carbon Span+ under your foot. So when we say you should run in the least amount of shoe you can get away with, we are not referring to less or more stability but actually the least “amount” of shoe. With that let’s talk shoes:
Ultra Ovwa – Least Amount
For the large majority of athletes save this shoe for race day and save it for your 70.3 and shorter. At 19mm/9 mm heel to forefoot differential it is overall the lowest to the ground stability shoe we make. For a select few it’s the perfect Ironman shoe and for even a select fewer it’s your every day trainer.
Ultra Tempo+ 4.0 – Next to Least Amount
For the large majority of triathletes from the front of the race to the last finisher this is your Zoot race day shoe. At 21mm/11mm heel to forefoot differential and roughly 20% more Zbound than the Ultra Ovwa, there is enough shoe under your foot to carry you through any distance. For a select few this is your perfect training shoe to compliment your Ultra Ovwa as your racing shoe.
In the Zoot line-up this shoe is the closest we make to a traditional workhorse running shoe. It just so happens that this is the shoe Javier Gomez (the 2 time ITU Triathlon World Champion) trains in. At 24mm/12mm heel to forefoot differential it is set up like most running shoes in the same price range from the other well known brands. If you have been a die hard Saucony, Brooks etc. wearer this is the easiest shoe to transition to. It’s going to feel close to theirs although it will fit like only Zoot can fit thanks to our highly regarded BareFit system.
Ultra Kapilani – Moderate Amount
We asked athletes who race in the Ultra Tempo+ what they trained in every day. They always brought up a different brand. We then asked them if we built a shoe that functioned like the Ultra Tempo+ but felt like a training shoe you could go miles and miles, day after day, would that be good? They said yes. So at 21mm/11mm the Ultra Kapilani is going to function just like the Ultra Tempo+. The things that makes it moderate are the use of Blown Rubber in the forefoot that aids in the absorption of shock and the softer insole which aides in comfort. Oh and we use traditional running laces so you can customise the fit for your long run. OK it’s a training shoe right but it’s the shoe Kelley Williamson chooses to race long in. Who are we to tell an athlete what to race in.
Ultra Kane 2.0 – Largest Amount
There are some runners who are either larger in stature or simply run larger who need more shoe. The reality to them is the shoes feel right. Where the Ultra Kane 2.0 functions like other stability shoes in the same price range it sure doesn’t feel like them. How could it when in true Zoot fashion it weighs as much as 30% less than the competition. Its 25mm/13mm heel to forefoot differential means you have the most foam under your foot. The foam is also structured different where a full 50% is our high rebound Zbound. The Carbon Span+ is also the stiffest we use in any shoe. Most likely if you need this much shoe for your running it’s also the shoe you will use in racing. No issues because again this shoe is light in weight.
We always look forward to hearing your comments and answering your questions. Please leave us a note in the comments section below.