Three Tips from The Niftiest Shoe Box Ever

IMG_1818Have you ever worn a zero drop shoe? You should try it.

I just got a pair of Skora Phase running shoes which have a zero drop from heal to toe. This forces me to pay more attention to my running form while encouraging a midfoot landing instead of a heel strike.

This is not a review of the Skora Phase, I’ve only done 2 runs so far. This post is a look at the running philosophy of the company (encapsulated on their shoe boxes) and why rotating a zero drop into your running tool box is a smart move.

The Benefits of a Zero Drop Shoe

I was a faithful Asics Nimbus runner for years but had transitioned into the Asics Gel Lyte 33 with a 6mm heal to toe drop several months ago. I enjoy wearing these shoes for long runs and marathons but wanted to incorporate a lower drop shoe for short run and speedwork. It is easier for me to pay attention to natural running form with a lighter more flexible shoe. I considered serveral different brands but found this great sale on the Skora Phase.

I’m just starting to test these shoes, but so far incorporating them into my shoe line up has been smooth. They don’t have much cushioning but I like the fact that they allow me to feel the ground better. They also have a wider toe box for a more natural foot spread.

I love the three tips that are listed on the flap of the box:

  1. Reconnect to your body: Awareness of how your feet connect with the running surface helps give your body greater control and efficiency.
  2. Reposition your body: Maintain an upright posture, aligning the hip to head. Land with your feet under your body, not in front. Keep your knees slightly bent and avoid landing with an outstretched, straight leg.
  3. Rhythm: While every body and gait is a little different, a good stride rhythm is around 180 footstrikes per minute. A shorter stride length encourages a foot landing that allows your entire body to work as efficiently and bio-mechanically correct as possible.

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I agree with these three tips (that’s why I included them in this post) plus it’s pretty cool to have running tips on the shoe box.

One reason I’m training with zero drop shoes is to force myself to pay closer attention to my running form. Better form = fewer injuries = happy runner.

But here is another reason why I have invested in a zero drop shoe . . .

Why it is Wise to Rotate Your Running Shoes

I always advise people to rotate between at least two different pairs of running shoes, especially if you run more than 3 times per week.

An article on the Runner’s World website talks about a first of its kind study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports which found that runners who rotated among multiple models during the 22-week study had a 39% lower risk of running injury than those who almost always ran in the same shoes.

This could be because different shoes distribute the impact forces of running differently and lessen the strain on any given tissue. The researchers also found that runners who reported more cross-training had a lower incidence of injury.

I currently rotate between wearing Asics Gel Lyte 33 for long runs, and a Skora Phase that I found on sale for $66 (down from $110) for shorter runs and speed work. I also use Vibram Bikilas for cross training.

Ok, I admit I love buying running shoes! Since I run about 1,800 miles a year I go through quite a few pairs. I give all my “experienced” shoes to my sister Amy.

Now I would love to hear about what shoe you run in. Leave a comment below. Have you tried a zero drop?

4 Responses to Three Tips from The Niftiest Shoe Box Ever

  1. Gary Arnold March 19, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Have run in zero-drop Altra’s for most of the last two years. Have run in everything from their discontinued Samson (almost no cushioning) to their Instinct, One and Torin. Tried their new Olympus but it has too much cushioning – similar to Hoka. Love the Instinct but transitioned to the Torin for marathons as I developed a neuroma that caused issues at higher mileages. Just added a Brooks Ravenna to the rotation so that I would have something with a different drop (9 mm) in the rotation, in hopes that it would help keep me away from injuries. Always curious about the Skora’s, but as you say has much more ground feel and as a result less cushioning. Be interested to learn how the inclusion goes for you. Be careful, once you start running in a zero drop shoe with a wide toe box, you may never be able to turn back! They are addicting! Best of Luck!

    • Angie Spencer March 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      Hi Gary. It looks like you’ve tried a nice combination of shoes to find the right fit for your training. I definitely think it’s wise to rotate different brands in so that the foot is challenged (or supported) in new ways. The Skoras have about the same amount of cushioning as Vibrams with more of a “real” shoe feel. You’re right about the zero drops being addicting too. I just got a pair of Altra Instinct and it was instant love 🙂

  2. Steve Ross March 20, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    II have used them for the past two years and now are moving away from them. I find them best for short runs. less than 10 miles. For the longer runs HOKA all the way. As you say they help us focus on our form. It seems though the fade of barefoot running has had it’s day and more people are coming back to more protection. I had to learn the hard way after running trail and came down too hard on some rocks. I still like to run totally barefoot once a week 2-3 miles just to get the feel of the ground and make sure my form is in tack. Overall think a good mix of shoes is best.

    • Angie Spencer March 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      Great input Steve. I definitely think that a combination of different shoe types is probably going to be what’s best for most people, and this can change over time. A few tough souls can probably go 100% barefoot or minimalistic for all running surfaces, but the rest of us will certainly benefit from matching our running surface and distance to the appropriate shoe.

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