The debate continues on what type of footwear, if any, is good for your feet and body while running. Some experts agree that wearing conventional running shoes tends to weaken the small muscles in your feet to the point where the tendons, ligaments and natural arches stop doing their job. New Swiss running shoe company On is hoping their innovative outsole technology can in fact help strengthen the small muscles in the foot, resulting in a gentle, injury free running experience.
According to On, the foot is exposed to both vertical and horizontal forces when running. It is the horizontal force that causes the most damage to your muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. Today's cushioning running shoes only absorb the vertical force as they guide, stabilize and control your foot in a lateral movement. The side effect of so much control in the shoe is a weakening of the small muscles in your foot.
Much like barefoot running proponents, On's founding Swiss engineer wanted to figure out how to activate and involve the foot's small muscles in running. Not wanting to get rid of the shoe altogether, he came up with an innovative outsole technology, called WaveStep, that reduces by 30% both the horizontal and vertical impact forces on your foot and body.
In WaveStep Technology, the outsole houses a number of circular rubber pieces which absorb both horizontal and vertical shock. As your foot hits the ground with forward momentum, the rubber circles fold back on themselves, absorbing the shock. The pieces then lock together for push off, providing extra forward momentum for a quicker run.
Swiss triathlete Olivier Bernhard fell in love with the innovative running shoe and has helped the company perfect the design over the past few years. The sports industry is starting to take notice of the potential for WaveStep Technology as On was awarded the overall ISPO Brand New Award winner this year.
The final design for the On cushioning running shoe as well as ordering details will be unveiled at ISPO in February.