Last month I wrote about how much of a difference light shoes make. In summary, the study I referenced showed losing 100g/shoe will result in just under a 1% improvement in running economy (RE) as long as all other features remain equal.
At Health & Performance, this article generated a lot of good questions. The main ones revolved around if it was good to race in the LIGHTEST shoe possible.
In response, I discussed the importance of features such as cushioning providing a boost in RE. Utilizing a shoe that completely lacks cushioning will provide a boost from lost weight, but this change will be at the expense of the spring-like action from that missing cushioning.
Where is the perfect balance?
Once I explained this, the next question became: Where is the perfect balance? How much weight in cushioning is worth it, and just how much of a boost does it provide?
My easy answer was/is to go with a lightly cushioned racing shoe that feels comfortable, and to not worry about the rest. My favourite is the New Balance 1400, which comes in at just over 200g/shoe, but does have some cushioning. The cost of that 200g, I assumed, would be more than offset with the benefits that the 200g provided. That being said, in a world where we strive to be pro-science, evidence-based and anti-fake news, I wanted to dig a little deeper to provide a more clear and proven answer.
What is light enough?