By John, Foot Tools Owner
The crossfit boom is having a big impact on how athletes train. The latest training techniques are based on “total fitness”, with short and intense workouts with an emphasis on functional total body movements. Mileage is reduced and quality over quantity is emphasized. This movement is driving the minimal shoe market. Crossfitters want minimal footwear that will allow them to make more natural movements while weight lifting, doing fast paced training, and running. This has created a new market in the fitness shoe industry. Companies like Inov-8 have designed shoes with a lower heel to toe differential. They design shoes around the natural function of the human body’s bio-mechanics.
The F-Lite 195 weighs in at 6.2 oz for a woman’s size 8 and 7 oz for a man’s size 9. The F-Lite has the ‘S STICKY’, a
specially developed sole using rock climbing sole technology to optimize grip in wet conditions. The 195 features a 3mm differential between the forefoot and heel, which ensures that the foot remains close to the ground for stability and natural positioning. This shoe also has a performance fit, which ensures minimal internal movement while ascending or descending various terrains. The lightweight and breathable mesh fabric allows the foot to breath while it forces water out through the mesh.
Inov-8 has designed a Fascia-Band; this is important when choosing minimal technology as this is an area of injury when runners scale down from heavy traditional shoes. The foot’s plantar fascia ligament structure acts like a large, strong bowstring, creating a tension along its length from the front of the heel to the ball of the foot in order to maintain the structure of the arch and help convert the foot to a rigid propulsive lever. When we take a step, our foot impacts on the ground and the tension along the plantar fascia ligament increases as the heel lifts from the ground. As the toes begin to extend and the heel raises further, tension on the plantar fascia increases until it carries the entire body weight of the runner. This increase in tension is often referred to the “windlass effect.”
Originating at the heel, the Fascia-Band extends forward along the sole and divides, just as the human fascia divides, into five bands that terminate anterior to the metatarsal heads. As body weight moves forward onto the metatarsal heads and the toes begin to extend, tension on the Fascia-Band increases, just as it does in the plantar fascia structure. When the heel leaves the ground, the Fascia-Band resists elongation of the medial arch and carries the entire body weight of the runner converting the shoe into a rigid propulsive lever.
Inov-8 is a leader in minimalist technology and will shatter established thinking. They look at the foot in its natural state – barefoot. There is no support, posting, gel, zones or air cushioning; the foot is flat to the ground with no raised heel. All unnecessary structure has been removed, with every shoe being neutral based on the anatomical shape of your foot. They are also highly flexible and allow your toes to splay naturally with each stride.
Inov-8 is unique as it recognizes that switching to a minimalist shoe overnight is risky business. Inov-8 is one of the only running brands to offer a range of shoes that allow you to make a gradual transition to a more natural running style, which is associated with significantly less injury rates. Inov-8 road running shoes provide four different levels of cushioning (Shoc-Zone 0 to 3) and varying differential ( 0 – 9mm – the difference in height between the heel and forefoot). As you reduce the level of cushioning and differential, the foot eventually gets closer to its optimum natural running position.
Look forward to some great new Inov-8 shoes at Foot Tools
March of 2012 in store now! We have the BARE-XT 210, a shoe for serious crossfitters with a sticky rubber sole and low heel that provides a strong base for lifting weights and the 1 piece TPU lacing support provides durability on the shoe when climbing ropes. Don’t forget to also check out our current selection of Inov-8 shoes. We have the BARE-X 200, F-Lite 195 and the F-Lite 230. These shoes will give you a sense of freedom that will allow you to move the way your body was designed to move!