Sharing our love of running, cooking, and the beauty of Western North Carolina...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Heel to Toe Drop Measurements of Running Shoes

Aaron, co-owner of FootRx Asheville, and I had a very interesting conversation last week about the non-existence of an industry standard for the measurement of heel to toe drop on running shoes. With the boom in minimalist running shoes, “drop” has become the latest buzz word in the running community.  Some shoe makers measure the drop of the shoe from the back of the heel to the tippy toes, some measure from the middle of the heel to the ball of the foot, and some measure to the middle of the toes.  Because of the different measuring methods, it is a bit deceiving for the buyer when they are trying to find a shoe with a 3 mm drop, or whatever their preference might be. How is the consumer to know what is really comparable. Are they really looking at “apples to apples” or “apples to oranges” when it comes to comparing the drop of various shoes?

The Altra shoe makers appear to measure heel to toe drop from the forward 

portion of the heel to the forefoot

The other thing that becomes a factor is shoe cushioning.   For example, a shoe like the Hoka Stinson, which has approx a 4 mm drop, has a substantial amount of cushioning.  Because of that cushioning, a runner with a normal body weight of approximately 150 lbs will, in most cases, end up having a zero drop when that runner’s foot meets the road, thus the foot will level out almost immediately on impact.  So for practical purposes, when running, high cushioning with limited drop (3 -5 mm) will result in a zero drop shoe in most instances

Inov8 shoe makers appear to measure heel to toe drop from the back of the heel to the forefoot

Another example, is the zero drop shoe which the “Altra” is famous for.  Altra shoes are really made for someone that has a mid-foot landing where the foot lands immediately under their body, not out in front, and where the leg is only used for support and not for power.  It’s the center of mass and leaning factor that gives the forward momentum.  It is for a runner that is NOT “toeing off” appreciably.   So, it depends on the runner, and how the runner propels themselves.  A runner that propels off the toe will be more concerned as to what kind of drop they have going through the toe portion of the shoe.  The Hoka shoe, basically rolls off from the ball of the foot forward to the toe.  It’s difficult to “toe off” in the Hoka for the simple reason of the dramatic roll off they have due to the “Rocker Sole”. The Hoka is also made for the “support and lean” type of runner.

On the left, we have the Newtons with the forefoot "gizmo", and on the right, the Hoko's Rocker Bottom.
How does anyone measure the heel to toe drop on these? 

So there you have it.  There's all kinds of heel to toe drop heights on shoes and no industry standard for which to measure them. The best recommendation is when purchasing your running shoes get advice from a knowledgeable running store staff member, try the shoes on, and see what works best for your running style.

Run Happy!



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

If You Want To Run Like A Kid, Run With Kids!

Every now and then to get a few extra miles in, we stay within the confines of our small community. Usually our neighbor's two children are outside playing when we do, and they always want to join us for a run. The kids really make this extra fun for us. The deal is that we set the distance, and they set the workout. 

Workout 1: Chase me
Workout 2: Who can make it to grandpa's truck first
Workout 3: You can't catch me
Workout 4: Let's see who's faster
Workout 5: Race you to your front door
Workout 6: Let's run backwards

These workouts are usually mixed with rest breaks either at the mail center, or at the bench under the tree in the cul-de-sac. We take time to look at bugs and sticks and have conversations about school and pets. By far, these are the most fun runs we ever have...

Boys never hold still long enough to get a good picture :-)

Happy Running!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Easy Asparagus Soup

We love asparagus soup, but for some reason, always thought it would be a long drawn out, complicated process to make. Today we decided to give it a try since we already had all the ingredients in the house. Much to our delight, this recipe was super easy and delicious! Definitely a keeper! 

3 cups of asparagus (1 bunch)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons of butter
2 cups milk
pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon flour

Start by washing the asparagus and removing the hard ends of the stems.
Combine asparagus, vegetable broth, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme in medium pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer low for 15 minutes

Remove bay leaf. Carefully blend mixture until smooth using an immersion blender (You can use a blender, but be very careful with the hot liquid. Return liquid to pot)

Add butter, milk and nutmeg, stir and continue to simmer on low

In a separate small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of water into flour, blend well with a whisk. (This is Grandma's secret to thicken soup. Remember put flour in bowl first then add water. It won't mix properly the other way around). Add to soup mixture. Mix well.

That's all there is to it, enjoy!