The Next Big Step in Running Shoes?

The On Running Shoe is meant to combat the problems created by over-soft shoes that make your support muscles degrade.

on running shoe

Running shoes now feature all manner of crazy shock-absorption systems. But the industry's dirty little secret: All that padding might not be good for you. A new shoe being released in February attempts to solve that problem, and has just won an ISPO Brand New award, a German laurel that recognizes the year's most innovative sports products.

According to the inventors of the On Running Shoe, the problem with modern running shoes is that when you hit the ground on a big cushy sole, you don't have a solid surface to push off from with your next step. As a result, some of your support muscles atrophy, due to lack of use—and that leaves you prone to injury.

The On, by contrast, has a sole that collapses on impact, offering cushioning. But teeth in the shock absorbers—which are shaped like a piece of rigatoni—lock when fully compressed. That offers you a solid base from which to push off of:

That certainly looks a whole lot more comfortable and a lot less embarrassing than running barefoot—or worse, running in the Vibram Five Fingers, a sort of padded sock that's become the rage among barefoot runners. (I've spotted three people in my neighborhood sporting these. That's bougie Brooklyn for you. The shoes are also apparently all over San Francisco, natch.)

The On Running Shoe is expected to cost about $150, and the final design will be unveiled when it comes to market, two months from now.

For more of this year's ISPO winners—which include the Bamboo Bike Studio, which we previously featured—check the Web site.

[Via Gizmag and Treehugger]

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  • Marcus

    This pair of shoes is cool! I like the design, very stylish. But, I still go for the quality rather than the style. Well, if you're into running you really need to buy a high quality running shoes.


  • Alex Cue

    Vibram Five Fingers have changed the way I run...and I no longer hate running. Are we still in junior high? Does it matter what anyone else thinks about me when I run? These shoes look cool, but I'll take my Sprints over these any day. Plus, I've noticed my stabilizer muscles get very strong when I run in Vibrams for a while..something I doubt this could achieve as effectively.

  • Justin Lowery

    Running barefoot feels great, and is certainly not embarrassing in any way. Fivefingers look great, in my opinion, and apparently in many others as well, as they sell really well, and generate tons of compliments when worn.

    These people seem to have missed the boat entirely on barefoot running. These shoes have a ton of cushioning and don't emulate barefoot running at all. Like the others said, they are obviously designed to look flashy and impressive to people used to conventional running shoes, and who have some bizarre aversion to running naturally, as God intended. Nevertheless, I'm sure they'll sell well, with all of the Nike, Adidas & Brooks foot-coffin wearing runners out there just waiting to snap them up.

  • Michael Blanchard

    As Mr. Kuang points out, clearly looking cool is the most important thing when running, so clearly wearing Vibrams or nothing is out of the question, since god forbid anyone see anything that resembles a human foot attached to the end of your leg.

    Looking ridiculous, feeling great, and loving running in Los Angeles