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Meb in Skechers vs. Meb in Nikes

January 4th, 2012

Meb Keflezighi is an Olympic medallist and a New York Marathon champ. So when he signed with Skechers last summer, observers were… surprised. The company’s new “Go-Run” line promises to make you switch to a mid-foot strike: “The Way You’re Supposed to Run.”

So does it work?

Krista Austin, an exercise physiologist and longtime friend of Meb’s (read about her role in “rebuilding Meb” before his 2009 New York win here), points out this opportunity to compare strides. Here’s Meb in Nikes:

And here’s Meb in Skechers:

Can you see a difference? Any improvement?

  1. January 4th, 2012 at 22:59 | #1

    Looks identical to me.

  2. alex
    January 4th, 2012 at 23:12 | #2

    I guess the real test would have been to not label the videos!

    For what it’s worth, I tried to check cadence. For a section of 30 steps at 2:05 mark of the Nike video, I get a cadence of 195. For a section of 60 steps at the 1:40 mark of the Skechers video, I get a cadence of 198. But that doesn’t really tell us anything, because we don’t know what pace he’s running (and cadence, as I’ve ranted before, depends on pace).

  3. KP
    January 4th, 2012 at 23:59 | #3

    I think with something like this you see what you want to see. What would really be interesting would be a high speed camera from fixed point overlayed like Dartfish – then we’d really be able to determine a difference.

    Wishful thinking on her part?

  4. January 5th, 2012 at 00:13 | #4

    He’s clearly heel-striking in the Skechers.

  5. Rich
    January 5th, 2012 at 01:05 | #5

    Well, the weather improved…

  6. Dave
    January 5th, 2012 at 02:45 | #6

    Agree that a fixed camera with overlay might tell a better tale BUT either way his heel hits the ground similarly regardless of shoe and quite frankly there are times when he is running up/down a gradual hill and that may change body posture / pace / cadence ….

  7. John
    January 5th, 2012 at 04:11 | #7

    His stride looks longer in the second video, but I can’t tell for sure that he has a greater heel strike in that video. It seems like both videos are pretty well mid foot.

  8. Steve P
    January 5th, 2012 at 05:04 | #8

    I guess we’ll have a little better idea if it matters in about 10 days.

  9. January 5th, 2012 at 07:23 | #9

    Meb’s stride length looks slightly shorter and he appears more upright in his stance – both in Skechers…

  10. Andrew Webber
    January 5th, 2012 at 10:15 | #10

    Those bikes are rubbish, that’s for sure. Don’t see much difference from that footage.

  11. January 5th, 2012 at 13:27 | #11

    He appears to have aged by a couple years. Did the shoes do that?


  12. MD
    January 5th, 2012 at 16:03 | #12

    I watched the videos before reading the summary, and to my eye his stride appears to be more mid-foot strike with the skechers; his shoulders and chest seem more restricted and his arm swing seems tighter, too. changing one’s stride does change things up a bit…is this a good thing? (as an aside, I remember seeing an article in the NYT about Sara Hall, about her dynamic warm-up and about how she changed her stride in hopes of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics…her performance fell off, she suffered injury, and she didn’t make the team. coincidence? http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/17/fashion/17fitness.html?ref=fashion

  13. alex
    January 5th, 2012 at 16:40 | #13

    I should have realized that Pete Larson of Runblogger was all over this topic way back in November! He’s got high-speed video of before-and-after Meb, which allows him to extract frame-grabs of the moment of foot contact:

    Still no particularly definitive verdict… but it’s easier to parse than the videos above.

    As for the benefits of changing biomechanics, that a complicated and controversial debate. One thing is clear (to me, at least), though. You run slightly differently depending on what shoe you’re wearing. So there’s no doubt that Meb’s stride will be altered by switching to a different shoe. Is it altered enough to make a significant difference? Who knows. Is it altered in precisely the way Skechers claims it will be altered? Again, who knows. But if you’ve been struggling with injuries and don’t know what to do, sometimes change — any change — is worth a try.

  14. January 5th, 2012 at 17:26 | #14

    To me, it looks like Meb is dorsi-flexing and heel striking more in the Skechers than in the Nikes.

  15. January 5th, 2012 at 19:07 | #15

    Are the bikes used for drafting, pacing, or both?

  16. January 5th, 2012 at 23:44 | #16

    Oh no, people are going to think it’s all about the shoes!
    the Nike Streak XC are sketchers are quite similar. Might be 3 mm difference in the heel

  17. Wouter
    January 6th, 2012 at 18:46 | #17

    In the second video he’s heel striking more, in the first he pulls up de knee higher, midfoot landing, point of gravity more in front of the body.

  18. January 7th, 2012 at 00:02 | #18

    @Mike LaChapelle

    That’s because he is. In the Nikes, he was much closer to midfoot but in the Sketchers, he’s clearly rear striking even at a faster pace. The first thing I noticed was that in the Sketchers, he effectively looked to be pounding his feet straight into the pavement, whereas in the Nikes, he used the midfoot to land more evenly.

  19. Simon M
    January 21st, 2012 at 06:03 | #19

    In the frames that ive been able to stop on its looks like the sketchers are marginally less heal strike but the thing i found more interesting is that he keeps his feet under himself more in the sketchers, he is pushing forwards more and pulling less. Also he brings his feet up higher in sketchers

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