If you are one of the millions of people on this planet who walk, you may think you know all there is to it. One foot in front of the other, right? Well, not so FAST. As soon as you pick up the pace, you may be challenged to rethink how your body moves and the shoes that help in the process.
Most of us walk heel-toe with a bent knee, and know that picking up the pace creates an awesome low-impact cardio workout. Call them what you like: “fitness walkers”, “speed walkers”, “power walkers” or “striders”, but don’t call them “race walkers” because Olympic-style race walking has its own set of rules.
Race walkers have a signature gait which is evidenced by their straight-legged stride. The knee of the advancing leg must be in a straightened position upon heel contact and must remain straight until the hip passes over that same foot. This style creates a lever between the foot, ankle and hip that allows walkers to generate more speed than bent kneed walkers. Some race walkers clock 6:30 – 7:00 minutes per mile and can be mistaken for runners by those who are unfamiliar with the sport. Which brings me to rule number two: race walkers are required to maintain contact with the ground during judged competition, or they will be disqualified. Technically that means a heel or toe needs to be touching the ground throughout the entire stride. However, race walk events are judged by the human eye and not high speed cameras, so competitors can get away with a flight time of about 1/400th of a second.
Irrespective of the type of cardio walking you choose, levers between joints and limbs will be at work to propel you forward. With that in mind, Reshod Walking Shoes, LLC set out to create a zero drop midsole that uses angled foam materials to work with the foot to provide a smoother ride than midsoles with horizontal and vertical platforms. Initially, two styles will be offered.
The race/distance training shoe will be comprised of three main segments acting as a fulcrum and lever to help pivot the foot and shift the hips into a better angle for a powerful toe-off. The angle of each foam piece is steeper than the fitness/occupational version, which has only two main segments that work off each other to cushion and pivot the foot in a slower motion.
The fitness/occupational style offers cushioning and support for all-day use or in occupational situations where running is inappropriate but employees need to move at a brisk pace.
The third style is still in the development phase and will be suited to race walkers who race indoors, distances less than 10k or at a pace of 180-240 steps per minute. Stay tuned!
Get FIT, have FUN, walk FAST!