Pouring fuel on the fire, this press release is not helpful.

Very.. very rarely do I make a specific commentary on a particular shoe or shoe company as you all are aware.

And often I really have to bite my tongue.

But on this occasion, I really think there needs to be some discussion, because rarely have I seen or read an article that is such blatant marketing schtick, with no evidence for statement or qualification/quantification of the numbers presented.

The reason I feel compelled to comment is that over the years I have, many times, been told that running shoe companies are only about marketing and only care about selling shoes.

The industry is a soft target.

I have worked at the research, design and development end of the athletic footwear industry, and I know it is about a lot more than just selling shoes.

Often we go to extraordinary lengths to try to figure out what might protect the athlete and improve performance.

A lot of time and a lot of money is spent trying to achieve these things.. and, over the 30 odd years I have been in the industry I have tried to remain vigilant and make sure that statements made could be backed up with the science of the day (which may not be the science of today).

A little way back, Sneaker Freaker dubbed me the "Bullshit Detector", a title I wear with great pride to this day!

So, I found a recent press release incredibly unhelpful, because it gives ammunition to those who say it is just marketing.

And that has a knock on effect for everyone who is working hard for the benefit of the athlete.

The offending item was a press release from yesterday proclaiming:

"ASICS UNVEILS GEL-KAYANO™ 26 AND FOOT MAPPING DATA TO DEMONSTRATE NEED FOR STABILITY SHOE"

Now many of you know I worked for ASICS for many years, and I promise you, a statement like this on my watch would have gone out over my dead body!

Let's take a look at what has been said, and challenge ASICS to give us some answers!

  1. It seems clear that the "data' presented is directly linked to the new Kayano 26, a shoe the company describes as a "stability shoe". So, question number one is, how does ASICS define "stability"?
  2. Next, the official press report makes the following (outrageous) statement

 

"Marking the launch of the GEL-KAYANO™ 26 shoe, ASICS reveals that of approximately 90,000 [1] runners who participated in ASICS FOOT ID system, 43% have a degree of pronation and could be risking injury without a stability shoe."

3. 43% have "a degree of pronation"??? What does that mean? But to make it look official, it is referenced with a '1'.

The reference straight from the press release is as follows: "[1] 43% of approximately 90,000 male and female runners analysed over a five-year period in ASICS retail stores in the US, Japan and Europe."

Well I am really sorry, but I am going to need a LOT more information than that!

4. "could be risking injury without a stability shoe"????? Show me one single piece of evidence to back up this statement please.

5. And here is the official definition of  Overpronation: Your foot lands on outside of heel, then heel rolls inward excessively.

   

I mean really.. show us your benchmarking ASICS....tell us what overpronation is based on your 90,000 measurements.

Now I am sorry, but to package this as scientific data, when in fact it is just a marketing exercise to promote a shoe does not cut the mustard in 2019.

It may be that useful, even valuable data has been collected that will help us to understand the terms bandied about.

Personally.. I want to see the data.. I want to and need to see the numbers, and, if ASICS really do have an explanation of, or definition for 'overpronation", let's hear it!

ASICS is a great and proud brand with an excellent heritage of innovation and quality.. yesterday's press release has not been at all helpful to underline this history.

You may read the full press release here.

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical

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