Dear Jim

I was interested to read that Brooks are releasing a line of minimalist running shoes later this year. However I was disappointed by your company's rationale for doing so.

Following trends is commercially sensible but is it a better strategy than simply striving to make good shoes?

Surely given your company's standing within the technical running shoe market you could dedicate the meagre resources required to find out which of your shoes is actually the best and then strive to improve it? 

Clearly this would require you to find out what effect your shoes have on injury rates and distance running performance. And no, you can't answer these questions on a rainy day in a gait analysis laboratory, no matter how expensive the equipment.

You have teased us with the announcement that you have recruited Professors Hamill and Bruggeman to your cause, but unless you utilise their considerable expertise to perform randomised longitududinal studies following runners over many years and measuring their injury rates and performance, you are paying for marketing not science.

Perhaps you don't want to know if your company's shoes are any good? I suspect you do, but are too frightened to find out.

If this is the case, then I suggest you take your inspiration from the runners who make your company strong. They are not afraid of a little pain if it means they achieve their long-term goals. They know that its exactly this pain that makes the end achievement worthwhile.

If you have the guts to commit your company to making good running shoes rather than shoes merely designed with good intentions, then perhaps you should give me a call. Hell, you don't even need to call me- just send me the shoes and I will do the studies for free as a service to the running community.

yours sincerely


Dr Craig Richards