Running shoes with gel technology have completely changed how I experience running. On one of my visits to the chiropractor, we started having a conversation about the importance of posture and balance for spine health. The chiropractor, an avid runner, shared his excellent experience with his new gel shoes and suggested that it might be a direction worth exploring.
After initial hesitance due to the priceyness, I gave it a shot and there has been absolutely no looking back. Little did I know that so much thought and research goes into understanding the running experience and tailoring technology to help improve the experience. Having had an exposure to a cargo-cult mockup would definitely not have convinced me. I would have doubted the claims made by a gel insertions and stretchable fabric no matter how well explained. Even the gizmodo video below would have had a hard time convincing me –
It is only after actually experiencing it for myself did I realize how it felt when gel absorbed and dispersed the energy from the shock and prevented it from transmitting up to my back. As a result, I do not feel tired after long walk and runs.
In this context, Blauvelt’s Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life resonated with me the most out of all the readings. It is very true in the case of my gel shoes that “design is both invisible and conspicuous, familiar and strange. It surrounds us while fading from view, becoming second nature and yet seemingly unknowable.”
My back had improved a lot and I wear my Asics Gel Running shoes every single day and cannot imagine my long walks and runs without them. If I could have it my way, I would have this technology in all my shoes.