Geoff Burns, PhD on the Science of Super Shoes

With the introduction of so-called “super shoes” in recent years, world record times have continued to fall. Since these shoes are here to stay, how can you use them to benefit your training and racing?

Success in running comes most consistently from the unglamorous, daily commitment to putting in the time and miles. Nevertheless, it’s in our nature to look for a quick fix to give us a performance boost.  

The progression of running shoe technology over the past several years has been astounding, as world records continue to fall at a variety of distances. But learning how and when to use these shoes in your training – if at all – can determine whether they help or hinder your performance.

Geoff Burns discusses super shoes in today’s episode. He’s helping us understand the changes in regulations in running footwear, as the industry figures out how to handle the performance impact of these “super shoes.” His understanding of the technology, from both a personal and professional perspective, is uniquely informative.

Geoff has competed at the highest levels of ultrarunning and was the 2016 US national champion at 100km, where he ran 6:30 (a championship record). He competed at the collegiate level for the University of Michigan, and went on to represent the USA over the 50km and 100km distances, and finished 5th at both the 2016 and 2018 IAU 100km World Championships.

Geoff is not only a standout elite runner, but also has degrees in biomedical engineering and kinesiology with a PhD from the University of Michigan. Geoff has published on a variety of topics in running, and his research focuses on running, physiology, biomechanics, and sport performance. 

This week’s podcast delves into the science of super shoes, including what has made them such a useful tool for both elite and amateur runners and how you can use them to your own benefit. The episode is unique because all the questions that Geoff answers came directly from Jason’s Twitter community.  

Geoff Burns on How to Run in Super Shoes

Runners at any level can benefit from variety in their training – whether it’s pace, terrain, or gear – and shoes with new technology may be one more way to add constructive changes to your routine. For some, they will fit right into their daily runs and workouts, while others may need to introduce them more gradually.

Like any change to your training, runners should introduce the variable of new shoes slowly and deliberately. Because they impact the way your body (especially your feet and ankles) interacts with the surface you’re running on, it may take some time to get used to the new feel.

On the podcast, Geoff Burns discusses super shoes and their practical application to your running and racing. Twitter followers posed a number of great questions that Geoff answers in-depth, including

  • What types of runners will benefit most from these types of shoes?
  • At what distances are super shoes most beneficial?
  • Can (and should?) you still use an insert in shoes with carbon plates?
  • Do shoes with carbon plates increase your injury risk?
  • How should these types of shoes be used?  Every day?  For racing only?  Or something in between?
  • What is the longevity of these shoes?
  • What is the future of this technology?  How will these super shoes become even better?

If you’re looking to add a shoe with new technology into your rotation, you won’t want to miss this discussion!

Subscribe to the podcast in Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

Links & Resources from the Show:

Thank You InsideTracker!


Our show is supported by our longtime sponsor InsideTracker. Today, more than ever, it’s essential that we’re making the right decisions to keep our bodies healthy. To help us be resilient, prevent over-training, and optimize our running to get the most from it.

InsideTracker is the ultra-personalized nutrition platform that analyzes your blood and DNA biomarkers along with your lifestyle habits to help you optimize your body and reach your goals.

InsideTracker’s patented system will transform your body’s data into knowledge, insights, and a customized action plan of science-backed recommendations. The data can help you determine whether you’re running too much, not enough, or have some other issues that could be affecting your recovery or performance.

I’ve had my own blood drawn with InsideTracker several times and have been amazed at the valuable information that they provide. Not only are the results very detailed, but they also share guidance for how to improve any markers that are out of range.

If you’re ready to take control of your health and optimize your training, InsideTracker offers a selection of plans that best suit your needs with a limited time 25% discount.

Thank you Elemental Labs!

A big thanks to Elemental Labs for their support of this episode! They make electrolyte drinks for athletes and low-carb folks with no sugar, artificial ingredients, or colors. And you can get a free sampler pack of 4 flavors and 8 individual packets when you pay $5 in shipping.

Elemental Labs’ products have some of the highest sodium concentrations that you can find. Anybody who runs a lot knows that sodium, as well as other electrolytes like magnesium and potassium, are essential to our performance and how we feel throughout the day.

The citrus flavor has quickly become my favorite. I’m drinking one a day now to help me get enough fluids in our dry Colorado air. It’s tasty and delicious and I find that I’m not peeing every 45 minutes throughout the day, which might be an indication I wasn’t eating enough sodium.

There’s now mounting evidence that higher sodium intake levels are not unhealthy – and athletes need substantially more than your typical sedentary person. Of course, ask your doctor if you’re worried. But for those athletes running outside in the heat, an electrolyte replacement makes a lot of sense.

They just released their first new flavor of 2021, their most requested flavor, watermelon salt. So check out Elemental Labs to try their new flavor or get a free sampler pack. 

Get Stronger & Run Healthy

Join our free course to help you better prevent injuries, develop runner-specific strength, and avoid the big mistakes that get runners hurt