When I walked into the Akron Marathon expo and saw people running on treadmills, barefoot, with sensors hooked up to their legs…I was totally intrigued. I was not aware that Brooks Running planned to make a stop at the Akron Marathon on their Run Signature tour!
So, what is this Run Signature that I speak of? If you’re a cheesy academic nerd like me, you can read the white paper and bask in the glory of aligned margins, science, and perfect house style. If you want a quick rundown, though…Brooks Run Signature is a professional gait analysis that takes into account foot strike, pronation, and the type of goals runners have set. After the analysis, a Brooks Professional recommends 2-3 models of Brooks running shoes.
Obviously, we must fill in some gaps.
Part 1: The iPad. You’ll begin your analysis by filling out basic information about weekly mileage, age, gender, etc. You’re also asked to provide some basic contact information. This took about 5 minutes or less.
Part 2: The Senors. Sensors are placed on the back of the ankles, the lower leg, and the upper leg. The ankle sensors stick to your bare skin; the other sensors are similar to IT band compression straps. PS: You have to take your shoes off.
Part 3: The Knee Bends. You will stand on a treadmill and do 4-5 knee bends as someone watches you and takes notes about pronation.
Part 4: The Run. You will run at a slow pace for a few minutes as an iPad records you an examines your stride and foot strike.
Part 5: The Recommendations. A rep hands you a post-card sized document with recommendations for shoes, and you can ask as many questions as you’d like.
I did all of this, and I thought it was really cool – until they insisted that I not need a supportive shoe. Mind you, I walked into the expo and the first booth I looked for was KT Tape so I could have my achilles taped because I made the dumb mistake of finishing my training in neutral shoes.
I nicely inquired how the Brooks reps came to their conclusion, and they said that my knee bends clearly showed that I did not pronate at all. I was shocked – I just took a slow motion video myself, three days prior, and I was definitely pronating. Not a ton, but enough to matter! However, they told me that supportive shoes actually caused the achilles issue…
Eh. I took their recommendations, though, and went to the Brooks tent at the expo. They were out of all three recommended pairs of shoes. I had to buy shoes…I was wearing the same Asics I trained in and wore in the Akron half marathon the year before. There was no doubt that there were tons and tons of miles on them. So, I took a stroll over the the Akron Second Sole tent and asked their opinion…
“You definitely pronate a bit.” DUH. I bought my New Balance 860v6, a pair of supportive shoes, and fell in love (although we are still in the honeymoon stage…anyone who knows me and how I am with shoes will understand that statement…).
All in all, I give the Brooks Run Signature experience a 4/5 for the following reasons:
- It’s probably one of the most thorough, free gait analysis experiences out there
- You kind of feel like an elite with all the sensors and the iPads and the attention!
- They give you options regarding which shoes to pick.
- The attention is individualized and focused; everyone has to wait their turn.
- I don’t know how reliable the data is – I need a supportive shoe; always have.
What is your experience with the Brooks Run Signature tour? It’s definitely a cool thing to partake in!