Danny Dreyer Responds to "A Popular Myth About Running Injuries" - Chi Running

Danny Dreyer Responds to “A Popular Myth About Running Injuries”

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Fri Jun 28th, 2013, 9 comments

An article in the NYTimes today by Gretchen Reynolds talks about some interesting results from a study of 1000 NON-runners who were given a pair of lightweight, neutral shoes and told to run for a year. They were asked to wear a GPS watch and report any injuries. The findings of the study imply that wearing a neutral shoe could actually be safer than wearing a shoe that professes to "help" your condition.

In my Chi Running training classes I always get asked about which shoes work best. My immediate response is always the same: the shoe that feels the most comfortable. I say that because it will be the shoe that does the LEAST in terms of altering what your foot would naturally do. I'm glad the scientific community is now up to speed with common sense and that the shoe companies are, once again, exposed for having marketing plans that care more about their bottom line than the health and safety of runners. This is exactly the type of study that the running shoe companies SHOULD have been doing all along for all models of their shoes. If you have to use one criteria on which to base your purchase of a shoe, I'd have to say, "Buy the most comfortable one." If your shoes aren't comfortable, chances are someone sold you the wrong shoe.

In addition to my answer about which shoes to buy, I always use the caveat that it's NEVER the shoe that, in the end, makes a better runner. It's how the runner runs. If you run in a way that will hurt your body, you'll get injured. Don't blame it on your shoes. When I was first learning to be a woodworker, a mentor once told me a quote I'll never forget. "It's a poor workman who blames his tools."

Go for comfort combined with skill and you'll be a happy runner.

Read the original article from the NY Times Well Blog here


  • running technique

9 CommentsLeave a comment below

Jane Lambert Jun 28th, 2013 10:07am

This is true.  I bought a new pair of fancy zero-drop, minimal shoes (Innovate), then ran a Half marathon with them.  My calves were SCREAMING at me for the next week, so I blamed the shoes.  But, it wasn’t the shoes.  It was my poor running style that caused my calves to run for me, causing stress on both my calves and then plantar.  Chi Running has saved me in many ways.  Thanks Danny (and Beth, my Chi-Running Coach!)

Nancy Nelson Jun 28th, 2013 07:59pm

I agree that taking the time to learn the ChiRunning focuses and not worrying about speed is key!!!  I ran my first marathon in a minimums shoe after training for 3 years going over my ChiRunning guides.  I ran it in 4:11.  I am 59 and I loved the whole experience!  Training for my 2nd marathon still love my minimums shoe and ChiRunning!  Can’t wait to take a class from the master Danny!

Thanks for your comments. Technique is the key, no matter what is(or is not)on your feet. Congrats to you both and hope to see you when I visit your area.

Pegruns/walks2 Jul 23rd, 2013 07:28am

I don’t blame the shoes either, I think it has to do with your running Mechanics. Years ago I thought I had to wear the heavier clunky Motion control shoes even though they are a few oz’s heavier,they could possibly effect one’s running over all?  Now days I wear more lighter stability or neutral shoes, sure they help some, but it’s still all in how your running/running mechanics that effect if your having more injuries or not. You can’t take for granted that your doing it right? You really have to be aware of how your running.  My issues were really about running way too slow, because I was told the slower you go the more injury free you will be?  instead I was feeling more pain.  I think you have to learn to run at a more steadier pace so that your not pounding your self into the ground… Now that I’m switching back to do the Chi running technique, I noticed a huge Difference…no Pain! I’m rediscovering my running in a new light of Chi running   Thanks, Danny!

Hi I’ve been chi running from your book for a year as I hadaAchilles tendonitis for 8 of my 21 running years but I still have it. The chi running has got me back up to 90 minute runs but I have to stop and vigourously massage my Achilles for a few seconds every 20 minutes in order to keep going.
I’ve allways worn assics basic running shoes but my feet turn in from the injury.
Can you give me any advise please.


I’m not convinced it’s that simple. Different ramp angles have a serious effect on posture and stride and “comfortable” can be very subjective. People are comfortable heel striking in Nikes and this “comfort” is the problem. Its a bit like comfort eating!

I love all of the zero drop shoes that our out there.  I currently run in the road gloves 2 by Merrell and feel like the zero drop in the shoes really lets the foot function naturally.

Trigger points in the calves can mimic achilles tendon problems. When I get sore achilles tendons there are always trigger points to find and after a few days of massage the tendon problems are gone. Get ‘Trigger Point Therapy Workbook’ by Davies. The best $20 you will spend at Amazon.It may not be your problem but it is worth a shot.Barefoot running also helps, but take it real slow.

If I do chi running the way it is intended is a 10 mm heel to toe drop going to worsen my technique?

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