Feb | 8
Brooks Athletes, Inspiration

Pete Humphrey, Brooks VP of Footwear R&D, on Injury Prevention

Wow! I just read through all the comments on Jim’s recent blog post …what an amazing conversation we’re having on running. I love to see all of this passion and energy around our sport and what we care the most about at Brooks: the run.

As a career long R&D guy, this is particularly exciting to me as it gives my team more opportunity to learn, grow, and explore new methods and technologies that will ultimately allow the runner to run farther, faster, more efficiently, and healthier.

Many of you have asked about research (or lack thereof) regarding the benefits of shod vs. unshod running. One way or the other, show me the proof, right?! Well, while no one has been able to prove whether running with or without shoes causes more injury, we at Brooks have been and will continue to develop and conduct prospective and retrospective studies around running injury prevention. We’re dedicated to reducing running injury risk and have aligned ourselves with some of the top researchers and universities from around the world to help us tackle this. These types of research projects take some time, but we’re making progress and we expect to make some big strides forward this year. Be sure to stay tuned for updates and keep us posted on your thoughts, comments and suggestions!

Keep Running,


About Sunny
I'm a runner, writer, and traveler who loves running half marathons. I live in Seattle with my much faster husband and two rescue cats. I also have an inexplicable affection for otters.
  1. Ali


    I see much of the blogs on shoes have been about running with or with out shoes, and the new shoes that have been released. With this in mind, I would like to know when the Infiniti 2 for women will be updated or at least release new colors. It has been over a year since the Infiniti 2 has been released, but the color remains the same. I love the Infiniti, however a new color and/or update is drastically needed. I can not justify spending over $125.00 for shoes that has not been updated in over a year. Most brands at least provide their customers with a new color within six months of a shoes release, even if they do not update the shoe. If you want to keep and add customers, you should provide more choices.

  2. Camille H

    Does this mean Brooks might come out with a shoe with no heel lift (a la, in support of the recent and thorough Harvard study)? How fantastic would that be!

  3. pete


    Thanks for showing some love to the Infiniti 2. The fit and the forefoot feel make this one of my favorites as well. We have actually been getting a lot of requests lately for more color options and this is something that the merchandising team is working on as they set the line. The colors on the Infiniti 2 will hold through the Spring 10 season but we will be working on delivering more color options throughout our line in the near future. Thanks for asking.

  4. pete


    We are building and testing all kinds of products in our core range as well as our FC range with the goal of reducing the risk of running injury. In fact, we have 2 of the top researchers in the field in our office this week working with the team to further develop our research and prospective/ retrospective studies.
    Whether or not we bring it to market will depend on how well it works. As my good friend Andre likes to say “If we learned that we can reduce injuries by putting the left shoe on the right foot and vice versa we would do just that.”

  5. aaron


    I’m no doctor or researcher, but I can give you my experience from over a decade of running. I used to struggle to run over 40 miles a week in high-heeled stability trainers. Last year I learned to barefoot, and now run in XC flats and VFF a couple times a week, 50-60 miles a week with far less fatigue and so far no injury.

    When transitioning from barefoot to shod running, I tried many shoes, from XC flats to 12 oz trainers. I found that the greater the heel rise of the shoe, the more difficult it was for me to transfer my smooth, non-bouncing barefoot stride to shod running. I tried 4 different pairs of my old shoes: it wasn’t the cushioning, or pronation control, it was the level of heel rise.

    Humans naturally run with a midfoot strike, and once you learn how to run barefoot, the high-heel of running shoes makes it very difficult to maintain this form. When I wear XC flats without heels, this transition is effortless, and I can run back to back 12 mile days and still feel fresher than I ever did when I was younger and running less.

    I’m not evangelical about barefooting, I just want to share my experience.

    And, of course, beat a dead horse one last time: Make a shoe without an elevated heel – not one millimeter – and runners will learn how to run smoothly, without bouncing, and with a natural mid-foot-ish strike. Yeah, I can continue to buy XC flats, but I’d like to see more options, and I’d like to see runners educated about them.

    My proof is my feet. And my stockyish, eurasian build churning out miles as smoothly and effortlessly as a barefoot Kenyan.


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