Natural vs Conventional Running Styles

When it comes to running, the single most important item of kit is your running shoes. If you pick the wrong type, make or fit then you can be in a world of trouble as you are inviting anything from blisters to tendonitis and even in some cases stress fractures and joint damage.

Not all running shoes are the same and they can be split into two broad categories. Conventional running shoes have a large amount of cushioning and control mechanisms, whereas natural trainers tend to have a flatter profile and be lighter. This article is going to explain the difference between each type of trainer as well as recommending some different models that come under each camp.

Conventional Running Shoes
As already mentioned, conventional running shoes have a thicker heel. This is to accommodate a large amount of cushioning with the belief that the greater the cushioning the greater the shoes ability to absorb the stresses and shocks that running can generate. It is there stresses and shocks that can in turn lead to those nasty injures that can put you out of the game and can stop your fitness, running or triathlon goals in their infancy. Traditional trainers also have a larger amount of control mechanisms designed to prevent the foot from rolling and as such can be clunky and sometimes inflexible. Example trainers in this camp of running school though include the Asics Gel Nimbus 15 and the Asics Noosa tri 8 running shoe.

Natural Running Shoes
Natural running shoes by contrast aim to give you the most flexible and simple running experience. They typically have a very thin layer of cushioning with a flat profile and are made to be very lightweight. The belief behind this school of thought is that by having a reduced heel you can run more on your mid of fore foot, therefore avoiding the nasty impact that is part of the package with conventional models. Natural running shoes tend to be popular with triathletes due to the Newton running shoes which have stolen market share away from traditional triathlon trainers such as the Asics Noosa Tri 8 and the Saucony models.

If you are thinking about switching to natural running then there are a few rules that you should follow. Make sure that you start off with small distances as otherwise you may find that you have some serious discomfort in your lower legs and torso as your body adapts. You will probably notice the biggest pain in your calves. Also make sure that you log a large amount of training miles in your new sneakers as that way you know that your body will be able to handle the extra stress of racing in a pair of lightweight natural shoes.

Thanks for reading this natural vs conventional running article written by Ross, a London blogger based in London. If you would like to find out more about natural running or some of the shoes that are on offer, such as the Asics Noosa Tri 8 then check out the pages over at

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