For those of you who don’t know me, I’m John Rogers. I’m the owner of the Maine Running Company. Welcome to the Natural Running Symposium! There’s a lot of chatter in the marketplace about this trend. I’m going to ask each of the panel members to introduce themselves and get a little background on their work and previous engagement in this activity. My background. Maine Running Company has been open for 6 years. We were the first company in Maine to add Newton footwear. We’ve had Vibram Five Fingers for 5 years.
So we’ve always been a proponent of the Natural Running Movement as a tool to help with better form. My background is also, I’ve worked at Reebok for 12 years, I’ve worked at Mizuno for 2 years, had a second stint at Reebok and had a bunch of other jobs which I don’t care to mention. But the panel that you have have up here is pretty extensive. To my right is Danny Abshire who is a cofounder of Newton Footwear, and their Chief Technology Officer. He has a book coming out that’s called, Natural Running.
Yeah! I wish we had it here so you could autograph it. It’s still subtitled, but we’re not sure what that is yet. Natural world Anyway, I had the opportunity to go to the Newton Summit in Boulder, Colorado this summer and we participate in a number of vendor summits, and we get educated in their products, where they’re going with it. The Newton Summit was a wonderful opportunity to get more engaged to the natural running movement and what it represents. There was good dialogue between retailers and their staff, in terms of where they’re.
Natural Running Symposium Part 1
Taking this thing. They were the original. They were the founding fathers of this movement. So it’s a priviledge to have Danny here, because he is the father of natural running. Let me introduce Kirsten Buchanan, owns Impact Sports. Is the prominent gate analysis. She has her PHD from the University of Virginia. Many people have worked with her throughout the marketplace. She is a disciple of Irene Davis, who was part of her symposium in July. Very proponent of natural running, but also has a vast background on the subject.
And I asked Jamie Raymond, who has been preaching good form running and chi running, god since I’ve know him. And he was at the forefront in this marketplace of wearing Newton Shoes. He’s also worn Vibrams, he’s gone through some injuries, he’s gone through the adaptation process, and he is a huge, huge part of the running community in terms of advanced release technique and helping many runners adjust their form to help them get healthier. So that’s the panel. I think it’s a lot of expertise here. I’ll ask Danny to comment.
A little bit more on his background, and then. well why don’t we just start. Let’s just get going. Yeah, yeah! I think that’s enough on the background. Oh, yeah. So, what I’ve asked everyone to do, and we’re going to start with Danny is for each panel member, you get their perspective, history, research and insight into this trend towards Natural Running. And I’m going to start with Danny, then go to Kirsten, and then Jamie, and then I’ll give my limited 2 cents. ‘Cause I think these guys are really experts in this.
Field, and we should hear from them versus me who you guys hear from all the time. So go ahead Danny! Please forgive me if I pass out. I flew from China just a couple of days ago and then flew across the country today and got here at 430. So, bear with me if I act really strange. Audience laughing I had the privilege to live in Boulder, Colorado almost all my life. I worked at a business called Active Imprints. We made custom orthotics for many elite athletes for speed skating,.
To mountain climbing, to marathon. So I got to work with feet in general and see how we balance people’s feet. So long story short, by understanding how we ski, you have to be centered with gravity, otherwise you’re out of control. You have to make a right and left turn. You have to be in an athletic position, or if you’re playing basketball, or football, or any sport, you name it, you’ve got to be in an athletic position. So that’s kind of a basis of my work years and years ago. We started Active Imprints.
In 1988, and then by working with so many athletes and seeing so many common injuries, plantar fascitis, chronic hamstring, achilles, we just started taking notes of all these injuries and how shoe technology was changing, let’s say from the 60’s until now. And humans do the best without footwear, that’s how we evolved, and we’re centered, and we’re grounded, and we’re balanced. But if we put a small amount of material, it could be under our toes, it’ll alter the way we stand with gravity. If we put it underneath our heel,.
It’ll alter. If we put it on the outside, it’ll alter, and through the inside edge. So we’re like this great little gyroscope, but if you mess with the gyroscope it’s going to be out of wack. So as we saw more and more athletes and notice the differentials, we were pretty wacky, we started cutting shoes open. Noticing all these technologies, but also how the heel height evolved. And so with that, we said, You know, there’s really got to be a better way. We started working on the Newton in 1996, believe it or not. It’s been a long time.
We struggled for 15 years, taking it to other brands saying, You should really look at this ’cause people do run on their forefoot when they’re barefoot. They don’t land on their heel. They’ll crack their heel bone. It’s sort of a placebo that you get from having a padded shoe with a big heel. So long story short, the biggest thing I see is that we’ve evolved over thousands of years, and now past 40 years, we’ve evolved to run the way we do. But is that natural And we’re.
Trying to now get people to realize when people come up to me and say, I’m a natural heel striker. Then I go, Yeah! When you walk. ‘Cause that’s the walking gait. Heel strike, midstance and toe off. When you analyze then parts of that what is toe off, that’s more like sprinting, you’re way up on your toes, that’s very propulsive. And then if that’s sprinting and that’s walking, then what is running Doctor Lieberman, under center of mass. That’s where we land on our barefoot, we don’t break, we adapt.
Did I even answer the question Audience lauging Okay! Given your point of view on natural running and where it has come from, and Newton’s perspective and research on it, when did you. Yeah, 2007. 2007 Eleven years. Well the cool thing is with that, during the meantime, we were protecting our intellectual property. We had 9 patents 13 worldwide. So we’ve spent a ton of money at a privately held company just to protect our ideas. Because we knew if we try and sell it to them, at least 5 major brands, and they say Guess.
What. nobody runs on their forefoot, they run on their heel. So of course, how can we sell a technology based around protecting your entire foot, but focus in sensory feedback of your forefoot, and protection of your forefoot. So, consequently they all said no. A cool thing was, we focused on a tiny little market which people thought we were crazy. But I’ve made orthotics for 13 Iron Man World Champions so they trusted me and we got a couple of triathletes that helped us out in 2007. And Natasha Badman was forty years old and set a halfiron man world record.
At 40 years old wearing our shoes. So we were fine and that almost everybody was running faster in the shoes. We’re doing a study at MIT towards the year, and all the students do run faster on our shoes than they do on their most favorite shoe. And it’s a combination of two things. Our shoes lose less energy on impact, and they run with a more natural form, less breaking. All in all, we launched in 2007. We were only an internet company the first year. 2 years into that, we’re in 25 countries around the world and over 250 stores.