Rocker shoes: what you need to know

Published 10th December 2020 by mymo

Rocker shoes are becoming more mainstream and we have had a few questions here at mymo about what they are, and what the benefits might be of running in them.

First of all, rocker shoes are not that new. They have been around for a few years now in different forms and styles, and from a variety of brands. It may be the clever marketing and growth in Hoka, often characterised by chunky, bouncy soles, that have made you sit up and take notice. Many new style race shoes, such as those from Nike, also have a rocker style appearance. It’s also worth looking at shoes from New Balance and Sketchers if you are going to give the rocker a go. 

Shoes are identified as ‘Rocker’ style when they contain three main elements: a curved sole, a rounded heel and a thick or ‘stacked’ sole. They don’t look flat from the side, and on wearing them you will feel a tilt forward or a rock from back to front, hence the term rocker!

While you might think wearing a rocker shoe has the main benefit of propelling you forward and encouraging you to move faster or in a more efficient way, it’s not the only goal or benefit of this type of shoe. Research has shown that rocker style shoes can help runners with osteoarthritis such as in the big toe (Hallux Limitus) as the foot lands through a rolling motion, and those with arthritis in the midfoot or ankle, due to the landing pattern that makes a runner roll faster, forward off the heel. Simply, rocker style shoes will take pressure off the toe or heel as the rocking motion moves you forward in an even distribution as you land.

As with all changes to footwear, moving into a rocker may take time and it may not be for everyone. Take time to transition by first of all test running in a running store on a treadmill, before starting to wear them outside. Wear them for portions of runs before building up to half of your run, then on shorter runs, and up to your full distance (whatever that may be!). As with all running shoes, they can’t fix everything so keep an eye on any changes that come, seek advice from biomechanics professionals if you experience ongoing problems and always keep on top of your strength work! 

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