Increase Your Turnover By Decreasing The H-Delt

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published Sep. 22, 2011
  • Updated Feb. 19, 2013 at 8:46 AM UTC

Learn how minimalist running shoes can help you find your natural stride.

Written by: Adam Chase

The minimalist movement, one that has unquestionably swept in and left a mark that will serve to invigorate the sport of distance running, is often mistakenly labeled “barefoot running”. More appropriate monikers for the trend are ‘reduced H-delt’ or ‘high-cadence’ or ‘mid-to-forefoot’ running.

The aim of using less built-up footwear is to encourage more rapid turnover or a higher steps-per-minute count by reducing the heel and forefoot midsole differential. It is common for structured running shoes to have as much as a 20mm disparity between the rear and fore (a.k.a. the ‘H-delt’) and that high heel encourages heel striking, which leads to over-striding, overpronation and associated ankle, knee, hip and back problems that come as part of that downward spiral of maladies.

Studies have shown that more rapid turnover in footsteps results in less impact and also helps to speed up one’s pace. The following shoes accommodate that higher RPM with their reduced or, in some cases, zero H-delt. Only runners with a natural forefoot strike should consider using these shoes without a lengthy weaning process, as the adjustment to such natural running is a gradual one that, if forced, may lead to injury.

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Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

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