👟Want the perfect shoe to help you dial in your running pace?
😲If that sounds a little wild, you're not alone.
But think about it...maybe the one-size-fits-all running shoe isn't the best recipe for performance.
🏃♂️When runners John Zilly and Scott Tucker started thinking about this, they decided to create shoes to help you run YOUR pace.
🚀After a lot of miles putting their idea through the paces, they launched the running shoe brand...Vimazi.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Vimazi’s co-founder and author of 12 guidebooks, John Zilly, to discuss the company and how the idea of pace-tuned running shoes came to fruition.
👉Here’s The Rundown on Vimazi’s cutting edge, pace-tuned shoes.
They decided it was time to stop approaching running footwear with a one-size-fits all mentality.
The Vimazi timeline...
Five years ago, Tucker and Zilly started developing the first pace-tuned running shoes by blending their passions for:
👟Vimazi shoes came onto the market in early March of 2023.
📖Even in the company’s name and logo, Tucker and Zilly’s commitment to the empirical shines through.
🏃♂️Run together + build a business together
👟Although the duo took separate paths after college, they recognized a need in the shoe tech realm:
And thus Vimazi was born!
Take one glance at the Vimazi shoe selection and you’ll notice each shoe model is assigned a pace window.
“It doesn't matter how fast you run," says Zilly. "We have a shoe that is made for you."
The first of their kind, Vimazi pace-tuned shoes are designed to give runners the best energy return and optimal cushioning for the forces generated at a given pace.
🏃♀️The Forces in Running study🏃♂️
Vimazi constructed the Forces in Running Study to test the idea that forces are a product of running pace.
“The runners ran at different paces and set cadences and different foot strikes," says Zilly. "We had them run on a force mat that gives you fine resolution force information.”
Vimazi published three academic papers on adjacent subjects based on their study data, but the primary paper is still out for review.
If you’re wondering why Vimazi would go to this kind of trouble to develop a mathematical model and design/execute a study to test it, you’re not alone.
Zilly understands that this might go against the grain, but he holds firm:
"Some of what we are doing goes against conventional biomechanics wisdom, but the field of biomechanics are all observational studies of runners on treadmills with metabolic measurements."
"They are using the athlete instead of testing the shoe, showing correlations, but not causations.”
Vimazi shoes have different foam densities in the:
The purpose: To accommodate the forces generated at given paces.
👟The forefoot contains:
👟The midfoot & heel
Have different densities of foam optimized for transition from initial contact to toe off and shock absorption.
👧The Goldilocks of running shoe cushioning
While most shoes have the same foam densities throughout the shoe, Vimazi went above and beyond to create goldilocks cushioning without the:
Two things other highly cushioned running shoes on the market have in common.
👟Midsole material you won't find in any other running shoe
In fact, it was such a bold move in the shoe industry that Vimazi had trouble finding a midsole manufacturer that was able to produce different foam densities in one shoe!
“We are using an EVA proprietary blend because it is more durable and because of manufacturing limitations," says Tilly.
"This is the primary reason we didn’t do TPU or PEBAX foam. We needed to find a midsole supplier that would give us the exact densities we asked for."
"Nobody is used to doing that! It took some time to find the right midsole supplier that would produce them to spec."
What about different builds and running mechanics?
💡Vimazi creators thought of this too.
While the primary driver of forces is pace, “cadence, weight, and height play a role, so we made assumptions for the different shoes…” says Zilly.
“We made design decisions based on what folks who are running at that pace would want," says Zilly.
"Going down the line, we add more stability, more comfortable uppers, and the drop and stack differs."
🏃♀️While most runners fall within Vimazi’s assumptions...
Zilly provided the following example:
“If you're larger and run in a Z50 pace zone (7:15-8:45 m/m), you may want to move to a Z40.”
With so many shoes on the market, nobody wants to waste their time or money on shoes that won’t work for them.
Vimazi wanted to minimize the chance of runners encountering fit issues across pace zones, so they designed their shoe line in a manner that makes it simple to get the right fit in every model.
John Zilly suggests that runners start out with purchasing an everyday trainer from Vimazi to make sure the brand works for them.
“Comfort is key," says Zilly. "We think we have a great fit, but we realize some runners are going to need a different shoe.”
If the everyday training pace zone shoe is a winner, then come back and get the adjacent pace zone for your quicker runs!
If your interest is piqued by the idea of pace-tuned running shoes, but road running isn’t your jam, don’t count Vimazi out just yet.
The company plans to launch:
Since trails typically require a change of pace compared to road running, the pace zones are much wider on the two models.
Mark your calendar for Vimazi trail shoes in August of 2023!
Michael Young It's an interesting idea, I wonder about foot strike and how that affects which shoe to choose, mid foot striker has to be different in these compared to a heel striker. Also those heel cups remind me of the ones off of the NB1080 from a couple years ago that got ditched after one year because of achilles issues with some people. Excited to see and hold one of these in real life.
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