Pro runner Daichi Kamino (Cell Source) has an opinion on today's generation of thick-soled shoes that is getting attention. On Nov. 19 Kamino ran a 13.5 km uphill race on the Hakone turnpike as part of his training, finishing 7th in 54:18. Now 29, Kamino is famous for winning the Hakone Ekiden's legendary uphill Fifth Stage in 2015, earning him the nickname "God of the Mountain III." He has run professionally since 2018.
After the Nov. 19 race Kamino tweeted, "I knew I was going to be running up a steep hill, and for that kind of uphill running thin shoes are better than thick ones."
In recent years the long distance running world has been caught up in a whirlwind by the new style of thick shoes containing a carbon plate. Since the technology's introduction the Japanese men's marathon national record has been broken four times, and all ten individual stage records at the Hakone Ekiden have been broken at least once.
Everyone knows the thick shoes produce times. But, said Kamino, "It's hard to explain, but I feel like the thickness of the cushioning throws off the timing of the landing in the footstrike. It's harder to shift your body weight in the takeoff phase like on flat ground. That's my subjective opinion."
Toyo University grad Ryuji Kashiwabara, Kamino's predecessor as God of the Mountain II, agreed, saying, "I feel the same way." With two of Japan's most famous uphill specialists come together to say, "Thick-soled shoes are not ideal for uphill running," reaction among amateur runners and running fans has been strong, with comments on social media like, "I know exactly what they mean," and, "Two Gods of the Mountain can't be wrong."
Will any Hakone Ekiden Fifth Stage runners make the move back to thin shoes this coming Jan. 2? Along with all the action in the race, let's watch their feet closely to find otu.
translated by Brett Larner