What's a pace-tuned running shoe?

What's a pace-tuned running shoe?

We've been running marathons since we were freshmen in high school, and we're still running them. We've also worked in running footwear for more than 20 years. Needless to say, we know about running shoes, both how to design and manufacture them as well as how to make sure they feel great while you're running.

But all that knowledge and experience covers run-of-the-mill, one-size-fits-all running shoes. Pace-tuned shoes are different. So what exactly is a pace-tuned shoe?

In pace-tuned running shoes the density of the midsole foam has been adjusted to respond most efficiently to the forces created while running within a specific pace zone. In addition to being carefully engineered for various pace zones, pace-tuned shoes need to be tuned differently in the heel than the forefoot. Pace-tuning is a way of maximizing efficiency and optimizing cushioning for every runner. 

For instance, if your pace on a typical run is between 8:30-10:30 min/mile (5:15-6:30 min/km), the Vimazi Z60 gives you better cushioning and more performance. How do we know?

We conducted a Forces in Running Study that looked at the timing, location, and intensity of forces while running at various paces and footstrike patterns. We found that the intensity of forces changes so dramatically between paces that a single midsole foam can't respond correctly to all running speeds. At very fast paces, your shoe’s midsole is likely way too soft given the forces you’re generating. An overly soft midsole reduces efficiency, kind of like running in sand. At slower paces, your shoe’s midsole might be too hard, so you don’t get the proper cushioning. This is why tuning running shoes by pace zone is so important. A pace-tuned shoe gives you the right amount of cushioning and maximum efficiency. (No one likes running in sand!)

We also found that forces differ between the heel/midfoot area and the forefoot. So the heel and forefoot of pace-tuned shoes need to be tuned differently. Since we’ve identified the exact forces generated at each pace—and we make weight range assumptions based on shoe size, gender, and pace—we’re able to tune the density of our proprietary EVA blended midsole foam accordingly. This allows us to dial in both optimized cushioning and maximized propulsion for every runner. We’re democratizing performance by personalizing shoes by pace zone. 


More About Vimazi

Here’s what Vimazi does
We make pace-tuned running shoes that provide better cushioning and more efficiency than previous generations of running shoes.

The physics of pace-tuned shoes
Back in 2017, while Vimazi CEO Scott Tucker was running to his 6am interval workout, he had an idea. A shoe made for a specific pace, he thought, might offer better cushioning and more propulsive efficiency than a generic shoe that wasn’t “tuned” for a particular pace.

It took three years to fully understand the physics of human running, and the forces that are generated. When we finally understood the physics, we built an equation that defines running forces. We’re now able to calculate the exact impact force and propulsion force, in Newtons, for any pace, including variations for height, weight, and cadence. (A Newton is a metric unit of force.) Data from the Forces in Running study we conducted aligned with the force calculations we got from the physics. In other words, we know it works.

Knowing the precise impact and propulsion forces at each pace, allowed us to create shoe models for different pace zones. So our pace-tuned technology is based on pure physics. No hand waving, no conjecture, no correlative studies, no self-reported data sets, no marketing fluff. We started with the physics of human running, and it led us to pace-tuned shoes.

The problem with previous gen running shoes
Most running shoes have the same foam density from heel to toe, and they’re sold to runners of every pace. The trouble is that midsole foam can’t respond correctly to the forces at all paces, and it can’t even respond appropriately to the differences between impact and propulsion forces. To make sure you get all the cushioning you want as well as all the efficiency you deserve, you need a shoe that’s made for a specific pace zone and tuned differently in the heel than the forefoot.

The Vimazi solution
Our solution to this running shoe problem was to create something that's never been done before—pace-tuned running shoes. In 2023, after years of testing, we launched seven road shoe models that span paces from 4:30 minutes per mile to 15 minutes per mile (2:50-9:30 minutes per kilometer). By making a shoe for a specific pace zone, we’ve been able to deliver better impact cushioning and propulsion efficiency for every runner.

25 years experience
We’ve taken everything we learned making running shoes for 25 years—and running marathons for even longer—and elevated it to a whole new level with pace tuning. It offers a better and more personal running experience. We were instrumental in creating shoes for Montrail, Scott Sports, and Pearl Izumi. We learned even more while owning a specialty running store and organizing running events.

A marathoner’s fit
Running shoes can have the best tech, but if they don’t fit well, nobody will wear them. We wouldn’t either! Not only have we spent our careers perfecting innovative fit technologies at other companies, notably at Montrail, we’re also life-long marathon runners ourselves. So we understand fit and know how critical it is, from heel to toe. Each of our models has been painstakingly designed and built with the perfect fit in mind. They’ve also been extensively road tested since 2019, including at the Boston, London, Portland, Missoula, San Antonio, and Two Oceans Marathons. We think you’ll love them.


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