This photo of a honking-big New Balance sneaker (taken from a 2009 issue of Popular Mechanics) shows how most of the major shoe companies test the exaggerated heel-cushioning of their conventional running shoes. No wonder many millions of runners unnaturally became accustomed to heel-striking. One could safely bet that the mechanical piston never experiences shin splints even after months of “non-stop running.” But change is literally afoot in the labs due minimalist and barefoot running shoes; rigorous testing is now applied to midfoot and forefoot impact on shoes. And to be fair to New Balance, its new Minimus line of shoes has been getting high marks from minimalist-minded runners. See here the NRC’s reviews.