If the Shoe Fits....
Heel Strike? Cadence? Pronation? Rocker Bottom Sole? High Gear Gait? Shoe Drop?
Chances are these words may have us more confused than we need to be when thinking about what is important when replacing our favourite runners that have seen more than the life they were meant to. With Perth City to Surf a few weeks away you may be considering an upgrade to your current shoes.
Here are a few simple tips to help you choose the correct running shoe from Chris Pocklington of Momentum Sports Podiatry. Chris is a podiatrist with an in-depth knowledge of sports injuries, biomechanics and podiatry surgery. He is available for consultations each week at PROmotion. To book an appointment phone 9284 4405.
Know When Your Shoe Needs Replacing
Most running shoes are design to cover 500-800km. This ballpark figure provides quite a large range. It can also be said that those with aggressive wear patterns or those who run in shoes with lighter and less durable materials can expect to wear shoes quicker. The longer the life of a shoe, the less support it provides and the less elasticity and shock absorption it will provide. This is because most runners still use an EVA material for the bulk of the shoe which ages over time, even when not used!
Chris' Advice: Check the bottom of the sole. If the treads are significantly worn or no longer present it’s time to part ways. Bend the forefoot of the shoe back. If there is little spring back, or easily folds, it may be time for a relationship change.
Pro-tip: Sports Podiatrists can alter your shoe wear by manipulating your gait pattern with the use of orthoses.
Know How You Run
Picking the right shoe for the right wear pattern can assist your running mechanics. If you have a well-used pair of running shoes, the tread or wear patterns will tell you how you are running.
Neutral foot types show a wear pattern centralized to the ball of the foot and a small portion of the heel. It is the foot's natural inward roll following the heel striking the ground. Basic (neutral) pronation helps absorb impact, relieving pressure on knees and joints. It is a normal trait of neutral, biomechanically efficient runners.
Overpronation is identified by wear patterns along the inside edge of your shoe, and is an exaggerated form of the foot's natural inward roll. Overpronation is a common trait that affects the majority of runners, leaving them at risk of knee pain and injury.
Supination (also called under-pronation) is marked by wear along the outer edge of your shoe. It is an outward rolling of the foot resulting in insufficient impact reduction at landing. Relatively few runners supinate, but those who do need shoes with plenty of cushioning and flexibility.
Chris' Advice: Overpronators usually benefit from shoes that have stability or motion control shoes. Supinators generally need shoes with plenty of cushioning and flexibility
Pro Tip: Many Sports Podiatrists and footwear stores like ‘The Athletes Foot’ use pressure pad or gait analysis to help assess your running style. Gait analysis can let you know which running shoe type is more likely to be better suited for you.
Getting The Right Fit
Running shoes are a rather contentious topic. Recent research being published suggests that most comfortable shoe is probably the right one for you.
Chris' Advice: Comfort is top priority. Break your ties with brand loyalty and trial a few different types of shoes in store before making a decision. An old-school size/width caliper goes a long way in making sure you’ve got the right dimensions checked to start with.
Pro-tip: If you’re a casual runner or just getting into running it’s best to stick with the traditional styles of running shoes. Aim for a mid-top range runner that ticks all the boxes. As you progress you can explore other types of running shoes (such as barefoot/minimalist shoes, rocker-sole shoes, free-motion shoes and high/low heel drop shoes). These are generally designed for specific running activities or events and the benefit is not only lost but often detrimental to the every-day runner.
For more tailored advice please contact our reception to book an appointment with Chris today.
Momentum Podiatry – Sport’s Specialists in Foot and Ankle