Running shoes are the most important piece of equipment that a runners has. They help prevent injury and they may help the running gait be more efficient. The running shoe market is huge and most of the running shoe companies make significant investment into the technology and science of running shoes.
Different running shoes for differing foot types
When purchasing running shoes it is very important to know what biomechanical foot type you have. The majority of people are either an over pronator or have a neutral/under pronated foot type.
The best way to ascertain which category you fall into is to have a look at the videos below at the two different running styles. Athletes are very astute when it comes to how they run. The chances are you will recognise which category you fall into.
Take a few minutes to establish your foot type by looking at the videos below.
Now have a look at your foot in the mirror, preferably when standing on one leg as this mimics the single phase support that occurs when running.
If your foot looks like the image on the right, then you are an over pronator. Note the arch is lowered (flattening or fallen). Also look at the position of the ankles in the lower picture. They bow inwards. This causes excessive shoe wear on the outside edge of the heel.
If your foot looks like the one on the left then you have a more neutral/ under pronating foot type. Note there is a nice defined arch. The ankles will have a more neutral appearance or bow out slightly.
I am an over pronator. What shoes do i need?
The primary cause of injury in the over pronator is due to excessive movement around the ankle, subtalar and midtarsal joints within the foot during the gait cycle. As a runners heel strikes the ground, the forces recorded going through the foot and ankle are huge. Perhaps the single best thing that an over pronator can do to help themselves is to purchase an anti pronatory (motion control) sports shoe. This type of trainer has been developed by the leading manufacturers to reduce the amount of unwanted movement at heel strike & mid stance phases of gait, thus reducing the chances of injury. Dependent on the shoe, this is achieved by providing rigidity in areas where unwanted forces occur and using shock absorbing materials around the heel.
I have a neutral/ under pronating foot type. What shoes do i need?
Athletes with a neutral/ under pronated foot type will usually suffer less injury than over pronators. However lack of shock absorbency and early heel lift in the gait cycle can cause injuries. Footwear manufacturers are aware of the problems associated with this foot type and build their shoes with extra shock absorbing properties and a slightly higher heel. Under pronators (supinators) DON’T need special trainers like over pronators. However shoes with extra shock absorbency are a very important asset for the under pronate.
Our clinicians can give you the best advice regarding footwear that will maximise the mechanics of your underlying foot type.