Wimbledon Clinics

Wimbledon Clinics

Footwear Facts – what is the right shoe for me?

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There is no single “best fit” shoe. Choosing a shoe that’s right for you probably depends on many factors – your running style, biomechanics, your build, the surfaces you run on, and obviously, the shape of your foot.

Types of Running Shoe:

There are 3 basic types of running shoe:

  • Performance/Neutral Shoe

Traditionally marketed for the runner with this type of footprint although recent research suggests that they can be suitable for runners who over-pronate.

Runners using this shoe typically have a normal shaped foot and tend to run on the outer part of their foot.A runner with a high arched more rigid foot will require more forefoot cushioning.

  •  Stability Shoe

Marketed for the normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards slightly to absorb shock – pronation. It’s the foot of a runner who is generally biomechanically efficient. Recent research suggests that these runners can consider using a Neutral shoe which  is lighter and flatter.

  • Motion Control Shoe

 Marketed for the flat footed and more heavily built runner who tends to strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards (over-pronation) excessively.

Over time, this can cause many different types of overuse injuries.

Other Shoes:

  • Minimalist Shoe

These are essentially a flatter lighter Performance Shoe with less heel and less cushioning on the sole. The shoe is lighter and ideal for the forefoot biomechanically neutral runner. Research has suggested that there is an increase injury rate when using this shoe type although the reason remains unclear.

  • Bare Foot Shoe

These have no cushioning on the sole of the shoe. They claim to give more feedback information to the runner. To date there is no research evidence on injury rates compared to conventional shoes.
 

Choosing a Shoe – Right Feel & Right Price Range

There is a wide price range but this does not always reflect the quality of the shoe and your comfort so try different shoes in different price ranges until you find the one which is most comfortable for you.

Tips:

  • Price range but this does not always reflect the quality of the shoe and your comfort when you run
  • Try the shoes on and ask the shop assistant to allow you to run outside on the street for a few minutes
  • Jump up and down on your forefoot to feel the cushioning
  • Try several different shoes and compare the good bits & bad bits
  • Some shops will allow you to have a 2 week trial of the shoe so you can return if you are not happy. Ask the shop assistant.

 

How long will my shoes last?

 

Most standard running shoes last about 500miles (approx 850km). The sole gradually becomes compacted over time and loses it cushioning and bounce. You might notice fatigue lines along the mid sole. However the earliest signs that your shoes are wearing out are what you feel when you are running. As your trainers age you will notice that your times begin to drop off. You feel aches in your hips knees ankles, feet and calves during running and afterwards.

 

Here is a simple table so you can calculate from your weekly mileage when you will need to think about buying a new pair of running shoes.

 

 

Distance / week

 

 

 

weeks

 

months

 

17km

 

10miles

 

50

 

12

 

 

25km

 

15miles

 

33

 

8

 

 

33km

 

20miles

 

25

 

6

 

 

42km

 

25miles

 

20

 

5

 

 

50km

 

30miles

 

17

 

4

 

 

58km

 

35miles

 

14

 

4

 

 

83km

 

50miles

 

10

 

2.5

 

 

What’s my latest advice about shoes, biomechanics and running style?

  • Footwear – neutral shoes with a flatter heel may be better for everyone according to recent research, although some runners may need an additional corrective orthotic in their shoe. Be guided by comfort –finding a shoe that suits you will involve some trial and error.                               
  • Biomechanics – over-pronation may not be as important as we first thought particularly if you become a Forefoot striker . Running on the front of your foot means that controlling the rear foot and mid foot become less critical.
  • Running Technique/Style – Forefoot Striker seem to have the most efficient running pattern although it is not entirely clear whether the injury rate is less or just different to heel strikers. If you are a Forefoot Striker try to choose a shoe that allows you comfortably to run on the front of your foot. Generally this will be a neutral shoe although a stability shoe may also be appropriate.
  • Expert Advice At Wimbledon Clinics we have clinicians with experience in helping Runners. They would be delighted to offer you their expertise.

Contact Tom Maule (Podiatrist) or Gary Gordon (Consultant Orthotist) for advice and guidance on your footwear and biomechanics.