It has long been assumed that novice runners with a tendency to over/underpronate put themselves at risk of injuries if they start running in neutral shoes. But according to the findings of a Danish study, this is not the case and healthy beginners have no reason to fear running injuries because of their shoe choice.
The study was led by a team from Aarhus University with participation from researchers from Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg University Hospital and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. The report, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, highlights three key findings, starting with the observation that over/underpronation does not appear to increase the risk of injury in healthy novice runners choosing shoes without special support. The researchers also note that their study revealed injury risk to be the same for all runners after the first 250 km regardless of their pronation type. In addition, the injury rate per 1,000km was much lower among over/underpronating runners compared to runners with neutral foot pronation.
The study involved 927 healthy beginners with different pronation types. They were followed for one year and used the same model of neutral shoes. The subjects ran 163,401 km in total and 252 of them suffered an injury.
The report suggests that novice runners should take factors other than foot pronation into consideration in order to avoid injuries. Among those factors are excess weight, training intensity and prior injuries. It also points out that the study did not deal with running in non-neutral shoes or look at how runners should respond when an injury occurs.