Among some of the first questions that injured runners ask me is what shoe will fit their running style the best. This is often a very tricky question to answer as there are many factors that affect the effectiveness of a shoe. Today I will run through 3 factors to consider when picking the right shoe for you:
- Pronation Control
Over pronation (Or ‘flatfooted’ as it is typically called) is often a cause of concern for most runners. This foot posture can be altered with certain shoe features, often a firmer material along the inner arch support of the shoe. Although this feature changes your foot posture it is not always needed. Our foot muscles can create an active arch when we run that significantly helps with running. More so, recent studies have shown that a pronated foot type does not increase the risk of running injury. Similarly shoes that provide passive arch support are not shown to decrease rate of injury.
- Impact Force Control
Impact force is the amount of force transferred from the ground to your body on landing. Higher forces on landing may be associated with higher injury rate. Two very different methods are used to try and control impact force. These are:
- Increasing the cushioning through the mid-sole of the shoes to help absorb load on impact.
- Reducing cushioning with a minimalist shoe that decreases support of the shoe to try and change the foot strike to a more mid foot strike position to help decrease load.
Changing foot strike pattern can be a difficult shift and can sometimes even increase your injury chances during the process. Your physiotherapist will assess your individual needs and see which option is better for you.
- Comfort Factor
I think this is likely one of the most underestimated and important aspects in picking a shoe. Our bodies are a very complex machines and process lots of sensations, pains, and inputs while we run. The Comfort factor is very simply answering the question: Does this shoe feel good to run in? Particularly when it comes to recreational runners, taking a step back and considering comfort rather than absolute performance can be useful.
These are three factors that contribute to the correct footwear, which in and of itself its only one small part of running injury prevention. It is also important to consider running biomechanics and lower limb/core strength to look to stave off injury. If you have any concerns about your running injuries or performance, book in for a full Running Assessment with one of our Physiotherapists.