Correct shoes are essential in preventing overuse injuries associated with running and walking. In most cases, an injury could have been completely avoided had the appropriate footwear been worn. But first, it is important to understand a little bit about the motion of the foot when walking or running.
Normally, heel strike occurs on the outside of the heel. As the rest of the foot starts supporting the weight of the body, the foot rolls inward or pronates slightly. As weight shifts forward toward the ball of the foot, slight pronation usually continues until toe off. This is the ideal motion of the neutral foot.
Overpronation occurs when the foot’s motion is over-exaggerated and forces the foot to roll further inward. While over-pronation is common, the risk of certain injuries–like plantar faciitis, achilles tendonitis, shin splints, patellar tendonitis, and many others–are drastically increased.
Supination or Under-pronation occurs when natural pronation is not sufficient, where the foot actually rolls outward. This may lead to injury because a certain amount of pronation is actually needed for proper shock absorption and weight-bearing in the foot.
The running shoes we carry come in three main categories that are meant to address different levels of pronation and restore the foot to its ideal motion:
Neutral shoes – Neutral shoes are designed for neutral or underpronators. They have no devices that inhibit pronation and may even encourage it.
Stability shoes –stability shoes are designed for over-pronators. They usually have a built-in device that inhibits overpronation and encourages proper foot motion, we sometimes generally call this “posting” or “support”. The most common form of support present in a stability shoe is a dual-density midsole. This can usually be spotted in the medial side of the shoe and it is colored gray.
Motion Control shoes – motion control shoes are designed for severe over-pronators or flat-feet. Motion control shoes are similar to stability shoes in terms of inhibiting overpronation, but it is actually denser and provides more support.
How do I choose the correct shoes?
The best way to know exactly what shoe you need is to consult our Shoe M.D.s. Tell them your comm running/walking problems and have them analyze your gait. They will guide you in choosing the right shoes with the right features that will suit your particular needs. Having all your choices laid out will allow you to make the best purchase, avoid injury, and hopefully, find your new bestfriend in running. Remember, your shoes are already 50% of your running success.