How to choose the right pair of running shoes that suits you?

How to choose the right pair of running shoes that suits you ?

There are thousands of different running shoes in the market to choose from and most of the sports shoes manufacturers had invest money into the science and technology of running shoes. By investing on a good pair of running shoes,you can improve your running gait and prevent injuries.

A running shoe comprises of an outsole, a midsole, an upper, a heel counter and a post or footbridge. A good pair of running shoes have to be flexible and durable, it should control motion mechanism and absorb shock as well. Each person has slightly different foot type, so a great pair of  shoe for someone might not necessarily be the best one for you. The shape of your feet, weight, running style and the type of running surfaces are some of the various factors can affect which running shoe that is going to be best suitable for you and your lifestyle.

Before choosing a right pair of shoes there are several factors you need to consider :

  1. Pronation Pattern
  2. Your Foot Type
  3. Running Style

 

Fig1. Running Gait

Pronation is foot in motion, from foot-strike on the outside of the heel through the inward roll of the foot. It occurs as the foot rolls from the outer edge to the inner edge. Pronation is considered an important and healthy response to the intense amount of shock imposed upon the foot and is integral to propelling you forward. If the foot pronates too much or too little and does so frequently, it may result in a decrease in performance and increase the possibility of injury.


The different type of Pronations and how to identify them.


If the shoes have a slight or significant inward tilt as they go from heel strike to toe off, then you exhibit an over-pronation.

If the shoes appear to be neutral and do not tilt inward nor out, then you exhibit a pronation-neutral/ normal.


If the shoes have a slight or significant outward tilt, then you exhibit an under-pronation (supination)


Fig2. Pronation Chart

 

 

2) What is you’re foot type?

 

 

LEARN YOUR FOOT TYPE

1) Pour a thin layer of water into a shallow pan

2) Wet the sole of your foot

3) Step onto a shopping bag or a blank piece of heavy paper.

4) Step off and look down

Fig4. Identifying your foot type

Observe the shape of your foot and match it with one of the foot types at the bottom of the page. Knowing your foot type is the first step toward finding the right shoe for you. There are 3 different foot types:

1) Normal/ Medium Arch

2) Flat/ Collapse Arch

3) High Arch


Normal (medium) Arch


If you see about half of your arch, you have the most common foot type and are considered a normal pronator. Contrary to popular belief, pronation is a good thing. When the arch collapses inward, this “pronation” absorbs shock

Flat (low) Arch

 

If you see almost your entire footprint, you have a flat foot, which means you’re probably an overpronator. That is, a micro-second after footstrike, your arch collapses inward too much, resulting in excessive foot motion and increasing your risk of injuries.

 

High Arch
If you see just your heel, the ball of your foot, and a thin line on the outside of your foot, you have a high arch, the least common foot type. This means you’re likely an underpronator, or supinator, which can result in too much shock travels up your legs, since your arch doesn’t collapse enough to absorb it.

Fig4. Foot Type

3) Running Style

Heel Strikers

The back portion of your heel comes in contact with the ground first and then the foot rolls onto the sole and pushes off from the ball of the foot for the next stride. Heel striking will result in more shock impose to your knees and ankles as your leg will be fairly stiff on impact. Heel strikers tend not to make use of the natural shock absorbent properties of their arch and foot, which are the first areas of shock absorption during a run.

Recommended shoes:

Due to the reduced use of the natural shock absorbers of the arch and foot, it is recommended that running shoes with cushioned heel regions would help lessen the shock and impact on contact. Most cushioning shoes will provide the support.

Mid-foot Strikers

The mid section or the ball of your foot contacts the ground first during a run. The leg tends to flex on contact with the ground, therefore introducing less stress on the knees and minimizing pressure on the ankles.


Recommended shoes:

It is ideal to have running shoes with cushioning or padding in the mid section of the shoes. However, there are not many running shoes in the market with substantial mid-foot cushioning.

 

Forefoot

The front of the foot is the first to contact the ground. A forefoot runner will also have the leg flexed on contact to the ground therefore causing less stress on the knees and ankle. This is much like use by sprinter.


Recommended shoes:

Similar to mid-foot strikers, the shoes should have more cushioning or padding in the front section of the shoes to help with the shock absorption.


In Summary:

Foot Type: Severe high arch

Pronation Pattern: Underpronator

Recommend Shoe Type: “Flexible” or “Cushioned” shoe

—————————————————————————–

Foot Type: Normal arch

Pronation Pattern: Normal Pronation

Recommend Shoe Type: Neutral shoe “Cushion”, “Flexible”, “Motion-Control,”

—————————————————————————–

Foot Type: Flat Feet / Collapse Arch

Pronation Pattern: Over- Pronation

Recommend Shoe Type: “Motion control” or “stability” shoe

—————————————————————————–

Reference:

  1. http://walking-running-training.suite101.com/article.cfm/choosing_running_shoes
  2. http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-319-327-7727-0,00.html
  3. http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-319-326-7152-0,00.html
  4. http://www.nbwebexpress.com/achieve_more/running_gait.asp
  5. http://www.forrunnersbyrunners.com/owInfoPage.asp?idPage=13http://lesserismore.blogspot.com/2008/04/to-heel-strike-or-not-to-heel-strike.html

Info Retrieved between 10 – 14 May 2009.

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