It is common knowledge that excessive and long distance running can cause problems with the low back, hip, knees and feet. So how can we protect ourselves from these ailments? In addition to other factors such as regular stretches and effective warm ups and cool downs, a good pair of running shoes is vital to protect your joints in the lower limb. What do we expect from a good pair of running shoes: stability
and motion control
. In order to select an appropriate pair of running shoes, one must understand the principle of pronation. The Normal Foot
Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and lands on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards slightly to absorb shock. It’s the foot of a runner who is biomechanically efficient and therefore doesn’t need a motion control shoe. A semi-curved stability shoe with moderate control features would be best for such runners. The Flat Foot
This has a low arch, and is an overpronated foot – one that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards (pronates) excessively leading to potential injuries. The ideal running shoes for these runners would be straight shaped, motion control shoes, or high stability shoes with firm midsoles and control features that reduce the degree of pronation. Avoid highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, which lack stability features. The High-Arched Foot
A highly arched foot is generally supinated or underpronated making the foot an uneffective shock absorber. For these runners well Cushioned (or 'neutral'), curved shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion is recommended. Avoid motion control or stability shoes, which reduce foot mobility.
Factors to consider when shopping for new running shoes:
- Your feet are at their largest in the last afternoon, and this will be the best time to shop as your feet will expand while running.
- Bring your old shoes to check where the most wear and tear on the sole is
- Bring your orthotics and usual running socks to try on with your new shoes