Have you ever asked yourself why running shoes have that particular shape at the bottom?
One of the most common questions I get in my clinic is about the best shoes to buy. As you know, the answer is - … no, I can’t give you a recommendation.
The reason is that shoes are a very personalized thing that need to respond to your body mechanics while you run. Since everyone has a different running technique, we can’t state that the shoes will be the same for everybody.
When it comes to deciding which shoes to buy, unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation in the market.
We need to look for the following:
1. General comfort when you walk, meaning - you should almost not feel the shoe in your foot.
2. Good support for your foot shape - and that can be tricky if you don’t know your foot shape.
3. The shoe will run with you for long distances, and you will likely know on what types of surfaces will you be running. This can make a huge difference.
4. The shoe’s materials - we can say almost for sure - are going to be high quality in most of the manufacturers so, all you need to be worried about in that matter is the color :)
So now that we have a checklist of the things to check for, let’s talk about the information I can get from your shoes.
You leave a Footprint in your shoes
Your shoe footprint is pretty much like your fingerprint. If you are the only person running with these shoes, I’ll be able to understand the biomechanics of your foot, your ankle and even higher than that. I will be able to see if you are a heel striker or a mid-foot runner. I will even be able to understand if you suffer from any joint compensations or dysfunctions - all by looking at the burned out shape that you have in your shoes.
For that reason, when you come to visit a professional, bring your used running shoes. We appreciate used shoes that have a nice and defined wear pattern that we can read, and together with the physical evaluation, we are able to complete the assessment and get to know how you move.
Are the shoe stores giving you the best information about your running pattern?
Unfortunately, I see more and more runners coming to the clinic with pain in their knees and back due to bad recommendations given to them at their visits to the shoe stores. With people who have been trained to sell their merchandise, we don’t talk about sports medicine unless they are certified in any of the biomechanic professions and are able to evaluate for real different running dysfunctions, injuries, posture, etc. They are trained to sell what they have in their stores, specific promotions in some shoes, but this is not always what you need as a runner.
You may be investing a lot of money in a good pair of shoes that isn't adjusted to your footprint. For that, is highly recommended to come and do a gait analysis together with a shoe evaluation. In that way, your next investment will be in your race, and not in your treatments.