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Proper Shoe Selection


Proper shoe selection is an important part of the injury prevention. Forces greater than three to five times your body weight are placed on your feet and dissipated up your leg when you run. Not only does running place a lot of force on the foot, but walking and everyday activity can place enough stress to cause pain. The right running shoes will accommodate the needs of the individual walker and runner and can help enhance comfort and performance.

Determining Your Foot Type:

When you walk and run, after your heel strikes the ground, your foot supinates by staying on the outside of the foot, and then slowly pronates by rolling inward through the front pf the toes. The foot then becomes rigid lever so that you may propulse forward. Perfect walking and running styles are rare. Over-pronation (feet roll inward too much) is more common than over-supination (feet lack normal inward rolling).

The Overpronator:

  • About 64% of the population
  • Feet roll inward too much when running.
  • Generally ha s low arches.
  • Knees and kneecaps move toward the inside of the feet when you bend halfway at the knees.
  • More susceptible to Runner’s knee, shin splints, tendonitis, Morton’s nueroma, plantar faciitis

The Oversupinator:

  • About 12% of the population
  • Lacks normal inward rolling of feet when running
  • Usually has high arches
  • Knees and kneecaps move toward the outside of the feet when you bend halfway at the knees.
  • More susceptible to ankle sprains, stress fractures, iliotibial band syndrome, plantar fasciitis.

Shoe Requirements:

The Overpronator:

  • A board-lasted, combination lasted or straight lasted shoe.
  • Maximum rear-foot stability.
  • Substantial medial and lateral support.
  • Firmest mid-soles possible.

The Oversupinator:

  • A curved or slip lasted shoe.
  • Low or moderate rear-foot stability.
  • Soft midsoles.

A Neutral Gait:

  • A semi-curved last.
  • External heel counter.
  • Durable midsole material.

Guidelines to find the best fit:

  • Allow a thumb nail’s length between the end of your longest toe when you stand up.
  • Try on both shoes with the same type of sock to be worn during activity.
  • Try on several different models to make a good comparison. Walk or jog around the store in the shoes.
  • The heel counter should fit snugly so that there is minimal slipping at the heel.
  • Shoes should be comfortable on the day that you purchase them. Don’t rely on a break-in period.
  • The sole should flex where your foot flexes. Look for shoes with removable insoles to accommodate orthotic devices.
  • Shop in the afternoon to get the right fit.
  • Check the quality of the shoes. Look at the stitching, eyelets, gluing. Feel for bumps inside the shoe.
  • Consult the staff at running specialty stores for help in selecting the correct shoes.


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