Picking the Right Running Shoe…Your Guide to Fitness Happiness

Picking the Right Running
Shoe…Your Guide to Fitness
Col Tom Duquette
Today’s Agenda:
The Basics
Foot Type – The
Wet Test
Shoe Anatomy
Shoe Types
Shoe/Foot Match
Training Tips
The “miracle” of the foot:
Combination of 26 bones, 33 joints, 112
ligaments, and a network of tendons, nerves,
and blood vessels
All work together to establish the graceful
synergy involved in running
Balance, support, and propulsion of a
runner's body all depend on the foot
Before entering a running program make sure
your body's connection with the ground is in
good shape
The Basics
Running shoes should be selected
carefully. Factors to weigh when looking
for a new shoe include:
Past experience with shoes
Current Problems
Biomechanical Needs
Environmental Factors
Running and Racing Requirements
The Basics
Consider ground reaction forces = 3-4x
Failing to replace worn shoes is a major
cause of running injuries
Estimate mileage at somewhere between 600
to 800 miles or 6-8 months whichever comes
Most individuals should be replace their
shoes before they show major wear
Don’t be fooled by cosmetics: the shoe will be
gradually lose its shock absorption/stability
The Wet Test
1) Pour a thin layer of water into a
shallow pan
The Wet Test
2) Wet the sole of your foot.
The Wet Test
3) Step onto a shopping bag or a blank
piece of heavy paper.
The Wet Test
4) Step off and look down.
The Wet Test
Observe the shape of your foot and
match it with one of the following foot
Knowing your foot type is the first step
toward finding the right shoe for you
Other variables such as your weight,
biomechanics, weekly mileage, and fit
preferences come into play
The Wet Test
Normal (medium) Arch
See about half of your arch
Most common foot type and are considered
“normal” pronators
Can wear just about any shoe
may be best suited to a stability shoe that provides
moderate arch support (or medial stability)
Lightweight runners with normal arches may
prefer neutral-cushioned shoes without any added
or even a performance-training /race shoe that
offers some support but less heft, for a faster feel
The Wet Test
Flat (low) Arch
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
Pronation Explained
When you run or walk, you land on the
outside edge of your foot and roll inward. This
entirely normal inward rolling is called
Some runners roll inward too much. This
excessive inward rolling is called
Overpronation decreases the limb’s ability to
absorb shock
Normal pronation is a good thing!
The Wet Test
You need either stability shoes
Feature dual-density midsoles, supportive
"posts" best for mild to moderate
Or motion-control shoes, which have
firmer support devices, & straight
external last
Best for severe overpronators, as well as
heavy (over 165 pounds), or bow-legged
The Wet Test
High Arch
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
This means you're likely an underpronator, or
Can result in too much shock traveling up your
legs, since your arch doesn't collapse enough to
absorb it; prone to more ankle sprains
The Wet Test
Underpronators are best suited to
neutral-cushioned, curved lasted shoes
Need a softer midsole to encourage
Vital that an underpronator's shoes have
no added stability devices to reduce or
control pronation
 Avoid Stability or Motion Control shoes!
Shoe Anatomy
Outer Last: The template or model
upon which the shoe is built
Different manufacturers use different
Semi-curved: most common
Straight: for flat feet/overpronators
Curved: for high arched, rigid feet
Shoe Anatomy
Inner Last:
Slip lasted shoes are frequently good for high
arched feet
looks like a sewn moccasin
Board Lasted shoes suggested for
Piece of board material from heel to toe
Combination lasted shoes are supposed to
offer the best of both worlds
stability in the rearfoot and flexibility in the forefoot
Board in rear, slip last in front
Shoe Anatomy
Outer Last: The template or model upon
which the shoe is built
Outer-Sole: The outermost part of the sole,
which is treaded
On running shoes the tread is designed for
straight ahead motion
Court shoes and cross trainers have their tread
optimized for lateral or side-to-side stability
poor choice for running
Shoe Anatomy
Outer Last: The template or model
upon which the shoe is built. Different
manufacturers use different lasts
Outer-Sole: The outermost part of the
sole, which is treaded
Upper: The uppermost part of the shoe.
This part encompasses your foot and
has the laces
Shoe Anatomy
External heel counter: A plastic device that
wraps around the rearfoot and stabilizes it
This reduces overpronation, increases
rearfoot control, and maintains the integrity of
the heel counter
You need it if: You're a severe overpronator (your
feet roll inward excessively after heelstrike)
and/or a heavy runner who breaks down heel
counters quickly
Shoe Anatomy
Stability post: A device molded into the
sidewall of the midsole to promote greater
foot stability
Known by a variety of trade names such as
Diagonal Rollbar (Brooks), Graphite Rollbar
(New Balance), Footbridge (Nike), and
Support Bridge (Reebok)
You need it if: You overpronate
or need a shoe that reduces side-to-side foot
motion and increases rearfoot control and support.
Shoe Anatomy
Dual-density midsole: The use of two
different densities of midsole foam, with a
firmer density on the medial (inner) side of
the shoe to reduce pronation
The firmer density is usually a darker color,
and can extend from the rearfoot to the
midfoot, or occasionally the full length of the
medial side
You need it if: Your feet overpronate. A dual
density midsole will stabilize your feet and reduce
excessive inward roll
Shoe Anatomy
Midsole: The portion between the
upper and the outer-sole
This is the area whose major contribution
to the shoe is shock absorption
Sockliner: This is the usually
removable liner inside the shoe
Has a bit of an arch and usually some
shock absorbing material incorporated into
it- - not very effective
Proper Footwear
Shoe choice should be determined
foot structure = morphology
foot function = over or under
pronated or neutral foot)
body type = weight
running environment and running
Shoe Types
Cushioned Shoes
You should wear cushioned shoes if:
you are a runner who needs maximum midsole
and minimum medial (arch-side) support
These shoes are best suited for biomechanically
efficient runners (you don't overpronate), and
midfoot or forefoot strikers
Runners who do best in cushioned shoes often
have moderate to high arches
Shoe Types
Motion Control Shoes
You should wear motion-control shoes if:
you are a runner who overpronates moderately to
Motion-control shoes will give you maximum
rearfoot control and extra support on the medial
(arch) side of the foot
Motion-control shoes are also best suited for big
or heavy runners who need plenty of support and
These runners often have low arches (flat feet)
Shoe Types
Performance Training/Race Shoes
You should wear performance-training shoes
You are a runner who wants a light, well-balanced
shoe suitable for racing, speedwork, or daily
These shoes are best-suited for fast, efficient
runners who want to train in them
Moderate overpronators can also train and race in
some of these shoes
Shoe Types
Stability Shoes
You should wear stability shoes if:
You are a runner who needs medial (archside) support and good midsole cushioning
These shoes are best suited for runners
who are mild to moderate overpronators,
and/or need added support and durability
Shoe Types
Trail Shoes
You should wear trail shoes if:
You are a runner who frequently runs offroad, and are looking for rugged shoes
with great outsole traction…
and some weather- and water-resistant
Many trail shoes are built low-to-theground for added stability on rough trails
Shoe Summary
Flat Foot
Straight Last outsole
Board last insole
Dual density midsole
External heel counter
Stability Post
High Arch Foot
Curved Last outsole
Slip Last insole
“Gel”, “Air”, or other
shock absorbing
midsole materials
- More Show Business than Shoe business out
there, don’t buy the hype!
- Avoid Fashion Brands
- Name brand running shoe at moderate price
- Skip bells and whistles
Shoe Maintenance/Fit
A shoe's midsole only lasts so long.
Life expectancy 6-8 mo’s or 600-800
miles whichever comes first
This means that if you are running 20
miles a week, you should consider
changing by ~ 20 to 25 weeks
Retire old shoes for casual wear or
Shoe Maintenance/Fit
Sole wear: Does not necessarily reflect
the loss of shock absorption by a shoe
Don’t be fooled be cosmetics
“Shoo Goop” doesn’t work
Length: Make sure there is about a
finger's width at the front of the shoe
This will help prevent runner's (black) toe
Shoe Maintenance/Fit
The widest part of the shoe should
be at the widest part of your foot.
Shoe Maintenance/Fit
Make sure you carefully lace your shoe
before running
Too tight a shoe may make parts of the
top of your foot sore or squeeze your
metatarsals too tightly
Too loose a shoe may make your foot
move excessively and be less stable
Training Tips
Systematic exercises must progress
slowly from easy to rigorous to prevent
debilitating muscle strain or more
serious injury
The best and safest way to start a
running program is with a four-day-perweek conditioning program for 12-16
Training Tips
Begin with two sets of two-minute jogs
interspersed with five minutes of fast walking
If muscles are stiff, walk only; have an "easy
day" if you're in pain
As the weeks progress, gradually increase the
number of minutes jogged per set to 20
Spend at least five workouts at each new
level attained
Training Tips
By the 16th week, you should be able to run
two sets of 20 minutes each, with a fiveminute walk before, between, and after
Make adjustments for heat and altitude, and
don't be frustrated if you think your pace is
too slow
The best way to avoid injury is to avoid the
"terrible twos": too much, too soon, too fast,
too often
Ice is your friend, 10 min on repeat hourly
Training Tips
Proper foot hygiene can also prevent injuries
Keeping feet powdered and dry is important,
especially to minimize blisters
Blisters can be limited by wearing socks that
wick moisture
This strategy can also help prevent athlete's foot
Training Tips
Start easy. Run at a speed that meets
the "talk test" - that you can carry on a
conversation with a companion
Build up time and intensity gradually
Wear sport specific shoes not crosstraining, walking or tennis shoes for
“You can walk in a running shoe but cannot
run in a walking shoe”
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