It can be a bit a trial and error to find the best running shoes for your foot type.
Foot health for Runners can help you avoid injuries and extend your running. No matter if your aiming for your first 5km race, your first Ultra Marathon or even a endurance multi-sport event. We can all learn a little bit about our main piece of kit, our feet!!
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Our podiatrists at the clinic will see people every day, learning these lessons the hard way. Today let’s explain the importance of footwear and why this choice is critical.
Let’s go over what we are going to cover:
- Foot Facts
- Finding a shoe or brand?
- Tests for finding shoes.
- How do they last, when do we replace them?
Your feet at the end of the body and that point between to ground and your body is very important. Let’s have a look at some fun facts that will show the importance of great footwear, especially while running.
- The foot contains a quarter of the bones in the body. That’s 26 bones, with 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles. That’s a pretty impressive ‘feet’ of engineering!
- There are around 250,000 sweat glands in the foot. That’s a lot of cooling needed for this structure and sometimes the body can excrete 500ml of sweat per day. There are some more fun foot facts here…
- Ground reaction forces in walking compared to running raise considerably. Research tells us when walking we can reach up to 1.5 times our body weight. When running it can be as much as 2.9 times our body weight, for some further research have a read here.
As you can see the foot is a complex structure and figuring out what suits us, sometimes can be as individual as our finger print!
If we want to help our performance, and stave off injury, here are some approaches we can follow…
The Best Running Shoe or Brand?
As Podiatrists, we are always hesitant when someone asks us, “Does this brand XXXX make good shoes?”. Now that seems like a simple enough question and there are some brands that we would recommend above other.
There’s a great article by Nick Dewey from Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy on buying your next pair of running shoes that’s worth a read.
We have to remember that asking if a certain brand makes a good shoe is like asking if VW makes a good car? Well, we know they have made the popular Beetle and also the Combi van. These are vastly different cars suiting different needs of a driver.
Shoes are no different and different brands will do different models. Some will be great, and some will be not so great. Because of this we like to focus on good features of shoes, rather than looking for a brand to help patients make a decision!
Finding a shoe with good integrity is sometimes a challenge and then we need to get it to fit our feet. Remember not all feet are the same, and quite often feet will be different shapes and sizes.
So just because someone on Facebook has suggested that the specific shoes they bought magically cured their injury, be hesitant in believing they will be a magical cure for you as well!!
Go to a reputable store like The Athlete’s Foot to purchase shoes, staff there will be able to fit your shoes to your individual fit. Buying improper shoes to run in will exacerbate many issue’s within your feet.
Tests for finding the best running shoes.
When purchasing shoes there are a few small tips to make sure that you shoe will support you for the running miles that you want it too!
Heel Counter – This is the back of the shoe and it’s where the most impact your body has when you land on the ground! As we know from our ground reaction forces with running it can be as high as 2.4 times our body weight.
Obviously this needs to be strong to protect the first part of the gait cycle, ground contact. Press just above the EVA sole to make sure of a shoe’s firmness.
If it’s flimsy, cheap poorly manufactured shoes will have cardboard. On the opposite quality shoes will have a thermoplastic.
Torsion Test – Hold your shoe by the sole, one hand at the front, one hand at the back. We are testing the shoe’s torsional support here.
Don’t grip the shoe like an x-box controller as it will give us a false indication. We want the shoe to be stable, have a little bit of flex to let our foot act as a foot.
We don’t want this to be able to be wringing like a wet towel, such as some of the lighter weight ‘comfort’ shoes that are currently on the market.
These are two small tests we can do to check the stability of the shoe. If you shoe fails these tests, don’t even look at buying them.
When should you look for new running shoes?
The age old question, when do you need to replace your running shoes? There is no straight answer. An average runner’s weight and gait pattern means we all differ slightly. Generally shoes will last between 600 – 800km. There are also some other tell tale signs you cane read about here.
It’s a good idea to have two pairs of shoes on rotation. This importantly will let them EVA recover, the foam support your shoe sole is made out of. It will also help the sweat dry out and inhibit fungus growth.
If you have any questions as a runner, about your shoes or what you should be wearing or not wearing don’t hesitate to book in with one of our friendly Podiatrists.
- Pedorthics.org.au. (2019). Foot Facts | PAA. [online] Available at: //pedorthics.org.au/foot-facts/ [Accessed 20 Aug. 2019].
- NILSSON, J. and THORSTENSSON, A. (1989). Ground reaction forces at different speeds of human walking and running. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 136(2), pp.217-227.
- Asics.com. (2019). When to Replace Your Running Shoes | ASICS. [online] Available at: //www.asics.com/ie/en-ie/running-advice/changing-your-running-shoes-knowing-when-is-the-right-time/ [Accessed 27 Aug. 2019].