As the weather warms and the running season kicks off, all of the buzz around is what new technology is out and how to choose the proper shoe. Deciding which shoe brand is better (New Balance, Asics, Altra, Hoka, On Cloud) to pronation control, supination control, flexible sole, rigid arch, zoom foam, air, springs? It can be confusing and overwhelming. I wanted to give a perspective from an experienced foot doctor to help you choose what shoe would be best for your foot.
Every foot type is structurally different, with no foot being perfect. There are 28 bones, 33 tendons, 100 ligaments in the foot, that are all working together to allow you to walk and run. Majority of people’s feet can be defined as being high arched, fallen arches, stiff jointed, hypermobile joints…you get the idea! Your bone structure drives the function of your foot, but compensation can lead to overuse injuries. For example, someone that excessively drops their arch (pronation), posterior tibial tendonitis (tendons on the inner side of the ankle become damaged) or heel pain which can occur if not wearing proper shoes and causes an imbalance. High arches tend to roll their ankle or develop peroneal tendonitis (inflammation in the tendons that run along your outer ankle bone and the side of your foot.)
One way to determine which shoe would be best for you is to look for a good shock absorbing shoe. When running, 8x the amount of force as someone’s body weight goes through the foot. So if someone weighs 100 pounds, 800 pounds of force is going through the feet. That is a lot of force!! Lightweight foams, thick soles, and stiff soles help take the force of the feet and provide protection.
Anything to look for when determining which shoe is best is how a shoe helps correct and stabilize the bad mechanics prone to happen with different foot types. If someone is flat footed, pronation control is vital. That means a wedge is placed in the shoe’s sole on the inside to turn the heel in. Inverting the heel helps prevent hyperpronation/eversion and will allow the gait cycle to proceed through the arch and into the big toe. Supination control, for high arches, tries to medialize the heel strike, shifting the weight on the inside and keeping pressure under the big toe (not the little toes). This prevents stress fractures, peroneal tendonitis, and rolled ankles.
How does someone know which foot type they have? Determining someone’s foot type is a highly technical process. I use tools like x-ray imaging, gait analysis, and physical exam including a joint exam to discover your foot type. If you are getting ready to spend a lot of money on shoes and training programs, come see us at Align Foot and Ankle and be fully educated on your foot type and gait pattern.
In the end, good structured shoes with proper support can really help prevent injuries that can curb a runner for months. Come check out Align Foot and Ankle for in depth Gait Analysis and talk about our Custom 3D Orthotics to fix the root of the problem and prevent future injuries.