When running, many things will keep you healthy, logging miles and feeling good about your fitness routine. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet, staying well hydrated, getting plenty of sleep and adequate rest/muscle recovery should be integral factors in any type of fitness routine, Yet, perhaps the most important and often overlooked factor is the running shoe. Wearing the right shoe will help you prevent injuries and recover from those that you might have already sustained. A proper evaluation of your gait, foot type and running shoe recommendation from your physical therapist is something that can help keep you running with proper form and prevent injuries.
There are three basic categories for running shoes and having your gait and your feet evaluated will help you figure out which type is right for you.
Neutral or Cushioned: This type of shoe is for the runner who supinates, has a very high arch and pushes off from the outside of their foot. Supinators do not absorb ground reaction force and shock well, so they need a very cushioned shoe with midsole shock absorbing materials.
Stability: This type of shoe is for the runner who mildly pronates, has a normal to low arch and pushes off from the middle to the inside of their foot. Mild pronators absorb ground reaction force adequately, but they need a bit more midfoot, sometimes forefoot control to prevent abnormal motion and biomechanics. Mild pronators need a shoe with moderate medial support with dual density midsole materials.
Motion Control: This type of shoe is for the runner who overpronates, has little to no arch and pushes off from the inside of their foot/first toe. Overpronators do not need cushioning as they adapt to terrain and ground reaction force well, but need a tremendous amount of control to prevent abnormal motion at their foot and subsequent abnormal motion at their ankle, knee, hip and low back. Overpronators need a shoe with dense, thermoplastic reinforcement, little to no cushioning.
Throughout the remainder of the summer and into the fall, keep this information in mind as you think about preventative measures and ways to stay healthy. Enjoy your leisurely runs and your road races and remember: if the RIGHT running shoe fits, wear it!
Be well, Stay In Motion.