Pronation is a normal foot in motion, from foot-strike on the outside of the heel through the inward roll of the foot. Pronation occurs as the foot rolls from the outer edge to the inner edge. Everyone pronates, and the initial pronation is considered an important and healthy response to the intense amount of shock imposed upon the foot and is integral to propelling you forward. If the foot pronates too much or too little and does so frequently, several biomechanical problems may result that will cause a decrease in performance and increase the possibility of injury.
No matter how expensive your shoes are or how much technology your shoes contain, they will not do their job unless they fit correctly. Here are useful tips that can help assure you are getting the proper fit.
When trying on shoes, if you have custom orthotics or over-the-counter inserts, bring them with you.
Combining rigid orthotics with supportive shoes can sometimes result in over-correction. Consult with the experts to make sure your shoes accommodate your orthotics for a comfortable match.
Make sure there is adequate space in the toe box. Leave 1/2 inch between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. This is about a thumb’s width. This measurement should be done while standing since the foot elongates while weight-bearing. If this measurement is done while sitting, there is a good chance the shoe will be too short.
Check the heel counter to make sure your heel won’t slide excessively and is firm enough to provide stability. A little slippage is normal, but not too much.
If your feet tend to expand throughout the day, try on shoes in the afternoon or evening to insure you have enough toe room.
Walk or run in the shoes while in the store, and experience how they feel. They should be comfortable right away, not needing to be broken in. General rule of thumb: If it hurts in the store, it will hurt at home. An expert sales associate will observe your biomechanics while you try out the shoes, providing knowledgeable feedback.
Knowledgeable Staff/Specialty Shoe Store
Use the knowledge of staff at a specialty shoe store, Gallagher Fitness Resources. We listen to your specific foot concerns, explain the technology of the various categories, assess the wear pattern of your old, worn shoes, and observe the biomechanics of your stride. Taking all this into account, we can help take the guess work out of finding shoes that will provide you the best comfort and functionality.
There is a wide variety of running/walking shoes. The main types are neutral/cushioned, stability and motion control. Regardless of the type of shoe, the constant pounding will wear out the midsole cushioning before the rest of the shoe. The impact at heel strike is typically 2.5 times or more your body weight. This is the same force that is translated to the ankles, knees and lower back. Running shoes are specifically designed to redistribute and absorb shock to preserve the health of these joints. It is recommended to change running shoes every 350-500 miles or every 6 months to maintain proper shock absorption and help prevent injury.
The running shoe world has been buzzing with minimalist/barefoot hype. Gallagher Fitness has an entire line of minimal/natural footstrike shoes from New Balance, Brooks, Saucony, Nike and Altra in addition to the “minimal” racing flats we carry from Asics, Nike and adidas. We want to represent as many choices to our customer base as possible without finding ourselves awash in a tsunami of inventory. To be certain, there are some fads and pretenders trying to make a buck before this minimalist movement implodes. Yet at the same time there are some quality products built by manufacturers who have taken the time and effort to research the final offering and produce a product that will stand the test of time.
We recommend a very careful and methodical transition to using minimalist shoes, especially if you’ve been in conventional shoes for most of your life. If you’re curious about trying them, we encourage you to talk to our staff individually when you come in for shoes. Trust the cumulative experience we have at GFR over the marketing, which can be confusing and misleading. When used correctly, minimal shoes can be a tool to strengthen your feet and lower legs and assist with form awareness. However, they don’t work for everyone. We’ve seen quite a few injuries. The Good Form Running classes at GFR twice a month will increase your awareness of form, regardless of your shoes. We encourage you to sign up. It’s more involved than princess steps.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” However, if you try minimalist shoes, start slowly and proceed gradually. What works for some, doesn’t work for everyone.