Have you ever turned up to a sports shop and felt really overwhelmed at the amount of variety there is in sports shoes? I know I have and I’m an expert in gait analysis and biomechanics.
Once you find a trainer that works, stick with it. For me, I’ve been wearing Nike Zoom Pegasus for about the last four years (not the same shoe, I change trainers every 5 months) I’ve got a neutral foot and find that the Pegasus is very well cushioned and comfortable.
I’m going to try and break down the different options for buying a new trainer as simply as possible.
Let me start off by saying that there are four basic types of training shoes. They are:- stability, neutral, performance and minimalist.
Generally recommended for mild to moderate over pronator (foot rolls in) and would generally have low to normal arches. A stability trainer should have good support and midsole cushioning.
Neutral trainers need to have maximum midsole cushioning and minimal medial (inside) support. This is more appropriate for a biomechanically efficient runner and they are likely to have normal or higher arches.
This trainer is for the bio-mechanically efficient runner. It’s lighter and narrower weighing in at around 250g and will come with varying degrees of support.
This is as the name suggests, a minimalist shoe. Everything is stripped down (there is some element of cushioning). This shoe is often seen as the mid- point between neutral trainers and performance shoes.
Above was a very quick summary of the four main models of training shoes on the market. Most of the population will fall into the first two categories of either stability or neutral trainer.
SO WHATS NEXT??
Now that I’ve explained the four basic types of trainers you need to know what your foot does.
The easy and most effective way to do this is something called the “wet test” This can be done on many levels. The most basic would be leaving your footprint on concrete. Very simple. Wet your feet and walk (think of the trail you leave when you get out of the pool)
The Normal Foot
Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and will leave a wet footprint that has a flare, but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a broad band. A normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards slightly to absorb shock. It’s the foot of a runner and the most optimal of the 3 different styles of feet.
Best shoes: Stability shoes with moderate control features.
The Flat Foot
This has a low arch and leaves a print which looks like the whole sole of the foot. It usually indicates an over-pronated foot – one that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards (pronates) excessively. Unfortunately if you have a flat foot this over time is likely to cause the most amount of issues in regards to injuries.
Best shoes: Motion control shoes, or high stability shoes with firm midsoles and control features that reduce the degree of pronation. Stay away from highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, which lack stability features.
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The High-Arched Foot
This leaves a print showing a very narrow band or no band at all between the forefoot and the heel. A curved, highly arched foot is generally supinated or underpronated. Because it doesn’t pronate enough, it’s not usually an effective shock absorber.
Best shoes: Cushioned (or ‘neutral’) shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Stay away from motion control or stability shoes, which reduce foot mobility.
So there you have it. A very basic summary into making the right decision into your next training shoe. It’s always recommended to speak to an expert and these days a lot of good trainer shops actually have gait analysis where they will film your strike as you hit the treadmill.
Stay tuned as I am currently trying to sort out a discount with a running shop for all people that receive this PGPT blog.
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