Part 2: Into the Chaos of the Shoe World
What are your feet DOING anyway?
So you're ready for a new shoe. Good for you. I hope you've carbed up for this. There are a couple of main things to consider to get the right match. Like online dating, don't lie. Be honest about your foot. It may not like moonlight walks or lazy Sundays reading Dostoyevsky so don't pretend it does.
Step #1: What the HELL is going on with your arch? Try the wet foot test. It's very complicated: get the bottom of your foot wet. Step on something that will show the print. You should end up with something in this range:
Step 3: FORM IS THE NEW BLACK
While there is NO guarantee that you won't get injured running, you can reduce the risk by understanding what the hell is happening when you run.
Think about how you ran as a kid, barefoot in the grass: You landed on the front of your foot NOT your heel. You did this instinctively because it frickin HURTS if you land on your heel. This is a real lesson. Here's why:
IMPACT: when you land on your heel there is an increased force, impact, reduction of momentum. 3x your body weight can travel up and much of that impact is stuck on your joints.
We're not doctors (though we HAVE seen every episode of House) and we don't make medical claims on Runhole.com… BUT, it's physics. Pretty simple.
In response to heel striking (or maybe vice versa), shoe companies starting making huge cushioned heels. There is evidence that having such cushion actually encourages heel striking as you don't feel the immediate impact from the strike. You will pay in the end though. I spent about 4 months of a new running reason simply getting rid of this bad habit and changing to the forefoot landing stride. It was worth it.
Don't believe it? TEST: Jump up a little bit and land on the balls of your feet. Now do the same thing and land only on your heels. OUCH. You can feel the difference between the muscles and ligaments absorbing the shock versus having that impact drive up from your heels.
I don't get sore knees. I recover fast. I don't have the injuries and nagging aches that people who run 1/4 as much of me have. Now I'm not claiming that the stride is the only reason. I'm just saying that before I changed my stride I DID have sore knees. It's worth consideration and more research on your own if you are skeptical.
So that's a lot of info and where does it leave us?
I'm not advocating the barefoot (or minimalist trend). I think there's a spot for everyone- as long at you feel good and avoid injury. That's more important than trends.
There are many brands with a flat shoe (zero drop: aka the heel is not elevated from the front of the foot) Altra, Vibram, Newton, Hoka, Innov8.
There are even more brands with a JUST a SKOOCH of tilt (3-6mm higher in the heel than the front) : Salomon, Brooks, Mizuno, Pearl Izumi
There are also a ton of brands with a lot of drop. And many brands sell all ranges of drop. My personal preference is low drop 3-4mm.
If you have a local running store that will allow testing, DO THAT!!! Try different drops and different brands. You may find one brand that works for you or just a specific model.
Learn what works from the drop standpoint and a pronation standpoint too. The more you know, the better. You are a special butterfly and unique!
Many websites also have a shoe-buying guide as well, so use those too. They're free!
When, not IF, you find the shoe that you love, consider buying a few pair. Companies are constantly changing the model and design and you may never have a chance to find a pair exactly the same.
Also, this supports our firm belief at Runhole that you NEVER have enough shoes.
SHOES: PART 2
Why it matters: There are shoes made SPECIFICALLY based on your pronation level, from severe over-pronation, to supination. Also, many running shores will chuck you on a treadmill and take video of up to see this as well. Of course they want to sell you the PERFECT solution which normally involves a $150 shoe. Still, you can see your stride and that's worth something.
It your wear the wrong pronation type shoes, your knees will hurt. Just a warning.
Gentle rise in force, limited loss in momentum, less impact
Road Shoe: Brooks Pure Flow (Max contact with cement)
Hybrid Shoe: Salomon Mantra (Some grip tread)
Aggressive Trail Shoe: Salomon SG (Big chunky tread)
Advice, Stories, Editorials, Absurd Rants, and Utter Babbling Nonsense from our extensive Runhole team in the field.
Shoes: the wedding dresses of the athletic world...
Heel Strike causes instant loss of momentum and loss of forward motion, jarring impact of up to 3x your weight
Step#2: Where are you going to be running? It matters. If you use an aggressive trail shoe on the cement, you will quickly wear down the tread and it will NOT be very comfortable. Think of the tread on the trail sinking into the dirt. On cement, those nubs have no where to go so they refocus the impact up into your feet. This can be very uncomfortable.
Buy a shoe for your terrain. Better to have a pair for roads and trails than trying to force one for both. There are SOME models built for the new trend "Urban Trails". Basically a marketing ploy. All you're getting is a road shoe with a bit of extra tread. These are perfect for stepping in dog shit or the treacherous floor of a Starbucks.
Just kidding. I have a pair of Salomon Mantras that I can use for short distances on roads AND trails, but I'd never race in them.
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