Fitness Friday – All About The Shoes Part I

Happy Fitness Friday! As promised, I am here to talk all about sneakers today. For the past month, I’ve been training on how to fit people for proper running shoes at a specialty running store. I finally feel like I can start sharing all my new knowledge!

Ironically, we aren’t really talking about shoes that much in the first post of this series. Instead, we’re starting at the beginning with the feet. 

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Be thankful I kept my socks on for these photos ;) I want to demonstrate the three most common foot types. Keep in mind, the shape of your foot will change from standing, to walking, to running. So you may require different shoes for all these needs. Also, running shoes are not cross trainers. The former is meant for a forward motion, the latter for lateral motion. I don’t recommend wearing your gym shoes for running or vice versa. Yup, it’s an expensive habit. Now how many pairs of pumps do you own? :P

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The above photos represent a neutral stance. I’m not the best example of this because my arches are quite high to begin with and you can see my weight coming to the side a little. But in general, the arches are a good height and the ankles are above the heels.

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This is an example of how a neutral runner strikes the ground. Almost everyone hits on the outside of the heel first (that’s why shoes have extra cushioning there) and then curve to come off on the inside of the forefoot. If this is where the wear patterns are on the bottom of your shoe, then you’re in the right one!

 

Supination

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Supination is when you come to the outside of your foot. You will immediately notice a high, or “rigid” arch. The knees will sometimes come apart when a person squats and you will see the toes spread out to the side when the person walks.

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Most noticeably, the ankles will turn to the outside of the heel. There is nothing you can do to correct this in a regular running shoe. So supinators go for a general cushioning shoe. No arch support required, just something to make the ride a little comfier!

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This is where you’ll see wear patterns on the shoe of a supinator. The worst thing you could do for a supinator is put them in a shoe with arch support, because it will only push their foot out further.

 

Pronator

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Pronation is actually the most common form of gait. More people pronate than supinate or run neutrally. Again, my foot here isn’t the best example for this, but you will notice the flatter arch right away. You’ll see the inside of the foot pushing toward the ground when they walk or run. The knees will come together when they squat.

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The ankles here come to the inside of the heel. Pronators need varying levels of arch support and most commonly wear a stability shoe. The above example would need just mild arch support to push the feet up from leaning inward when running. Some people however overpronate and have flat feet. They require a motion control shoe with super duper arch support.

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No surprise where the wear patterns will be on a pronator. If this is where your shoes are wearing down, it’s time to consider something with extra support.

 

And just so you get an idea of what the varying levels of support look like:

 

Cushioning (neutral/supinator)

Stability (pronator)

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Motion Control (overpronator)

 

Press on the cushioning on the inside of the shoe and you can tell where the arch support begins by how hard it gets. Also, the more support, the more expensive the shoe!

It’s also worth noting that people with orthotics are typically put in a cushioning/neutral shoe because the orthotic is already doing the correction for them. If you have flat feet and wear a supportive orthotic, a shoe with extra support can actually overcorrect you and do more damage.

 

So that is my introduction to running shoe classifications! Next week I am going to cover the popular running shoe brands and how to find a brand that suits you as a runner. Per usual, leave any questions you may have below.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

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Posted on October 15, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Thanks for all that info! I am a tiny bit of a supinator.

  2. Looks like the Running Room has trained you well! ;) I’m so pumped to buy new shoes tomorrow – I’m a pronator and Asics is the brand that fits be best (well, that I know of!) Shame about the hefty price tag….

    Have a fab weekend! :)

  3. great info, you need to be writing books on this stuff, seriously!

    given where you just showed the wear on supinators, that confirms that i am a mild sup. but not terrible. and yes cushioning is where it’s at for me. and the heels are what gets ground down in my shoes and the toe pops.

    All your shoe talk has helped me self diagnose my shoe needs, confirming what i knew but nice to know more :)

  4. Very useful!!
    I’m just about to head out to buy a new pair of runners from the Running Room :)

    I’ve had my current ones for…4 years, I think! No wonder my feet have been hurting after workouts, eh?

  5. I’ve always wondered this….now…perfect time to ask! LOL
    I’m still wearing running shoes (GT-2150 Asics) for everything. Honestly, I don’t even run anymore. LOL I know, I know…but they’re so darn comfortable, and I know that. No dropping $100 on shoes and finding they suck. :)
    So…question….you go to a running store to be fitted for running shoes…but….where do you go/how do you know what cross-training shoes to get?
    And, is a good cross-trainer enough for someone like me who has exercise ADD? Some days it’s walking the pup outside, some days its all gym cardio, and MOST days its weight-lifting.

  6. I am a pronator, but I have worn corrective orthotics since high school. I’d suggest orthotics for anyone because they allow you to wear lighter cushioning shoes. The stability shoes are so heavy!!

    I’ve been considering some Vibrams…but I’m not sure if they would be great for my gait considering the pronation.

  7. Flat-footed pronator, right here! I actually have those Brooks shoes in the last photo. I get teased for having granny shoes, but they are the only type of shoe I can run in!

  8. Wow, this and the subsequent post are so full of info- I’m gonna bookmark it so I can ‘study’ before my next purchase. I ran on a treadmill where they did some fancy schmancy weight-balance checking and I was pretty neutral. BUT my fave shoes (cross trainers) by UnderArmour are DISCONTINUED. When I heard that I bought about 4 pairs (so I’ll be totally out of style in a few years when I’m still wearing them) but I desperately need to find some good water-resistant travel running shoes. I’m thinking trail runners but I can’t find any here! :-(

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