How To Choose The Right Running Shoe

With so many athletic based shoes out on the market and each and every brand spruiking their own special names for the technologies they use within their particular product it can be hard to know exactly what you are looking for. To help combat this to some degree we have broken down 4 of the more important shoes features:

1. Firm Heel Counter

The heel counter is the cupped rear of the shoe’s chassis designed to hold the heel of the foot in place when the shoes are laced correctly. It is a growing trend in the technology and design features of shoes for females to have a more narrow heel and wider forefoot to compensate for anatomical differences. In some cases where the heel counter is not stiff enough to keep the rear foot stable the chance of ankle inversion sprains, blistering and Achilles tendon injuries have the potential to increase in an unaware athlete.

2. Midsole

The mid sole of a traditional shoe is meant to be stiff to act as a lever of propulsion when the toes bend to toe off into the flight or single stance phase of running or walking respectively. This shank technology in the shoe is most often the part which breaks down the fastest but is also not obvious to the naked eye when it begins to occur.
When the midsole flexibility begins to increase, much of the shoes support systems also begin to be less effective this has the potential to lead to plantar surfaces of the foot to be placed under further pressure and the extrinsic muscles of the foot to be overloaded as the attempt to support the foot in a stable position through mid-stance and propulsion.

3. Outer Sole

The outer sole is the most visible support and cushioning system of the shoe, often coloured differently dependant on the uni/dual/tri density materials used a support system. These attributes can also contribute to the pitch of the shoe which will be further discussed in the upcoming article which looks at the theory of types of footwear currently available.
The combination of varying densities can lead to an uneven breakdown period which can cause undue pressure in areas which do not require the need for structure and therefore result in pedal postural changes and irritation of anatomical organisations.

4. Fore foot

The fore foot of the shoe should be able to flex in a upward direction at the toe joints or what many of my patients tend to call the “knuckles” of the foot. The width of the shoe should not be able to be compressed and side to side, rotational or downward flexibility should be approached with caution as this once again can lead to overloading injuries or injuries which can be associated with body awareness or shoe awareness such as ankle inversion sprains.

The shoe features discussed above are relatable to what is known as a traditional shoe. In the coming blog I will take a more in-depth and evidence based look at barefoot, minimalist, traditional and maximalist shoes to put in context the variants of these popular personal choices.

If you have any questions regarding footwear advice or any other lower limb injury please feel free to contact us on 1300 821 893

Jackson McCosker

Sports Podiatrist: Melbourne Podiatry Clinic