How Does a Running Shoe Work

How To Pick The Best Running Shoe For Your Foot Type

When we run, there is a lot of force placed on the foot which then translates upwards to the rest of your body.  More force is produced when we run on harder surfaces such as concrete and asphalt or when we run at higher speeds.  Running is a great form of exercise, but it can place extra stress and strain on our bodies if we are not in the proper running shoe.

Our feet are relatively complicated

The feet are made up of 26 bones and three arches that are supported by many tendons and ligaments.  The anatomy of our feet allows them to work as a strong lever to propel us forward, but are also flexible enough to take the impact of our body weight as we walk and run.  How the feet work and how they are supported can have an impact on the health of our knees, hips and lower back via the kinetic chain.

Why are running shoes an important fixture in modern life?  

A running shoe act as a barrier between the foot and the ground, protecting you from sharp rocks, hard pavement, etc.  The tough outer layer of the running shoe, the outsole, provides this protection.

The rest of the running shoe is designed to offer shock absorption and stability.  When picking a running shoe, finding the best balance between the cushioning and stability for your foot type is important. There’s no one shoe to best fit everyone!

The Mechanics Of Walking

When our foot first hits the ground, we pronate (or roll inwards).  This is critical for shock absorption.  Our foot is more flexible in this phase so as we walk or run, the impact from our weight is softened as our foot hits the ground.  When we supinate, our foot is more stable or hard so it can act as a lever to propel us forward.  The amount of pronation and supination can differ among individuals which is why picking the best show type for your foot is important.

Key Points On Picking The Right Running Shoe

Pick a running shoe that is designed for running.  Running shoes are built to aid in shock absorption.  Remember that 2.5x your bodyweight is the impact that is created when your foot hits the ground.  The three foot types to consider are neutral, low arch (overpronators) and high arch (supinators).  Someone who is said to be flat-footed falls in the low arched or overpronator category.  This foot type needs a running shoe that has more support.  The running shoe will typically be labeled as motion control or stability control shoe.  For someone with a high arch, you should be looking for a show with added cushioning.  High-arched feet need extra shock absorption since the feet do not have it naturally.  A neutral shoe works well for people with arches that are well maintained.  

Remember, when switching to a new running shoe, do not make big changes in your running, speed, mileage or terrain.  You want to make sure that you are aware if the new shoe is causing you pain and it’s not just the change in your training program.

Do I Need Orthotics?

For some people, custom orthotics may be needed.  While it is great to start with picking the right running shoe for your foot type, some people may need extra support from a custom made orthotic.  Not all feet are exactly the same!  If you are experiencing recurrent foot, knee, hip or low back pain, or if you are on your feet for much of the day, talk to your chiropractor if orthotics may be right for you.

 

We hope these tips help you along the way to having happy and healthy feet while you run and walk!

To book an appointment, call 613.860.8600 for our Byward location, and 613.237.9000 for our Glebe location.