Although winter is still holding on here in Chicago, dedicated runners still hit the streets or gyms to keep up their exercise routines. With a doctor’s permission, running has terrific health benefits including preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even certain cancers, and can help you cope with stress, depression and anxiety.
Running shoes have certainly evolved the years and budding athletes may be puzzled by the many types displayed in a running specialty store. Read on for a quick guide that can help you choose the best shoe for your foot type and gait.
What Type of Arch Do You Have?
The first step is to assess the arch of your foot – low, high or normal. Just wet your feet in the shower and then step onto a surface where you can see your footprint – bathroom tile works well. Is the inside part of your foot’s outline missing? Then you have a normal or higher arch. If you see the full outline of your foot, your arch is lower including flat foot.
Neutral, Motion Control or Stability Shoe?
Making a shoe choice depends on your arch type and the degree of pronation, or rolling inward of the foot, when you walk or run. A stability shoe is appropriate for those with normal height arches who over-pronate. These shoes have a moderate amount of arch support and mid-sole cushioning. Most runners belong to this category.
A neutral shoe with more cushioning and flexibility is designed for runners who may under-pronate due to having higher arches, although some pronation inward is normal.
Athletes with flat feet or low arches, or larger runners, will benefit from a motion control shoe. These shoes are stiffer and heavier and have less flexibility in the heel to give more support on the inside of the foot.
Consider Running Shoe Drop Too
The drop in running shoe is the height difference between the heel and toe and determines the part of the foot that strikes the ground with each step.
Many running shoes that are more traditional have a drop between 8mm-12mm that encourages more heel striking. Minimalist or barefoot shoes have a smaller drop of between 0mm and 4mm. These shoes encourage a forefoot or mid-foot strike but also have a minimal amount of arch support.
Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM urges you to take it slow if you choose to move from a traditional shoe to one that is more minimalist. Begin with shorter runs with your new minimalist shoes to prevent injury.
We’d be happy to assess your foot and gait and discuss the best options for you.
We Can Help with Any Type of Sports Injury
Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of foot and ankle sports injuries. Many treatments and surgeries can be addressed right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Don’t let foot pain get worse – call us today!