When I see runners for their first visit, they typically cannot wait to show me their shoes. Running shoes come in all different brands, shapes, lengths, widths, colors, weights, materials, degrees of stability, etc., etc. The options are endless. Unless they are of the barefoot variety and count gadgets like watches and heart rate monitors, shoes are runners only equipment. So there is no mystery as to why there is a shoe fetish among runners.
If you ask a group of runners what causes running injuries, “wearing the wrong shoes” always tops their list. Is this response incorrect? Depends on your definition of “wrong” and how you determine what is the “right” shoe for you. Should your degree of supination and pronation point to the type of shoe you wear? How about your foot strike? There are multiple studies that show that wearing a shoe matched to your “foot type” does not reduce your risk for injury. How are runners supposed to find their one perfect pair of shoes out of a million if “foot type” is not the answer?
I recently had a runner tentatively show me her shoes and say, “they are just Nikes…” After I reassured her that I was not opposed to Nike, she went on to tell me that she was shoe shamed for not wearing Saucony or Brooks by her fellow running friends. I went on to find out why she stood her ground and stuck with her particular pair of shoes. She stated that they were simply the most comfortable pair of running shoes that she has ever had. BINGO!
As much as we may want some easy to follow diagram with specific criteria to determine the perfect running shoe for you, there isn’t one! There are too many shoe options to count and an even greater variety of people with different combinations of “foot type”, injury history, training history, running gait, strength, mobility etc., etc. Do not allow yourself to continue wearing an uncomfortable shoe because it is the latest trend, coolest brand, or what your go to medical professional, shoe store, or running buddy recommends. Every runner is unique. The only complete answer is to keep shopping and running until you find YOUR most comfortable running shoe.
If you are at a loss of where to start or have tried many different options and still cannot find a shoe that works for you, check out our Running Assessment! With a comprehensive individual assessment, Elite PT can give you guidance to get you headed in the right direction.