Discovering Your Perfect Running Shoe: Guidance from Tom Michaud's "Injury-Free Running"
As a healthcare provider, one of the most common questions I get from my running patients is, "How do I find the perfect running shoe?" Drawing from Tom Michaud's insightful book, "Injury-Free Running", I want to guide you through this crucial process.
Step 1: Understand Your Foot Type
Know Your Arch and Gait: Michaud emphasizes the importance of knowing your foot type. Are your arches high, flat, or neutral? Observe your gait: Do you overpronate (roll inward), under-pronate (roll outward), or have a neutral gait? These factors greatly influence your shoe choice.
Step 2: Consider Foot Mechanics
Pronation and Shoe Selection: Your pronation style impacts your shoe needs. Overpronators often benefit from stability shoes, under-pronators from cushioned shoes, and neutral runners can opt for a balance of support and cushioning.
Step 3: Get a Professional Fitting
Size and Fit Matter: A professional fitting is invaluable. Ensure there's enough room in the toe box and that the shoe snugly fits around your heel. Your feet can swell during runs, so try on shoes in the evening when your feet are at their largest.
Step 4: Assess Cushioning and Support
Balancing Comfort and Stability: Michaud advises finding a balance between cushioning for shock absorption and support for stability. This depends on your running style and the surfaces you frequently run on.
Step 5: Determine the Heel-to-Toe Drop
Heel-to-Toe Drop Considerations: This aspect, the difference in height between the heel and the toe of the shoe, affects how your foot strikes the ground. Michaud suggests that the drop should complement your natural running motion.
Step 6: Think About Shoe Durability
Consider the Running Surface and Shoe Lifespan: The type of terrain you run on affects your shoe choice. Trail runners require more grip and durability, while road runners might prioritize cushioning and responsiveness.
Step 7: Flexibility and Responsiveness
Shoe Flexibility: A shoe that allows your foot to move naturally is crucial. Flexibility in the right areas, such as the forefoot, helps facilitate a natural stride.
Step 8: Test the Shoes
The Real-World Test: Always test the shoes in a way that mimics your running. Many stores offer treadmills for this purpose. Pay attention to how the shoes feel during actual movement.
Step 9: Rotate Your Shoes
Avoiding Overuse: Michaud recommends rotating between two or more pairs of running shoes to prevent overuse injuries and to extend the life of the shoes.
Finding the perfect running shoe is a personal journey, and what works for one runner may not work for another. Using the guidelines from Tom Michaud's "Injury- Free Running", you can make an informed decision that complements your running style and supports your feet, helping you run comfortably and reducing the risk of injuries.
Unfortunately, as you have probably guessed from the above, buying a random shoe from the internet or from a franchise footwear store at the local shopping centre, it’s important to have your shoe properly fitted by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Fortunately, we have arranged with the people at Running Science in Rozelle, that as our practice member they will fit you with your perfect shoe and also you’ll get a 10% discount.
Running Science is where I get my running shoes and can vouch for their great service and expertise.
Click here to go to the Running Science website.
During December and January Dr Mark is offering a complimentary “Fit To Run” assessment. This involves a biomechanical evaluation of spine / hips/ lower limb specifically designed to assess potential faults that may lead to injury for runners.
Call us on 9428 4033 to book your Fit To Run Assessment – when making your appointment please state it’s for a Fit To Run Assessment.
Dr Mark has a special interest in helping recreational athletes of all ages perform better and prevent injury. Correct breathing and postural alignment are critical for top performance and injury prevention and is an integral part of “The Over 40 Athlete System” that Mark has developed.
Dr Julie has a special interest in helping mothers and “mothers to be”. Her Post Graduate qualifications in Paediatric Chiropractic and as an ex-midwife give her a unique ability to help pregnant women, new mums and their young children.
Yours in Health,
Dr's Mark & Julie