by Apple Therapy

We get many questions about running shoes from our patients who are dealing with a running injury. The technology of running shoes is constantly changing so it is hard to know if this new technology is for you. Here are a few tips to help with buying new shoes.

  1. Go for comfort! When trying on a new shoe, make sure you can run in the shoes for a bit whether on a treadmill or outside the store. First and foremost, the shoe should feel comfortable to you even if it is not the brand that was recommended by your friend or family member.
  2. If you can afford it, buy two different types of shoes that you can rotate during your runs. Research has shown that if a runner rotates their running shoes, there is a 39% reduction in injury. They need to be totally different types of shoes, not the same exact brand and style. When you run a long race, you need to be sure the shoe feels good to you and now you will have options!
  3. Don’t be swayed by marketing! For example, high cushion, rocker bottom, lower heel drop are all changes in sneakers that have become popular recently. However, these types of shoes may not be right for you or your running style despite what the ads may tell you. A high cushion shoe actually requires a little more stability work in your leg because the cushion takes away some of the proprioception (awareness) of your foot hitting the ground. Rocker bottom shoes may not be beneficial depending on how your foot strikes the ground. Minimalist shoes require a certain amount of ankle flexibility and calf strength that you may not have yet. Research has shown that these new types of shoes don’t necessarily reduce running injuries.
  4. Can you do 25 single leg heel raises, perform single leg hopping, or bend your ankle enough to get your knee 4 inches in front of your toes? These tasks require good calf strength, Achilles tendon strength, and ankle flexibility and help with the decision whether or not to change your running shoe.
  5. If you do want to make a drastic change in shoe type, such as switching to a sneaker with a 4mm heel drop from a 12 mm heel drop, it needs to be done gradually. For example, just run in the shoe 1 day a week to start, then gradually increase the runs over several months. Your calf and Achilles tendon may need time to stretch out and strengthen or injury will occur.

If you are trying to increase your running pace or duration or are training for a race and you have a “niggle” as Chrissie Wellington would say, come on in to PT sooner rather than later. These little strains or pains are much quicker and easier to fix early on. PT is direct access so usually your insurance does not require a referral to come in!

Choosing the Right Running Shoe