Thursday, November 10, 2005

9B THE RIGHT SHOE

One of your objectives should be to not hurt yourself. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but if you aren't using the right lifting technique or wearing the right shoes, you can actually create problems for yourself. If you plan to run or do a lot of walking it is very important to have a shoe that is designed for your stride/gait and foot shape.

One way to understand your foot shape is to step in water and then onto dry pavement. The shape of your foot print will help you to understand your foot shape.

The Normal Foot: Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and will leave a wet footprint that has a flare, but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a broad band. A normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards slightly to absorb shock. It’s the foot of a runner who is biomechanically efficient and therefore doesn’t need a motion control shoe.


The Flat Foot: This has a low arch and leaves a print which looks like the whole sole of the foot. It usually indicates an overpronated foot – one that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards (pronates) excessively. Over time, this can cause many different types of overuse injuries.Best shoes: Motion control shoes, or high stability shoes with firm midsoles and control features that reduce the degree of pronation. Stay away from highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, which lack stability features.

The High-Arched Foot: This leaves a print showing a very narrow band or no band at all between the forefoot and the heel. A curved, highly arched foot is generally supinated or underpronated. Because it doesn’t pronate enough, it’s not usually an effective shock absorber.Best shoes: Cushioned (or 'neutral') shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Stay away from motion control or stability shoes, which reduce foot mobility.

Now this information might be useful to you, but it just confused me. What I did was go to a specialty shoe store that actually videotapes your stride while running on a treadmill. They call this "video gait analysis". By looking at the angle of your calf (straight vs slanted), they can determine what type of shoe you need. You then try on the recommended shoes for fit and get back on the treadmill to check the result. I went to Big Peach Running Co. in Atlanta, GA and found them to be very helpful and pleasant to work with.

Also, don't expect your shoes to last forever. You should expect to replace them every 6-8 months or 500-600 miles. If you run alot, you may want to buy two pairs of shoes and alternate use. This will give each pair time to dry before their next use.

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