Sports Podiatry/Running/If the Shoe Fits

We would like to briefly discuss selection of the proper athletic shoe that matches your specific foot type. We see a great number of runners and athletes in our practice. I good percentage of our patients wear an outdated shoe that often times is not ideal for their individual foot type. We would first like to review the anatomy of an athletic shoe:

Athletic shoes, especially those for running, typically stress either motion control (stability) or shock absorption (cushioning) in their design. You should consider when selecting a running shoe the toe box, midsole, and last.

1) Toe box: Front part of the upper of the shoe, where the toe lies. The size of the toe box is important for people with bunions, hammer toes, and other arthrtic issues of the foot. We generally recommend a wider toe box shoe for these foot deformities. It is recommended at the shoe store that your foot is measured in both length and width.

2) Midsole: Made of ethylene vinyl acetate or Polyurethane. It provides for cushioning and shock absorption for the body.

3) Counter: Wraps around the back of the heel and provides motion control and stability for the foot.

4) Last: The form around which the shoe is built. Type of lasts are straight last, semicurved last, and curved last. Straight last is generally for flatfeet/overpronation, Semicurved last is designed for the average foot. Curved last are designed for higher arch feet. This type of shoe is for underpronation and is usually reserved for faster runners. Faster runners are often midfoot strikers, which means they land on the front part of their feet. Many midfoot strikers also require shoes with increased cushioning in the forefoot to absorb some of the ground forces.

We generally recommend that you replace your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Although your shoe may not look worn out, many times the midsole or counter wil have begun to break down, which decreases support and cushioning of the shoe. This often times can lead to injury.