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How to choose the right running shoes

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Are your shoes looking a little worn and in need of a replacement? Get our top tips for your best fit.

When updating your running shoes there are a few things to consider – what type of runner you are and how you load your body. 

Running related injuries are common, with training errors being responsible for up to 80% of injuries.

Other factors that contribute to injuries are running technique and footwear.

The primary purpose of shoes is to protect the individual from the effects of repetitive loading. Manufacturers use a variety of materials and various design concepts to achieve this.

There has been a current trend for retail outlets to provide foot analysis in order to guide consumers towards a particular style of running shoe. This can be effective at looking at how the foot functions. They generally assess you in walking and look at your contact pattern, giving you an indication of ankle rolling, if there is increased or reduced arch support and any pressure areas.

This might help identify what products are available, however you need to keep in mind that information on how your foot loads is being captured during a small period of time. It does not identify the other factors that are influencing the way you load through your foot during running- things like biomechanics, running techniques, and fatigue.

To gain a better idea of your running gait, consult with a good physiotherapist or sports podiatrist who can perform a running analysis which looks at your biomechanics- stride length, foot contact, joint loading, postural control, etc.

At Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions on top of a running analysis we use software that can analyse you during full range of movement. Dorsa Vi sensors are placed on your body and monitor your movement as you run, or during our screening assessment. It provides us with data that can help reduce injury and improve performance. 

What to consider when purchasing your new running shoes

  • Know your foot and how your body moves
  • Your new shoes should feel comfortable right away with enough room to move
  • Ensure the shoes you’re buying suit your running style and the running surface
  • Price – more expensive shoes tend to come with new technology, however, there is no evidence to say they are more effective in reducing injuries than a shoe of lesser value
The key is that the shoe suits the way you run. 

How to transition into a new pair of running shoes

When you change your running shoes it will cause an alteration to your running pattern, even if the shoe has been chosen to suite your foot mechanics. 

New shoes can increase the load through the joints and muscles, so ensure that you gradually transition into your new shoes to allow adaptation. 

As the shoe ages the mileage can cause a decrease in the cushion’s ability to absorb forces. This means that there will be an increase in your stance time – how long you spend on your foot. As the shoe ages you need to learn to adapt to more external load due to the lack of cushioning, such as running surface.

It's also a good idea to have more than one pair – research has found that alternating between different running shoes can lead to a 39% lower risk of running related injuries.

Happy Shopping!!

Run on over to the Blackmores running hub for more tips, advice and delicious recipes to fuel your run!
Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions is a group of leading Physiotherapy clinics, based in the Sydney CBD and Chatswood.

Dr Brad McIntosh and the team at Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions are our 'go-to' physios for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival.