How to Find the Right Pair of Running Shoes

As far as footwear is concerned on running shoes, there’s basically three categories: The first motion control, the second is stability, and the third is neutral. With a motion control shoe, this would be an example of a motion control shoe. You can see it’s larger, it’s clunkier, and what you would think of as your typical running shoe. I think I would point out to you about the shoes, two things. One, this gray foam here. You can kind of see this gray piece on the medial side of the shoe. That’s a denser foam. It’s twice as dense. So that piece is going to actually be the support piece for this shoe. A lot of times you’ll see here’s my little demonstration here on the foot, you’ll kind of see a flatter foot will kind of fall out like that and we actually
need something to lift these bones out and that’s what this denser foam does here. The other thing that’s so nice about a motion control shoe and the thing that makes it supportive is that it’s built on a straight last. So what that means is that whenever they build a running shoe, they’re going to start with this outsole here. That’s the place that they start with and the straighter it is, the more supportive it is. A cushioned shoe will have more of a curve to it and that’s not going to be as terribly supportive. So that’s what a motion control shoe is. Unless you’ve had tons of feet problems or a drastically flat foot, you probably won’t see a motion control shoe. The next kind (and this is where about 65 to 70 percent of people fall in) is the stability shoe. Patty, this is what you have on and that New Balance shoe is a stability shoe. And they still have a little bit of this denser foam here. Although not near as much as as a motion control shoe. It won’t be near as substantial. They’re significantly lighter. They’re significantly more flexible and they’re significantly softer. So we still get a little bit of support and that’s for that arch step. Might be a little bit lower. It’s you know…”is it going to cost problems?” We just need something that’s actually going to help keep it high and keep it in check. The beauty of this denser foam, this gray kind of denser hard piece, is that it transitions energy. I think that if you’ll look at your foot, you would see that your foot, you’re landing on this lateral side of that heel and we’re rolling and then we’re going to roll over before you take off that inside off that big toe almost. Our goal for you and for most people who are going to be in a stability shoe, is really got to be from here to here efficiently, without you rolling over on the outside, let you roll in on the inside and that’s what that foam does. There’s some other things that kind of give this shoe some support. A lot of times a higher heel, a lifted heel, will keep it very supportive, just to kind of control the ankle and make sure it isn’t moving around. That, for the most part, is what a stability shoe is. And then the last part is a neutral shoe or you might hear it called a “neutral cushion shoe.” This is where you can see that curve to it and kind of see a curve last. There’s no support piece on the medial side. This is just pure cushion. A lot of times if you have a real high arch, you’ll actually see there’ll be kind of a C-shape to the foot–a curved shape to the foot. So we want that to shape up real well with that control cushioned shoe. You want to see that shape kind of align with the shape of the shoe. You can see when you look at the bottom of the shoe, you can see the curve shape-a C-shape to the shoe. This is really a simple shoe. Neutral shoes are usually very simple. It’s really just a soft midsole there and then just an upper to hold the foot in. So it’s really not a lot of technology. Pretty type of simple shoe and most people who are in the neutral shoe have that higher arch. And as with anything, I think there’s a lot of gray area in between that. There’ll be neutral shoes that can still be fairly supportive. Sometimes you can have a neutral shoe (that heel’s very elevated). So it still kind of keeps some control back in the heel, but we don’t really need much support under the arch. One of those gray areas I brought just to show would be this guy. This is a shoe from ASICS® where this heel is real low. The heel actually sits about right where that toe does, which for most people, isn’t a good thing. The reason ASICS® sit it is it makes it lighter and makes it more flexible, but it makes it significantly less supportive. But we still have some of this gray medial post in there. So shoe companies, to support the shoe, are going to move this kind of gray piece around just to see where the foot need support. You’ll see some shoes that have this gray piece all throughout the inner side of your shoe. It’s basically a solid piece. You’ll see some that are from the back of the heel to the midfoot. You’ll see some that just have a slight bit through here. So really it just depends on where you need support and how much support you need. Then lastly, I think that most of us have seen are like, you know, when you see in the commercials is the racing flats. They’re real minimal. They’re real low profile. If you’re the ladies’ average weight for a shoe is going to be around 9 ounces. This is going to be down to five and half to six. So significantly lighter. Sometimes half as light. You’re just getting nothing out of this. You’re getting very little cushion, very little support. It’s meant to be lightweight. It’s meant to be soft. And then you have the minimal shoe, which is really just kind of a trend right now. I don’t know how many of you guys have seen like the Vibram FiveFingers or any other kind. Like this is the New Balance Minimus. There’s Merrell Barefoot. Everyone kind of has their barefoot shoe. That’s just kind of whole other range of shoe. It doesn’t have any support, any cushion to it. The goal, and any time you have a little bit lower of a heel, the goal is to get you up onto your forefoot to kind of get you landing up here. For most of us, for 90-95% of us, we’re really going to stay with motion control, stability, or neutral. And then within that, most of us are going to stay with the stability shoe.

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