Perfect Running Shoe

Chatting about The Perfect Running Shoe with the Team of Physiotherapist at Body Leadership

Perfect Running Shoe.

I have been in tears after 1/2 Marathons with the worst blisters of my life that hang around for a week from wearing incorrect running shoes. The Perfect Running Shoe for you is out there it can be tricky to find. I am always asked what is The Perfect Running Shoe at the moment. I was asked to speak to the amazing team at Body Leadership about my experience with injuries with my clients and the relationship with their shoes.

Do I see a trend in injuries that pop up with certain brands, shapes, weight,  width, toe box shape, support verses neutral, ease of foot movement within the shoes and of course heel drops and chronic receptive strain injuries?

Here are my Top 10 Tips to picking the Perfect Running Shoe.

Top Ten Tips 

  1. Look for a shoe that is wide enough when picking The Perfect Running Shoe. As Australian’s we have spent most of our lives walking around in Thongs ( Jandles ) or Barefoot so we generally have a wider foot than the European and the British. The most common mistake when buying shoes is that the nice sales assistant measures your foot in the store and goes and grabs you a shoe. Usually is it just the stock standard width “B” even though you may have a wider foot than the “Common” Shoe width. But genially Australian have a much wider foot than the “B”. How do you know if the shoe is too narrow? If any part of your foot over hangs the sole of the shoe the shoe is too narrow for you. There must be enough room for your feet to spread and your muscles in the balls of your feet and toes to fully engage. Injuries associated with too narrow Shoe Ankle Sprains, Calf, Plantar, Bunions and Hamstring Strains.

2) Look for a The Perfect Running Shoe with a “straight toe box on the inside of the shoe “ on the inside of the shoe. Meaning make sure the shoe continues in a straight line from the arch all the way up to the front of the shoe. This is to allow for your “Big Toe” to sit nice and straight in your shoe. If your Big Toe can sit straight and free in your shoe it can function correctly by “engaging”, pushing down in the front of your shoe. Injuries associated with too narrow a “Toe Box”, Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis, Calf, Hamstring, Plantar.

3) Look for a The Perfect Running Shoe with “Minimal Heal Drop”. Reducing your heal drop will take the impact out of your quads and into your body’s own shock absorbers your Calfs. I like to put clients in a 8mm Drop to start with and work them down to 4mm drop after they have proven to have no calf problems from changing the heal from on their shoes.

Some of my clients with achilles tendonitis injuries may need to be in a 12mm drop but I will try and transition then into an 8mm, then into a 4mm drop when they show signs that they are strong and flexible enough to reduce their heel drop in their shoe.

Injuries associated with shoes with too much heal to forefoot differentiation are Knee Pain, Hip Flexor Injuries, ITB Injuries, Shin Splints, Groin Strains, Weak Glutes, Hip Bursars.

4) Look for The Perfect Running Shoe with “Adequate Flex”. Shoes with adequate flexibility with encourage you to get up on your toes and kick out the back when running. Our foot is designed to flex, engage with the ground allowing your foot and calf muscles to instantly switch on with every touch of the ground. A shoe that allows for ease of movement will encourage you to run with better form. If we don’t have enough flexibility in our shoes we will start to have injuries that strain the Calf or Achilles Tendons, Plantar.

5) Look for The Perfect Running Shoe that is a“Lite Weight”. Shoes that are about 250-270g size 10 male are great for training and shoes that are 190-225 grams are great for racing. Why train in a heavier shoe? You will get more Ks out of your heavier pair thinking that they have been designed as a training shoe and you will run like the wind when switching to your lite weight racing shoe for race day as just that little 25-50 gram difference will make your feet feel lighter and more free like running barefoot. Injuries associated with running in a heavy shoe, Achilles Tendonitis.

6) Look for a The Perfect Running Shoe with “Minimal Details”.  Usually the best shoes on the market are the cheapest of the branded shoe range. I encourage my clients to pick a shoe with NO details around the balls of their feet. Only picking shoes with support around the arch and heal of the foot to secure the foot to the shoe. Injuries Associated with too many details or an over-engineered shoe is Blisters.

Minimal details also lead to less weight in the shoe too which will mean your shoe will be lighter and faster.

7) Look for  The Perfect Running Shoe That You Can “Lock Lace”. Most of the good brands will have “Lock Lacing” holes in the shoe and extra loop hole at the ankle fastening of the shoe. Using the “Lock Lacing” hole will help secure your foot into the shoe and prevent the foot from slipping forward in the shoe and your toes smashing against the end of the shoe when descending hills. It will also help prevent blisters and loss of toe nails. Injuries associated with non-Lock lacing Shoes. Blisters, Toe Nail Loss, Ankle Sprains.

8) Look for The Perfect Running  “Shoe That is Big Enough”. The best way to check and see if the shoe is big enough for you is to stand up and push your toes to the front of your shoe and then put your index finger down the heel of the shoe. If you can get your index finger down the back of your shoe then you have enough room in your shoe for your toes to move and grip. This with the “Lock Lacing” will ensure that you won’t smash your toes into the end of your shoes when training or racing.

9) Look for as The Perfect Running Shoe “Neutral as Possible”. If all the above tips are followed and your big toe can engage then it will be possible to have your big toe to lift your arch, you will land on your forefoot and you won’t roll in or pronate. Heal Strikers Pronate, Fore Foot Strikers Don’t Pronate so there is no need for excessive arch support. If you are flat foot. Foot exercises can be done to help strengthen your arch muscles. This should be done anyway to help prevent other injuries that will come from having flat or weak feet. Shoes with excessive arches may lead to sprained ankles and limited foot activation meaning that you will never build up the muscles in our feet. 

10) Look For a The Perfect Running Shoe with Ankle Stability. Ankle stability is crucial for proper fit, increased efficiency, injury reduction and fit. Choosing a shoe that locks your ankle into position when running is essential. This is different to arch stability. The shoe must fit the ankle correctly and have minimal lateral movement. Injuries associated with lack of ankle stability are Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis, Shin Splints, Calf Strains.

The Perfect Running Shoe That I love;

Trail

Inov8 Trail Talon (Training and Racing Shoe I no longer have to tape my ankles these shoes have amazing ankle stability for such a minimalist shoe Hard Surface and will cross over to the road for training )

Inov8 X-Talon (Racing Shoe and wet weather shoe best on soft ground, sand, mud, thick leaves)

Inov8 Roclite (Entry Level Shoe great grip, ankle stability and will tolerate the road great cross training shoe. )

I’m Sponsored by Inov8 but there is a reason why I’ve chosen to run in their shoes they meet the check list above and I have really taken advantage of 6 years of injury free running.

Road

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 (Training Shoe Entry Level Shoe 8mm Drop )

Brooks Hyperion (slightly narrower more a racing Shoe made for a narrow foot )

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