Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Running 101: Shoes

Hi all!! Real quick...before you do anything else...make sure you take a moment to enter my Handana Giveaway. Friday is the last day...and trust don't want to miss out on this!! :) onto business...Over the last few Wednesday's I have been linking up with The Femme Fitale Fit Club for their "Workout Wednesday" and I have been posting about different and often confusing running terms and I have been  attempting to define them in a simpler way. I have really had a lot of fun doing this and I have gotten a lot of positive feedback. It seems as if I wasn't the only one who was confused after hearing some of these terms for the first time. 

Because of this I have decided to take my 2 passions (running and teaching) and sort of combine them with my "limited expertise" and post each Wednesday about something running related. Like I have said before, I have been running for several years...but up until setting my 2014 New Year's Resolution and my half-marathon and marathon training, I knew very little about what I was actually doing ;) Since January I have been like a new mom...reading every book, article, blog, etc about running that I can get my hands on. I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I have learned along this journey...I am hoping that I can help you to learn a few new things for yourself.

Whether you are a veteran runner or brand new to the sport the most important thing (in my opinion) is getting the right shoes. When I first started running and for several years after I would just buy whatever shoes were on sale in the "running section" on the wall. Occasionally I even bought a pair of kids shoes if the price was right. I luckily never had an issues or injuries. However, when I started training for my half-marathon in January I decided I no longer wanted to tempt fate and I went to a local running store to get fitted for the perfect shoes for me. While I was there the salesperson began throwing around all sorts of terms that I had no idea what they meant. It was definitely a little if you have never been fitted for shoes (or you have and were utterly confused) I am here to help! I am going to go over a few of the terms you might hear when purchasing a new pair of shoes.

Foot Strike- This is the way in which your foot strikes and moves when it is in contact with the ground while walking or running. Your foot strike is used to determine what kind of shoe will work best for you and help to keep you injury free! At Garry Gribbles where I was fitted I brought in an old pair of running shoes for them to check the wear on the sole (to see how my foot hit the ground) and they had me walk across the room to see how my foot hit when I walked. It was determined that I have a neutral foot strike...which is probably why I was so lucky and avoided injury for all of those years. It seems (at least to me) that most shoes out there are geared toward neutral foot strikers (lucky me!)

There are 3 main types of "foot strikes" and I will do my best to explain them in a way that makes sense :)

Neutral foot strike- this is when your foot rolls slightly outward, slightly inward, and then slightly outward again during the time that your foot is in contact with the ground. This is the ideal foot strike because it keeps your body properly aligned while evenly absorbing the impact. In a neutral foot strike, fairly even pressure is placed on the front of the foot and toes during push off. This is ideal foot strike helps to prevent common running injuries.

Over-pronated foot strike- this is when your foot rolls too far inward after the foot strikes the ground. When this happens runners tend to put an uneven amount of pressure on the arch and ball of their foot during push-off. It also tends to put the body in poor alignment and increases the chance for injury.

Supinated foot strike- this is the opposite problem of over-pronated foot strike. This is a lack of inward roll, which results in an outward movement of the foot. This also causes a disproportionate amount of pressure towards the outside of the foot during push-off. A supinated foot strike does not absorb impact well and can often lead to injury. The good news with this one is there are very few people who truly have a supinated foot strike :)

Once you know what kind of foot striker you are it is pretty easy to find shoes. Most shoes will be classified in one of the 3 categories above. It it's important to be fitted for the right shoes for you and your foot strike. If you are neutral foot striker and you have a shoe with too much support it may cause you to change your running form, which could then lead to injury. If you over-pronate or supinate you will need shoes that will help to correct your foot strike and keep your body properly aligned.

This may all seem a little confusing, but the good news is, that when you go to a specialty running store the sales people are usually experts on this kind of stuff and they can help you determine your foot strike and lead in the right direction when you are buying shoes.

As far as my running shoes go...I started as Nike girl...then fell in love with Brooks Ghosts...then upgraded to the Brooks Glycerin 12's (which I adore!)...and then I just got of control and bought several pairs to use for different kinds of runs and workouts. I have my "long run shoes" "speed shoes" "weight training shoes" etc. I can easily convince myself...and others, that it is all necessary...I  think it is very clear that I have a problem :)

This is definitely not ALL of the info I could share with you about running shoes or even foot strikes for that matter...but I think I will save the rest for next time! If you have any specific questions about running that you would like to have me address next Wednesday, please let me know by leaving a comment on this post! I am by no means an expert...but I have definitely done my fair share of research and I am always willing to do more research if I don't already know the answer :)

1) What kind of foot-striker are you?
2) What shoes do you wear?

Femme Fitale Fit Club

The Hump Day Blog Hop


  1. I wear Asics GT2170 all the way. I believe I overpronate at least that is how my feet look when I look down. #wowlinkup

  2. Definitely an over pronator unfortunately and I wear Asics Kayano
    Confessions of A Mother Runner

  3. Shoes are SO important. My running significantly improved when I was fitted for running shoes.
    I started with saucony's and I have a pair of new balances now. My high arch loves them!

  4. I overpronote, but for some reason neutral shoes have been working better for me. I wear Adidas Glide Boosts with Superfeet insoles. This has been the best combination for me so far. I'd advise that if a shoe doesn't feel right, take it back to the store and try again until you find the one that works for you! #wowlinkup

  5. I'm neutral. I went to Road Runner Sports and did the whole treadmill analysis thing. It's neat to see your feet in slow motion! Right now I'm in Brooks Pure Cadence and I love them. Nice and light, but stable! #wowlinkup

  6. I'm not really familiar with Brooks but may check them out. I wear New Balance that were recommended based on cushioning and regular pronation. You're right that it makes a difference because I ran in a different pair of shoes the other day and now my knee hurts :( #wowlinkup

  7. I can't remember any more what my foot strike is but I do know the one time I traded in my Asics for a new style and brand, I ended up with plantar fasciitis. What a bummer! So I stick with what I know works even though I get the temptation to try something new from time to time. #wowlinkup

  8. Great post, Heather, and great explanations! You're such a good teacher. :) I am a neutral-ish runner, so I wear neutral shoes - the ASICS Gel-Cumulus has been my go-to shoe for many years. I have also worn some Saucony Kinvaras for track work, but I need to replace them! Thanks so much for the info!

  9. Very nice info! I'm neutral. I'm mostly using Adidas Energy Boost, but also have Altra Torins. #wowlinkup

  10. Love this series! I'm a neutral runner and I have Nike Air Pegasus now. First time I've ever had Nikes and I was super surprised I liked them the most. #wowlinkup

  11. I'm not a runner and don't know what time of foot-striker I am. I just heard a commercial on the way into work today for a running shoe place here in town that can tell you so maybe I'll stop by there and find out.

  12. I'm not a runner anymore but if I was, I would be at Fleet Feet in Chicago doing a gait analysis before purchasing running shoes. Now, I get what is comfortable and not expensive or on sale. #wowlinkup