Guide To Running Footwear
Ground Reaction Forces
- Ground reaction forces are created when the foot strikes the ground.
- Impact force can be as strong as 3x bodyweight depending on the speed of the run.
- The running shoe is designed to stop the downward movement force and transfer it to an upward movement force for each step. This means that part of the energy created from impact is transformed into energy to help you push off.
- Faster Run = Greater Force = Greater Upward Movement.
- Cushioning is aimed to systematically reduce forces at peak impact, as well as enhancing the comfort of the shoe.
- It works like a spring by increasing the range of compression and the duration of impact.
- The more flexible the material, the greater the spring effect which reduces more force.
- With a soft sole material, the pressure is spread over a larger surface area, reducing force and increasing comfort.
- The main aim of the cushioning is that joints are stabilised, and the overall load is reduced.
Types of Cushioning
- The type of cushioning is generally dependent on the track or surface. The construction of the shoe should cater to the surface requirements; such as a forest floor, mountain or road.
- A lightly cushioned shoe would be recommended for those running on a softer surface and for someone that wants more ground contact. An example would be someone running off-road, we would recommend a trail running shoe.
- For running on hard surfaces we recommend a stronger cushioning system in order to create a softer ground contact and a higher level of comfort. A road running shoe would be recommended for those running on a hard surface.
During ground impact the supporting elements of the shoe can come into action. The support is designed to reduce the lateral force of the pronation.
Over-pronation is when the lateral force is greater than the vertical force.
The support is provided by supportive elements of the shoe but also by material of differing hardness in the sole; this would be described as a “Medial Post” within the shoe.
Different people have different running styles, therefore each individual has different running requirements. A way to find this would be to undergo a “gait analysis”.
Medial Post – Asics and Saucony
The Medial Post is a firmer material precisely placed on the in-step of the trainer designed to prevent pronation as it happens. Asics and Saucony are 2 of the brands we do, that implement this technology.
Through these supporting elements of the shoe the…
- pressure point is moved in medio-lateral direction
- anatomical differences are compensated
- and overpronation is levelled out.
Guide Rails – Brooks
- Guide rails address the foot and knee relationship with a support system tht reduces excess rotation.
- They are designed to stabilise calcaneal (the heel) eversion with the inner wall, whilst limiting calcaneal rotation with the outer wall.
- Basically they are designed to stop pronation before it begins.
- The inner Guide Rail is designed to replace the “medial post”.
Here at D&J Sports, we offer a free Gait Analysis service. It usually takes 20 – 30mins and we ask that you wear shorts or leggings so that we can see the back of your knees.
- Firstly we supply you with a pair of neutral trainers (no support). This is so that we can assess your level of pronation.
- We ask you to run at your typical speed on our treadmill whilst we take a short video of the back of your legs and feet.
- From this video, we cut it down into frames and measure your angles of pronation on both feet.
- Depending on the results we recommend some options and re-test to show you the comparisons and how the support is affecting your running.
The pictures below show some of our top running trainers. The Brooks Glycerin is a top of the range neutral trainer which offers no support to prevent pronation, however, it feels amazingly soft when on. As you can see the pronation is quite high in this shoe so it’s important not to mistake comfort for the right shoe.
The other running trainers are all supportive. For this particular runner, the GT-2000 7 would be the best option as their level of pronation is considerably decreased, however, this can differ for other people.
This is why during a Gait Analysis we try you out in different running trainers to find which best suits your individual running needs.
We hope you have found our guest blog – Guide to running shoes informative and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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To book call D & J Sports on 01285 652 227 & don’t forget to bring your Markland Clinic appointment card to receive the discount.