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Foot pronation... it doesn't make much difference after all!

Breaking news

Pronation has been by far the greatest negative buzz word used by running shops or health professionals. And if you’re seen to be commiting the act of overpronation / superpronation, theres every chance you’ll be sold a motion control / support / stability shoe.  Well, latest news suggests that stabilising this ‘abnormal’ behaviour doesn’t actually contribute to improving performance. Gone are the days when a running store will be placing you in a shoe based on whether you're pronating or not, todays evidence suggests that it doesn't really matter how much your foot pronates providing it has the strength to take you out of that moment just as quickly as it happens.

Notice how running shoe designs are therefore radically changing?

Although we believe that most running shoe manufacturers will continue to base shoe designs over the three generic footshapes (low, neutral, high). We're already noticing how new evidence lays down the path for new technology and designs to enter the market, accompanied with new buzz words too!
With such an extended range of shoes saturating the market can place independant running shops under immense pressure to stock every style and size. As a result, both cash flow and storage can become an issue. Notice subsequently how online running stores (often with direct dealings with the manufacturers) now offer a haven of 'yester-season' running shoes at a fraction of the price! 

So how do I go about choosing a running shoe right for me?

Running shoes must always be chosen on an individual basis, it's no good relying on a pair that your running partner has had good experience with, unless they are a twin you! To help you on your way, here's a real simple guide to help you at least get you on the right path (no pun intended)

Question 1: What surface you are running on?
Running on hard, non porous surfaces can often be more relentless on the body than running on soft porous surfaces (roads vs football pitch). Cushioning should really be considered if you do most of your running on something that is giving you very little in the way of shock absorption (roads, concrete paths). If you're running off road, Trail shoes have a slightly tougher sole to the shoe to withstand running over sharp jagged objects, some cushioning could often feel good if you're not a fan of 'being as one' with nature!

Question 2: What age bracket are you in?
Mindful of bone density changes between 40 + 45 years, running with cushioning in the shoe is more likely to support joint loading (running is a great way to encourage formation of osteoblasts to increase bone density). So if running on a hard surface is unavoidable, go cushioned.

Question3: New buzz word- Ramp Angle!
To avoid looking like a Deer caught in the headlights should you be asked about it at a running shop, it's basically the angle from the heel of the shoe to the toe end of the shoe. A greater ramp angle is likely to shorten the calf and therefore likely to restrict the calf from working at optimum length (many believe that the optimum length is the natural full length of the calf which is why some try minimalistic shoes). Be aware that ramp angle will always change when running up a hill (reduce) and running down a hill (increase), therefore ramp angles may not need apply for hill running.  Be cautious that any sudden change of ramp angle can play havoc on your calves / achillies (especially a sudden reduction). So if you have a previous history of calf injury, you may want to hold fire on any changes until you get some advice.

Question 4: Any previous injury history?
Ones always best to take into account any previous injuries prior to choosing a running shoe. As mentioned above, a running shoe can play a detrimental part of flaring up an old injury.  And although we’re advocates of ‘if you don’t need it.. don’t carry it’, it’s common sense to let any previous history help guide to what footware could be right for you. 

Question 5: Do the shoes feel comfortable?
We believe that chosing comfort over 'new technology' is paramount to helping you get the right shoe on your foot. After all, it's typically comfort that will support you through your training on whatever surface you're running on, and it's that comfort that will help reduce blisters and black toe nails should you plan to run great distance.  When trying that shoe on, always go at least a thumbs width distance from your longest toe to the front of the shoe and be sure to try them out with a familiar pair of running socks on. Feet swell when you run, hence it's important to consider this, especially if in a cold and crispy air conditioned shop. 

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