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There’s a saying which goes along the lines that among the most important things you purchase in your life should be a good bed and good shoes because if you’re not in one you’re in the other! As they are the most important part of any runner’s kit this is most applicable to buying running shoes and by wearing the correct pair you can reduce the strain on your body and improve your performance.

Running shoes come in many forms and depending on what article you read or what internet forum you log onto there are varying opinions out there on what are the best types; the reality is that the best shoe is the one that is the best for you. We all run/walk in different ways and the good news is that there is a shoe out there for all types of movers!

The movement your body makes when you run is referred to as the gait cycle and begins when your foot makes contact with the ground and ends when that same foot contacts the ground on the next step. The two major parts of the gait cycle are the stance phase, which is when the foot is in full contact with the ground, and the swing phase which is the movement of the foot to the next step. This cycle can be further broken down into three phases; initial contact, mid-stance and toe-off for each side. Most people’s initial contact is through heel striking but some land mid-foot and fore-foot. What is consistent though is that we exert about 3.5 times our body weight in pressure each time we hit the ground and if you consider that each foot hits the ground 80-100 times per minute, then that's a lot of pressure on our joints….so hence the need for proper running shoes!

As we all move through the gait cycle in different ways, we provide in-store video gait analysis and running assessment which will help determine the running shoe that best suits your needs. The process takes about 10-15 minutes and initially involves discussion on your running history, followed by some basic body movements and recording of your running style, we will then show you the results and recommend what we think are the best type of running shoes for you. The bottom line in all of this is that the risk of potential injury can be significantly reduced by choosing the correct pair of shoes to run in.

The ‘correct pair’ in question could be a shoe with medial support for those who pronate (inward foot roll) or a neutral shoe for those who supinate (outward foot roll) or who simply have a neutral running style. Running shoes also come in various widths and weights with the racer shoes that elite athletes wear being the lightest at approx. 6oz.! All shoes, depending on the company in question, also have various offsets which is the height difference between the heel and toe of the shoe; popular offsets for standard running shoes would be 8, 10 and 12mm with most of the aforementioned racers having a 4mm drop.

All sound very confusing?!...don’t fret, that’s why I’m here in Dawson Lane, so call in anytime for more information and advice.


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