I’ve always just Ran, I’ve never been to bothered with the particulars of my Running shoe’s. I usually just wore my Mom’s old running shoes when she got new ones, and they worked fine – I was pretty happy with them.
Then I got my first pair of Running shoes my Dad bought me in China. They are very Neutral and has very little support. I did not have too much of an issue with them and still love them.
When I became ASICS FrontRunner I got into contact with allot of new people all with allot of knowledge about Running and the Gear that came with it. Everyone asked me all types of questions about my shoes and all sorts – I usually just answered
” I don’t know- I just run…”
Feeling a little silly about the subject I read up on it and discovered that there is three basic categories your feet can fall into, Each of these terms refer to the different ways that your feet roll when they hit the ground whilst you run. It turns out that not all of us can just run, some of us need extra support to help us in different areas as our feet strike the ground. For some running with not enough support in the correct areas can lead to some serious injuries or annoying irritations.
Below are the 3 tipes of pronation that best describes different runners.
For people that are classified as underpronators the outer side of the heel hits the ground at an increased angle with little or no normal pronation.
This causes a large transmission of shock through the lower leg. When they push off as they run the most pressure falls on the smaller toes on outside of the foot. People with Hight arched on their feet are most likely to be considered to be underpronators. The injuries mostly associated with this type of foot strike includes; Ankle strain, Plantar fasciitis (Heel pain) and shin splints (Pain in the front of your shin).
Here are some Under pronation running shoes from ASICS
For people that are classified as neutral pronators their foot lands on outside of the heel, then rolls inward (pronates) to absorb shock and support body weight.
Push off then goes into a even distribution from the front of the foot. People that are neutral pronators can wear a wider verity of shoes and usually have a normal arch on their feet. Their bodies absorb the sock of running effectively which means that they are less likely to have running injuries.
Here are some Neutral pronation running shoes from ASICS
For people that are classified as overpronators their foot lands on outside of heel, then rolls inward (pronates) more than it should.
This then distributes the weight to inner edge instead of ball of the foot. This can cause Plantar fasciitis (Heel pain) ,shin splints (Pain in the front of your shin) , bunions and heel spurs. People that are overpronators usually have a much flatter arch in their feet.
Here are some Over pronation running shoes from ASICS
For more information and some great pictures hear over to the ASICS website – just click here!
So all this information is very interesting, but how exactly are we supposed to know under what category we fall? I never thought to have my feet tested, as I just assumed that it would be something that I would have to pay for, and I didn’t need it because I was just running for fun.
If you don’t know where to go to get tested you can use one of the following methods to test your pronation.
– Wet feet test – This test is very simple and easy to do at home.The test works in the way that the wet footstep you leave on the floor while walking acts as a indicator on how your feet absorbs the shock of the impact with the floor.
To do a wet foot test, wet your feet and walk over a sheet of paper, Be sure to leave a nice imprint, just remember it has to be natural so walk as you would normally do. compare the impression you leave with the three figures Below
– look at your soles, this picture below gives a great description on what your soles of your shoes say about how you run.
But if your not sure – It turns out allot of shops that are really serious about running shoes do have these facilities – which is awesome, because not only do you want to fully have trust in what your buying, you want to get value for money as running shoes can be quite expensive.
I went to the ASICS Store in Mall of Africa here in Guauteng. You can phone them to make sure that all their systems are up and running before you go. They do a motion ID analysis in store, for free, and a session takes about 20 Min.
They do Rotate the system between different stores so just phone to avoid disappointment – The number should be on the website link provided at the top.
I went to the store and the Sales assistant kindly asked me for my shoe size, and a few min later came out with three pairs. On the picture below you will see what is called a Foot plate. I stood on it and if you don’t know your shoe size it will indicate it.
When deciding on your shoe size you need to go for a shoe that is slightly a bigger size to your normal everyday shoes. When you run you feet expand a bit and swell, you also (especially for the ladies) don’t want to bump your toenail in the front of your shoe continuously – it will hurt and I’ve heard lost of ladies say they have actually had the entire toenail come off!
After standing on the foot plate it your weight distribution will be indicated if you step of. The sales assistant will look not only on the impression you feet leaves, but also at the way your legs are tilted/positioned as you stand.
She/He will then refer to the above sheet to indicate what type of foot strike you have, they will then either alter the shoes they picked for you or they will stick to their choice.
I then put on three different pairs of ASICS Running shoes. Along with three different sensors that gets added, one to each foot and one on your waist. you then proceed to run on a treadmill for a few seconds as the sensors indicate how your foot strikes in the particular shoe.
As I ran in each shoe, she asked me how it felt and if it was more or less comfortable than the previous one. It was a little difficult for me to say how it felt. She asked me if I would be able to run longer distances in the shoe or if it would be more or less comfortable.
Previously I never had the privilege of choosing a shoe type like this, I usually just made it work with whatever I had. Lucky for me I am a Neutral Pronation. So that’s probably why I never had any issues with the shoes I ran with.
At the end of the session they will print out a report that will compare the results of each shoe for you. they will then proceed to tell you what shoe is best fitted for your type of Pronation. Below is what my results looked like:
The Running shoe that worked best for me was the last pair I ran in, called GT-1000. It was the shoe that I had the least collusion in, and that was the most balanced. In the picture below the blue shoe is the Gel-Cumulus and the pink and black one is the GT-1000. On the back of the heel of the GT-1000 is says DUOMAX. When-ever you see this it means that there is a stability block in the shoe. This will give you additional support within the shoe to compensate for any pronation that you have.
Initially I though that I would be fine with any shoe, just being a neutral – But according to the sensors I do have a slight pronation that needs a little help. So it would be best to have a shoe with a little bit more support.
I asked the sales assistant about a trail shoe and she indicated that trail shoes have a different grip at the bottom to help with grip on a variety of surfaces, and that most of the trail shoes all have stability blocks in to make up for the fact that when you run trail the surfaces are always uneven which means that your feet will rarely strike the same as on the road. Below is the Trail shoe she recommended to me:
On the shoe you can see where there are stability added and at the bottom the added grip When you compare the 2 types of shoes with one another it almost seems like the road shoe is a little bit more streamline, and smooth. Where as the Trail shoe is a little more bulky and rugged.
This was a very great experience for me, very interesting and I would recommend any runner to have their feet checked out!
Knowing your feet and what type of pronation you have can make a huge difference in your running experience. It can help prevent a injury and make you feel more comfortable on the road. Go get you feet tested, Phone your local Running shoe store,or Google it!
XOXOX – Jani