HEALTH: The function of a running shoe

Community Health May 9, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Health-The-Function-of-a-Running-ShoeBy George I. Traitses

The function of a running shoe is to protect the foot from the stress of running, while permitting you to achieve your maximum potential. Selecting the right shoe for your foot can be confusing without the proper knowledge.

People with low arches, called pronators, will need a shoe that provides stability. A shoe with good cushioning is important for people with high arches, called supinators.

There are three main features that you need to consider when selecting a running shoe: shape, construction, and midsole.

Shape. To determine the shape of the shoe, look at the sole. Draw a straight line from the middle of the heel to the top of the shoe. In a curve-shaped shoe, most comfortable for supinators, the line will pass through the outer half of the toes. A straight-shaped shoe will have a line that passes through the middle of the toes. These shoes are built to give pronators added stability.

Construction. Take out the insole and look at what type of stitching is used on the bottom. In board construction shoes, built specifically for pronators, the bottom of the shoe will not have any visible stitching. Combination shoes, appropriate for mild pronators or supinators, will have stitching that begins halfway. On slip-constructed shoes, you will see stitching running the entire length of the shoe providing the flexibility supinators need.

Midsole. Most of the cushioning and stability of a running shoe is determined by the midsole. A dual-density midsole provides shock absorption as well as some stability, perfect for pronators. Single density midsoles offer good cushioning but are not great at providing stability, making them better for supinators.

Keep in mind that a chiropractor can help you prevent running-related problems by assessing your gait, as well as the mobility of the joints in your feet, legs, pelvis and spine.

For more information on health and safety visit the Ontario Chiropractic Association, a voluntary professional association whose mission is to serve our members and the public by advancing the understanding and use of chiropractic care; www.chiropractic.on.ca or call 1877-327-2273; Dr. George Traitses, 416-499-5656, www.infinite-health.com