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Missed It? The Shoe Running Webinar In 3 Minutes

altra continuingeducation gait analysis heel drop heel strike high cushion shoes hoka new balance nike Aug 25, 2023
Webinar: If The Running Shoe Fits

Missed It? The Shoe Running Webinar In 3 Minutes

In case you missed it, last week we held the Webinar: “If The Running Shoe Fits” where we discussed the effects of footwear on running gait. We were joined by special guests Victor Diaz and Mecque Tucker to discuss shoe fitting and the latest trends among popular running shoes. Here is the 3 minute review.

The Effects Of Footwear On Running Gait

Since the barefoot running revolution of the 2010s running footwear has changed immensely. Barefoot running paved the way for subgenres of running shoes such as minimal, supportive, cushion and neutral shoes. However, many runners use incorrect footwear because they don’t correlate their anatomical makeup and gait biomechanics to proper shoe choices. The bottomline is that we need more research on how running shoes affect running gait. Luckily, there is some emerging research on how footwear impacts running, here are several pearls from the webinar. 

High Cushion Shoes Increase Impact On The Body

Many runners have espoused the virtues of shoes with high amounts of cushion/absorption. But running with excessive shoe cushion shows an increase in impact on the body while running4. The reason for this is because with a high cushion shoe runners don’t feel the ground as prominently and end up running harder, ultimately increasing stress on their body. Therefore, the best advice to provide patients is to use a “Goldilocks” approach when buying shoes with cushion. Not too much, not too little, but a medium amount of cushion is best.

Moderate Amounts of Heel Drop Benefit Most Runners

Heel drop has a significant impact on footstrike and can increase stress to the ankle, knee and hip joints. Heel drop is the height difference between the shoe's sole at the heel and toe. For example, if a shoe is 10mm high in the heel and 5mm high at the toes the heel drop is 5mm. A low heel drop promotes a mid and forefoot strike3 and high heel drop promotes a heel strike pattern. This is because a larger heel drop encourages early initial contact during running gait. But forefoot strike is not appropriate for all runners. Mid and forefoot strikers increase stress and load on the ankle while heel strikers increase stress and load on the knee and hip3. Therefore, it is recommended that most runners use a moderate amount of heel drop.  

Supportive Shoes Aren’t Always Beneficial

Max support or stability shoes have long been recommended for runners with gait deviations at risk for injury. Supportive shoes are characterized by high arch support, stiff soles and deep heel cups. However, stability shoes increase the amount of impact on the lower extremities while running1. Clinician’s should advise patients to only use the minimally necessary amount of support in their shoes. Therefore, if a patient can strengthen their lower extremities and improve their gait biomechanics they shouldn’t use an overly supportive shoe. However, caution runners using minimal shoes that maintaining ankle joint stability is essential to avoid injury.

Shoe Fitting, Diversity And Inclusiveness In The Running Community

Victor Diaz, owner of Renegade Running joined us to discuss his experiences and expertise on running shoes. Here are some of the takeaways from Victor's discussion.

  • Running stores work to find the right shoe fit for a runners foot however don’t make shoe recommendations based on running gait
  • Victor works to listen to each runner and their running preferences including:
    • Training mileage
    • Upcoming race schedule
    • Shoe preferences
    • Past/current injuries
    • Budget
  • Educating runners on proper shoe choices based on their foot anatomy and running preferences is essential.
  • Diversity and inclusiveness has not always been prevalent in the running community. Many underrepresented populations and minorities have been disregarded as non-serious runners that aren’t looking for a “real” running shoe. 

Popular Trends Among Shoe Brands

Mecque Tucker, general manager at San Francisco Running Company shared her knowledge on running shoes and industry perspectives. Here are some takeaways from Mecque’s discussion.

  • Mecque uses a digital foot scanner to take foot size, width and pressure hotspots. She then interviews the runner on shoe preferences, injuries and running pace/mileage. 
  • Running footwear has developed dramatically since the early 2010s. Barefoot running in minimal shoes started a revolution that different runners could use different types of shoes.
  • Common subgenres of running shoes include minimal zero heel drop, maximum support, high cushion and energy return shoes. 
  • Popular shoe brand trends:
    • Hokas: High cushion with metarocker which encourages landing on the midfoot and rolling to the forefoot during running
    • Asics: Have become less consistent in the past decade, while they were one of the top shoes for runners their market share has dropped dramatically
    • Altras: Characterized by zero heel drop and a toe box that follows the shape of the foot. Used for runners who want to land midfoot or forefoot and focus on their form.
    • New Balance: Consistently good quality running shoes. Moderate amounts of heel drop, support and cushion in most of their shoes. Often used by runners recovering from an injury.
    • Nike: Significantly improved their running shoes over the past decade. Are on the forefront of innovation with shoes like the Vaporflys incorporating energy return technology to help increase running speed and set world records.

How To Become More Confident In Your Running Gait Analysis

Performing a running gait analysis can be intimidating for many clinicians. If you are interested in learning more about running shoes and providing a running gait analysis check out our continuing education course “The Essentials of Running Gait Analysis”. In this course you will learn how to analyze running gait and become a running expert. If you have questions about this content or the course feel free to reach out to us to discuss and we will personally respond to your questions. 

Listen to the podcast!


If you haven’t done so already grab the “Running Shoe Reference Guide” to learn which shoes are appropriate for runners.


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  2. Cheung, Roy & Wong, Rodney & Chung, Tim & Choi, R. & Leung, Wendy & Shek, Diana. (2016). Relationship between foot strike pattern, running speed, and footwear condition in recreational distance runners. Sports Biomechanics. 16. 1-10. 10.1080/14763141.2016.1226381. 
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