In the shoe industry, “motion control” is the label that manufacturers apply to their most corrective shoes. As the name suggests, the shoes are built to limit excess motion, or over pronation. Over pronation tends to happen in flat feet – where runners’ arches collapse. Flat feet (and consequent over pronation) are a problem for walkers and runners – because when your arches collapse too much, your knees and ankles torque inwards.
Motion control shoes have a thick mid sole made of harder material, built to correct your gait so that your stride doesn’t roll inward as your weight transfers from your heel to your toes. They tend to be on the heavy side, and because of this, are generally a pretty durable shoe.
Stability has gradually become a generic term in the footwear industry for shoes that don’t have any sort of corrective support. These shoes are designed for runners who do not over pronate or under pronate. These shoes are the hybrid between Cushion shoes and Motion Control shoes and have features designed to absorb impact and control over pronation. The height of the arch is variable and runners should always remember to choose a shoe that feels good in the store…never but a running shoe hoping to “break it in”.
What stability shoes have in common is a medial posting. In plain language, this means a firmer material on the medial (inner) side of the shoe. Depending on the level of stability required, the materials can range from a denser foam to a graphite or plastic post.
A lighter-weight runner with only mild over pronation may opt for a neutral running shoe (or a mild stability shoe) rather than the typical stability shoe, as their lighter weight presents less of a problem.
Cushion shoes are designed for under pronators and concentrate on impact absorption, rather than mechanical correction. These shoes have a very defined arch and overlays on the upper part of the shoe to keep your foot centered. They are designed to assist in the smooth transition from heel to toe.
Well-cushioned shoes…because they are designed to absorb more impact…tend to be lighter and wear out faster.
1. Never buy shoes that don’t feel “good” in the store…don’t plan on breaking them in…when it comes to breaking, the shoes usually win.
2. Shoes are worn out before they show wear…depending on your build and running style, shoes start dramatically dropping in performance between 300-500 miles.
3. Don’t ever let your shoes get soaked…don’t run in the rain or snow in your good shoes and don’t get them soaked when cleaning them. The foam that comprises the shock absorbing components degrades (quits doing its job) immediately when soaked.
4. Don’t ever expose your shoes to extreme heat…baking your shoes in the trunk of a car or in your clothes dryer essentially ruins their shock absorbing capability.
5. Don’t wear your running shoes for anything but running. Your total mileage is capped between 300-600 miles and you don’t want to waste miles walking around Wal-Mart.
6. Your shoes require about 24 hours to recover from any significant run, so don’t run in the same pair of shoes on consecutive days.
7. You get what your pay for in running shoes. If you spend $40-$60 on a pair of running shoes they aren’t much good for you…you don’t need to spend a mint, but if you want to stay running this is a place to invest probably at least $80.
8. If you’ve followed all the above guidelines and you are still having pain with running, let me do a full gait analysis on you…you may need custom inserts/orthotics to improve your mechanics to the point where your pain vanishes! For more information: barephysicalyherapy.com
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