My shoes have a very distinctive wear pattern, and until fairly recently, I didn’t think much of it.
At a local 10k a couple of years ago, I stopped at a shoe tent to talk to the guy about the different shoe types and recommendations. At the time, I still bought what was on sale and felt comfortable. I knew at that point that I was on overpronater (i.e. I run on the outsides of my feet), but didn’t know much about the effect or consequences. This particular guy advised me that I was, essentially, running incorrectly. Instead of running heel to toe, you are supposed to land more on your forefoot. Supposedly, this was going to not only be easier on my joints, but also make me faster. You can read about that experience here.
So, I spent several months concentrating on form and trying to learn to run the “right way”. The barefoot running concept was very popular at the time and I figure that is where the suggestion originated. It was really difficult at first, but after awhile I got the hang of it. It wasn’t too long after that, though that we began the IVF process and subsequent twin pregnancy, so I was out of commission for awhile.
After returning to running a slight bit sooner than the recommended 6 weeks post c section (shhh, don’t tell my doc – or my mom, for that matter), the form issue was easier but still not perfect. In fact, even though it is better, I STILL overpronate when I run, particularly when running faster.
My next shoe purchase was a more well known shoe brand in the running world, but I still wasn’t REALLY shopping for anything that was supposed to be made for my type of stance, because I thought it was a matter of fixing it.
After my injury last year though, my mindset has changed. I’ve done a bit more research on the heel vs forefoot landing and it really seems like opinions are mixed, but I’m finding a lot of literature suggesting you can’t do much about pronation, and unless its a severe case, isn’t necessarily something you NEED to fix.
Still, I’m very paranoid about re-injury now, and even after almost a year of chiropractic visits, stretches, rest and cross training, I STILL sometimes feel tightness in my pyriformis muscle – the spot that started all the trouble. I notice it particularly when doing speed work, or historically when I’ve had the most trouble with my running form.
When my birthday rolled around I did something only my fellow run nerds would understand – my husband and I dropped the twins off at daycare, got a pedicure, and then headed for the local running store so I could have my gait evaluated. I told the man who helped me that I was an overpronator, but of course he said “well lets see”, threw me in a pair of shoes without much stability (and interestingly were a recent pair I owned) and I hopped on the treadmill. Looking at the video he confirmed my suspicions (see? I told you) and suggested a few pairs of shoes:
Brooks Ravenna 4
Mizuno Wave Inspire
Asics Gel 2000
I tried each pair on, and honestly, they all felt about the same to me. I find it difficult to tell much about a shoe jogging around a running store (and subsequently drooling over road bikes – that might have distracted me a little), so I just picked a brand I had worn before and knew I liked.
$110 later (running shoes are the only shoes I will ever drop that much money on) I was off.
Since then I’ve run with them twice. I’m happy to report they are comfortable, roomy (I have wide feet) and doing some speed work today I have NOT noticed any tightness in my hip or butt. The jury is still out on long term use, but so far I feel positive about them.
Here’s to preventing future injuries.
Runners out there – what’s your opinion on stability shoes? Are they necessary? Have you ever had your run evaluated? How do you feel about the whole pronation debate (forefoot vs heel/ is under/over pronation REALLY a problem?) I’m curious!
August 27, 2014 at 11:04 pm
I’m BROOKS all the way. I run long distances in Ghosts and do shorter or speed work in Pure Flows. I go to a running shoe specialty store each time and get analysis each time in the event something changes in my form. I, like you, will only drop that kind of cash on running shoes. I’m a mom of 4 for goodness sake 🙂 have you also done a wet foot test? I think you’ll be really happy with Brooks. Keep me posted! Good luck!!
August 27, 2014 at 11:14 pm
I haven’t worn stability shoes but I did wear the 5 finger shoes for barefoot running. The most I ever did in those was 5 miles, and I got away from them when I lived in Canada and it was too cold to run barefoot. I can’t say I’m faster either way, but there’s definitely an acclimation process. If you go straight to barefoot running not only will your calves be super tight, but your feet, especially where you land, will get some major calluses/blood blisters. At this point I switch between the 5 fingers and regular running shoes, and I say ignore everyone else and run in what makes sense for you 🙂
August 28, 2014 at 8:23 am
I have had my gait evaluated and found out I have a cross stride. It was advised to, rather than try to change how I naturally was running naturally, to just do specific stretches before and after to reduce any chance of issues. I have Mizunos and love them. I’m overdue for new shoes before I train for long runs again but have been doing well otherwise. 🙂
August 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm
I hear ya. I’ve worked with the ‘experts’ at the running stores for years and have gone through several different pairs. The past few years though I’ve been injury free in Brooks Pure Flow, so I’m sticking with em!
September 1, 2014 at 10:37 pm
I broke my foot a few years ago and I have had to be in stability shoes since. I buy my shoes from Road Runner Sports due to their love or hate them policy. If they do not work, Road Runner’s liberal return policy helps make sure I have the shoes I want. I finally settled on the Asics Gel Kayano, they are amazing and are light feeling, I LOVE them. The Kayano’s are not cheap shoes by any means, yet my mother always said to me, “Spend lots of money on shoes and mattress, as you spend the majority of your time with those two items.”
September 2, 2014 at 12:58 am
That is great advice!
September 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm
I’ve been learning about posture and alignment recently and it’s incredible to me how some of our “normal” ways of walking, standing, sitting can actually be really bad for us! Glad you found shoes that work for you. I’m still searching.
September 3, 2014 at 4:31 am
Disclaimer first: I am no runner, I def prefer the elliptical and doing yoga but I did have some really bad knee problem that started with my pregnancy and ended up with me not being able to support myself with that knee back in December. The whole issue was/is that my feet are extremely flat and apparently I’ve been walking wrong my whole life.
All this prompted some serious PT and reading about correct walking, postures, forefoot vs heel walking and running, etc…
From what I learned and have gotten similar feedback over here is that forefoot walking is better and more natural but hindered by years of wearing shoes and insoles that make our feet take an unnatural posture when walking. If you look at babies’ feet when they learn to walk you can see that they favor their forefoot!
Have you read “Born to Run”? Really good book about running, and barefoot running, and long-distance running (featuring my hometown btw hehe).
This comment two days to complete and I think I lost my momentum lol Anyways, best of luck!
September 4, 2014 at 7:40 pm
yes I have read that book! I try to land on my forefoot but have a tendency towards that overpronation still. That book does have many good points. It is difficult to know what is the best answer until you try some things.
September 7, 2014 at 9:23 pm
Yay for new shoes that don’t make your muscles hurt! I’ve had my gait evaluated a couple of times to get new shoes – it’s very interesting.