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.

You can see here that I am landing on the outside edge
If you look closely you can see I am overpronating 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.

You can clearly see the wear spots here
You can clearly see the wear spots here

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.

Brooks Ravenna 4
Brooks Ravenna 4

$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!

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