Monday, October 22, 2012

If The Shoe Fits...It Still Might Not Be Right For Your Workout

Another 90 days and another pair of shoes worn out.  Though I have been going through this cycle for 5 years, I still find it hard to believe that shoes that look so good (new even) on the top are so decimated on the bottom.  But when you put hundreds of miles on them, they do have a tendency to wear out.
My first indication that I'm approaching the end-of-shoe-life is shin splints.  It starts out on a mild level, but gets increasingly worse on each successive multi-mile jaunt.  In the case of me feet I tend to put more pressure on the outside edges when I am walking in the fast and furious mode.  Thus, my shoes wear faster on the outside as well, which means over time that my feet are tilting to the outside with each step.  That "angling" of my feet puts more strain on my shins, which in turn causes pain.
Though I have been aware of this for several years, I have continued to buy the same shoes, simply because they have done a great job consistently, without giving much thought as to whether they were THE RIGHT SHOES.  
In my early days of power-walking I went through several different brands and styles and evaluated them strictly on how comfortable they were on my feet.  But as it turns out, there is a lot more to selecting the right shoe than comfort and fit.  My tendency to put more pressure on the outside edges of me feet is a great example as its a real condition and there are shoes engineered to compensate for it.
Underpronation/Supination: The two terms "underpronation" and "supination" can be used interchangeably to describe a runner whose foot does not roll in at all or even rolls slightly outward with each step in the running gait. The runner pushes off mainly from the small toes on the outside of the foot. An extremely small percentage of the population underpronates. Typically, a runner with a high arch will underpronate. A runner with this foot mechanic will have extreme wear on the outside edge of his or her current running shoe. Underpronators generally need a NEUTRAL shoe that encourages a more natural inward foot motion.
Dicks Sporting Goods has some excellent information about how to buy the right shoes on their website and its worth reading and understanding BEFORE you make a purchase.  Don't buy based on brand, fashion, looks or even fit alone, but rather on whether its the right shoe for your needs.
After reading this and further discussing with a Store Associate who was very knowledgeable about athletic shoes, I tested a couple of different styles and bought something totally new and different.  I can readily feel the difference in support and so can my feet.
Being that "discomfort" is one of leading excuses for NOT exercising, it pays to get shoes that move you forward rather than hold you back.  Every step counts in the war against weight!

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