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Cheap Running Shoes

Expensive versus Cheap Running Shoes

“Do you get value for money when you buy an expensive pair of running shoes? Read on and find out!”

An investigation of the Institute of Motion Analysis and Research, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee (Clinghan RT, Arnold GP, Drew TS, Cochrane L, Abboud RJ, Br J Sports Med. Published Online First: 11 October 2007. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2007.038844) aimed to determine if more expensive running shoes provide better cushioning of plantar pressure and are more comfortable than low-cost alternatives from the same brand.

Cheap Running Shoes

Cheap Running Shoes

Design: Three pairs of running shoes were purchased from three different manufacturers at three different price ranges: low (£40-45), medium (£60-65) and high (£70-75). Plantar pressure was recorded with the Pedar® in-shoe pressure measurement system. Comfort was assessed with a 100 mm visual analogue scale. A follow-on study was conducted to ascertain if shoe cushioning and comfort were comparable to walking while running on a treadmill.

Participants: Forty-three female and twelve male subjects participated in the main and follow-on studies respectively.

Main Outcome Measure: Evaluation of plantar pressure and comfort.

Results: Plantar pressure measurements were recorded from under the heel, across the forefoot and under the great toe. Differences in plantar pressure were recorded between models and between brands in relation to cost. Shoe performance was comparable between walking and running trials on a treadmill. No significant difference was observed between shoes and test occasions in terms of comfort.

Conclusions: Low and medium cost running shoes in each of the three brands tested provided the same (if not better) cushioning of plantar pressure as high-cost running shoes. Cushioning was comparable when walking and running on a treadmill. Comfort is a subjective sensation based on individual preferences and was not related to either the distribution of plantar pressure or cost.

No significant difference was found between each type of shoe and each brand. Whilst differences did exist between different areas of each shoe/brand, this was not a consistent picture in that the site of the differences varied between shoes; perhaps not surprising as the different brands may have different aims when determining where to position the cushioning. The authors do report that, whilst there was no statistical difference between the shoes, there was a trend to the low cost shoe demonstrating more cushioning. To the delight of the media, this non statistical finding has been termed ‘if not better’. Whilst the authors postulate that this subtle difference may be more significant over time with repetitive impact loading, the reverse may also be true. More research is required, a point acknowledged in the paper.

It is perhaps not surprising that the authors decided to analyse the pressure values alone, rather than any level of functional control as the former variable is more discreet and easier to quantify for research purposes. In the introduction/review of the literature, they report:

1. That better cushioning materials in more expensive shoes attenuate impact force to a greater extent than less expensive alternatives,

2. That it has been suggested that the protective devices advertised are deceptive and runners subconsciously subject themselves to greater impact forces, increasing the risk of injuries,

3. That this is supported by a 123% greater injury frequency observed in runners training with expensive running shoes compared to less expensive models/brands.

Given that the authors go on to postulate that the subtle improvement in cushioning may be more significant over time, it is not clear from the paper whether this would be a good or bad feature.

Of course, other factors should also be considered when determining the benefit of any shoe and these include:

– The density (termed durometer) of the material will have a profound effect. A low durometer may provide greater cushioning but may not be sufficient for a heavier runner. Similarly, the durability of the low durometer material may be much less, requiring renewal of the shoe more rapidly.

– There is no data relating to the weight of the subjects or the durometer of the material between the varying shoes. It is quite possible that this varies arbitrarily between models and brands.

– The positioning of the cushioning may be important in injury protection and, based on this paper, this seems to be more brand than expense related.

– Many running shoes have features designed to help control foot function depending upon the individual foot type. These features may not relate directly to cushioning, indeed the opposite may be true if the aim is to resist excessive motion. Many stability/motion control shoes have a higher durometer material on the inside of the shoe which is claimed to resist pronation. Thus, the nature of the individuals foot function is an important factor. In this study, there had been no history of lower limb pathology and no gait abnormality although the criteria for the latter were not detailed.

As previously mentioned, this is a well constructed study and the authors acknowledge the need to study a greater number of shoes. They have presented the data well although some of the terminology they have used has been seized upon by the media. What they have highlighted is that the price of the shoe alone is not necessarily the important factor. In my experience, when considering shoes for function:

– Shoes under £60 generally have less support/durability.
– Shoes between £60 and £100 are generally more supportive/durable and worth the additional investment 3. Shoes significantly greater than £100 rarely have the additional technology to justify the increased price tag.

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Running Shoes

Choosing the Right Running Shoes

“Running Shoes? We’ll discuss how to narrow down your traditional running shoe choices. Read now!”

While most running shoes feel comfortable when you’re standing in a sports store, the true test is after several miles on the trail or asphalt. You’ll quickly realize that your perfect shoe has more to do with the shape of your foot and your running style than it does with the logo stitched on the side.

Running Shoes

Running Shoes

Road Runners or Trail Runners?

Road running shoes are designed for pavement and occasional forays onto packed surfaces with slight irregularities (fire roads, nature trails, wood-chip paths). Light and flexible, they’re made to cushion or stabilize feet during repetitive strides on hard, even surfaces.

Trail running shoes are essentially beefed-up running shoes designed for off-road routes. They are enhanced with aggressive outsoles for solid traction and fortified to offer stability, support and underfoot protection. If you routinely encounter roots, rocks, mud, critter holes or other obstacles during runs, choose trail runners.

Tip: If you can’t find a trail shoe with the right fit for your running mechanics, it’s better to go with a road-running shoe.

Know Your Feet

Foot size: If you’re unsure of your shoe size or if one foot is larger than the other, it’s best to have your feet measured at REI or other shoe retailer with a Brannock device. (That’s the flat metal tool with sliders that measure the length, width and the toe-to-ball length of the foot.) Whenever possible, try the shoe on to see if it fits. Shoe lasts (which determines shoe sizes, described below) vary by manufacturer and even from one shoe model to another. You may need a half-size or even a full size smaller or larger than you think.

Most men wear a D-width shoe; most women wear a B-width. You don’t have to wear a shoe of your gender—the lasts are basically the same. Men: Try a women’s shoe if you have a narrow foot. Women: Try a men’s shoe if you have a larger or wider foot. If the shoe fits, wear it!

Arch shape: As you get out of the tub, shower or pool, take a look at the footprint you leave on the bathmat or cement. The shape of your footprint will indicate the type of arch you have. Your arch shape affects the way your foot moves as you run.

Biomechanics of Running

Your foot shape is closely related to its movement as you walk or run. With every stride, your heel typically strikes the ground first. It rolls slightly inward and the arch flattens to cushion the impact. Your foot then rolls slightly to the outside and stiffens to create a springboard to propel your next step.

As runners, however, we each experience different levels of these sideways motions as we stride. The key characteristics:

Pronation is the foot’s natural inward roll following a heel strike. Basic (neutral) pronation helps absorb impact, relieving pressure on knees and joints. It is a normal trait of neutral, biomechanically efficient runners.

Overpronation is an exaggerated form of the foot’s natural inward roll. It is a common trait that affects the majority of runners, leaving them at risk of knee pain and injury. Overpronators need stability or motion control shoes.

Supination (also called under-pronation) is an outward rolling of the foot resulting in insufficient impact reduction at landing. Relatively few runners supinate, but those who do need shoes with plenty of cushioning and flexibility.

How can you be sure which running style is yours? A podiatrist or physical therapist could undoubtedly tell you, but a simpler answer is probably in your closet. If you own a well-used pair of running shoes, check the wear pattern on the soles.

A neutral stride is indicated by shoe wear centralized to the ball of the foot and a small portion of the heel.
Overpronation is identified by wear patterns along the inside edge of your shoe.
Supination is marked by wear along the outer edge of your shoe.

Types of Running Shoes

Cushioning shoes provide elevated shock absorption and minimal medial (arch side) support. They’re best for runners who are mild pronators or supinators. Cushioning shoes are also good for neutral runners during off-pavement runs. Reason: Minor irregularities in surfaces such as dirt roads give feet a little variety from the repetitive, same-spot strikes they typically experience on hard surfaces.

Stability shoes help decelerate basic pronation. They’re good for neutral runners or those who exhibit mild to moderate overpronation. They often include a “post” (see Shoe Construction 101, below) in the midsole.

Motion control shoes offer features such as stiffer heels or a design built on straighter lasts to counter overpronation. They’re best for runners who exhibit moderate to severe overpronation.

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Best Running Shoes for Men

List of the Best Running Shoes for Men

“Looking for the best running shoes for men? Check out this list now and see if there is something you’ll like!”

Best Running Shoes for Men

Best Running Shoes for Men

Running can be boring, but it’s also one of the best things you can do to shed pounds, increase energy levels, and flee zombies. You’ll want to do everything you can to avoid nagging injuries like shin splints, which means it’s not enough to simply trade up from your scuffed-up Chuck Taylors. You need to buy the best running shoes for your particular body type, running style, and choice of terrain. And whether your flat feet need extra support, the trail running you do is murder on shoes, or your awkward knock-kneed gait defies typical human locomotion, this guide comprising the best running shoes for men will help you find what’s right for you.

Nike Zoom Structure +14 ($100)
Those prone to overpronation — runners with flat feet whose feet roll inward more than 15 percent — and shin splints should look into these two-pound beasts. The mesh upper with flywire strap and enhanced heel strap offer great support and stability, without making the Structures look like corrective footwear.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11 ($100)
The GTS 11′s breathable upper-mesh material and sockliner will help prevent your socks from turning into swampy slabs of cotton while its Tri-density Progressive Diagonal Rollbar will keep your feet from under- or overpronating. Guys with flat feet will dig the extra cushioning, stability, and responsiveness that’ll keep them running longer distances without worrying about shin splints or stress fractures.

Saucony ProGrid Kinvara ($90)
The Kinvaras weigh 8 ounces, have a soft Pro-Grid Lite heel lining to absorb impact, and possess an XT-900 carbon rubber outsole for increased traction. Plus, its midsole construction was built to protect against the unforgiving pavement, which is typically hell on a runner’s joints. But now just because you run the mean streets doesn’t mean your knees or feet have to suffer.

Merrell Barefoot Sonic Glove ($125)
The Sonic Glove allows your feet to respond to what’s under them, not on them. The breathable, soft mesh material and microfiber footbed with antimicrobial solution molds to your foot as it yanks the moisture out to keep your tootsies dry and comfortable in even the harshest terrain.

Mizuno Wave Elixir 6 ($110)
Yes, they look like abstract art. But what’s more important — fashion or function? The Smooth Ride and Wave technologies ensure you’ll be met with comfort and stability whether you’re accelerating or decelerating. The Elixirs are light, responsive running shoes that are tough enough to handle the rigors of everyday training as well as long-distance, high-tempo runs.

Brooks Cascadia 6 ($110)
The Cascadia 6 is for people who run trails more often than the track. The outsole is made of highly durable rubber that’ll handle encounters with brush, rock, and mud — without giving up traction. Its Rock Shields protect your feet from jagged edges, and the DNA cushioning uses viscosity to react instantly to each step.

Saucony ProGrid Peregrine ($90)
Outfitted with a ninja-style rock-guard outsole, this trail runner provides a smooth ride over varied terrain. While the multi-direction lugs give you confidence in the turns, the flexible, cushioned fit feels like an extension of your foot.

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