Running shoe design and sales is a lucrative business. There is the belief that the more expensive the shoe the better it is for running. Others believe that shoes based on foot type (high arch, flat arch, normal) are important to prevent injury risk. What does the science say?
You may hear the terms motion control, cushioned, and stability when shopping for shoes.
– Motion control shoes are generally geared toward those with low or flat arches to potentially control for excessive pronation (Knapik et al, 2009).
– Cushioned shoes focus on providing more support for those with high arches to help with increased forces and to promote pronation (Knapik et al, 2009).
– Lastly, stability shoes provide a combination control and cushion (Knapik et al, 2009).
Knapik et al (2009) found that selecting shoes based on foot type (high arch, flat/low arch, or normal) does not reduce injury risk. Which is best? Interestingly, shoe brand, type, price is not a determinant for injury. Nigg et al (2015) found that most important factor to prevent injury with running is comfort. Nigg et al (2015) notes “Shoe conditions that are more comfortable are associated with a lower movement-related injury frequency that shoes that are less comfortable.”
Bottom line: find what is comfortable for you and what fits to reduce injury risk versus following the latest fads or trends. It is not what looks cool, but what feels good. 🙂
– Dr Dan Coupe, PT, DPT
Nigg, B., Baltich, J., Hoerzer, S., & Enders, H. (2015). Running shoes and running injuries: mythbusting and a proposal for two new paradigms: “preferred movement path” and “comfort filter.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49(20), 1290–1294. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2015-095054
Knapik, J. J., Swedler, D. I., Grier, T. L., Hauret, K. G., Bullock, S. H., Williams, K. W., Darakjy, S. S., Lester, M. E., Tobler, S. K., & Jones, B. H. (2009). Injury Reduction Effectiveness of Selecting Running Shoes Based on Plantar Shape. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(3), 685–697. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0b013e3181a0fc63