Dr. Mark J Mendeszoon

Dr. Mark J Mendeszoon

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Importance of a Running Shoe

Running shoes are the most important piece of equipment for any type of runner. Since 1972,  Nike changed the running shoe industry dramatically.  Prior to this, most running shoes were a flat sole shoe with a rubber bottom.  Most athletic shoes were used for all type of events. PF Flyers, Converse All-Stars and Pro Keds were the go to shoes for all athletes in America,  while adidas was big in Europe and Tiger (ASICS) dominated in the Orient.

In the last five decades there have been several dozen brand of running shoes and the predominant running shoes are now the following:  Asics, Adidas, Brooks, Mizuno, Nike, New Balance and Saucony.

With all the brands of shoes that are out in the market, there is no one perfect shoe.  A major reason I opened up Achilles Running Shop 10 years ago was due to the service and knowledge of big box stores not appreciating the patient or athlete needs or concerns.

Running shoes are a multi-billion dollar industry and shoes come and go and change very rapidly. The technology in designing and creating running shoes is incredible and the engineers are always pushing the limits to find the next best shoe.  Most running specialty shops have made the process easier for customers to be placed in the right shoe.  This process can really help runners avoid injuries, continue training and most importantly achieve their goals.

Placing a customer in the right running shoe is an art form as well as a science.   Being placed in the proper running shoe can take approximately 10 to 20 minutes.  Gathering information such as an individual's goals, past medical history or surgical history related to the lower musculoskeletal system  is imperative.  Understanding the individuals body type and then performing a biomechanics evaluation is paramount. Watching the patient walk and run is crucial to finding the right shoe for that individual. Proper sizing is extremely important. Over 90% of Americans are in the wrong size shoe. Not only should feet be measured in length but also in widths.

When shoes are too small or too narrow they can aggravate or cause for ingrown toenails, hammertoes  or bunions  due to the fact that the toes are crunched up and do not have room to move adequately. Other conditions can be aggravated by improper shoes such as neuromas, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and temporary numbness of the feet.  If shoes are too large they can aggravate the skin and cause for blisters, corns and calluses. If customers have orthotics or over-the-counter insoles it can also change the shoe selection for them. Many times customers come to a store and are informed they need a certain type of shoe but do not take in consideration of their orthotic. Orthotics definitely change shoe selection due to their function of either supporting or stabilizing the foot.

Once a proper shoe is selected for the individual it should feel comfortable immediately.  It is very important to lace and unlace shoes every time they are put on or off your feet.  This will ensure that the shoe fits properly and gives you the best comfort and function. Shoes are usually good for approximately 300-500 miles of running. I typically advise patient to write the date of purchase inside the shoe. This can be done with a permanent marker.  Also, it is important not only to keep a journal of how your training but a log of how many miles were placed on the shoes.

 In order to care for your shoes it is recommended that you wear proper non-cotton socks. Place your shoes in an area of air currents so that ventilation will allow the shoes to minimize moisture. Moisture attracts bacteria, viruses and fungi. Powder your shoes to also help minimize moisture. Any type of  powder will achieve this very nicely.  If your shoes would get wet or dirty take out the insole and let the shoes dry properly. If you're concerned about the appearance or dirt accumulation on your shoes you may wash your shoes either through a hand wash or light cycle machine wash. Always take out the insoles out when washing your shoes.  Additionally, let the shoes air dry.

Lastly, if you find a pair shoes that you really like it may be beneficial to buy several pairs of that particular model as she was change anywhere from 1 to 2 years.  If you take care of your shoes then issues will take care of you.

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