Should I listen to running shoe fads?

Should I listen to running shoe fads?

I don’t usually do this but this week I read an article that I really want to share. Therefore, I must knowledge Chris Napier & Richard Willy for publishing this article. I follow these two gurus very closely and I hold them in a very high regard. The article title is ‘Logical fallacies in the running shoe debate: Let the evidence guide prescription’. My physiotherapy clients are always asking me about what running shoe they should buy and if it will be beneficial for a traditional running shoe, minimalist shoe, zero drop shoe or a running shoe with a lot of support.

There have been several paradigms for all these shoes. We all know the ‘barefoot running’ wave that swept all runners in the past decade, but what does the evidence say? When we refer to preventing running related injuries, unfortunately there is no reliable evidence to support one type of running shoe over another. My usual advice in the physiotherapy clinic is to stick to what your foot is used to. Once again this is in relation to reduced injury rate however, you may want to change shoes if:

  1. You want to increase performance (minimalist shoes are lighter and show an increase in running economy).
  2. You want to alter biomechanics (minimalist shoes can increase cadence & alter strike pattern).

What can we take away from this article?

When it comes to reducing running injuries, choosing one shoe over another is just as reliable as choosing the colour. If you would like to reduce your risk of running injury, gait retraining from a professional is the best option. A large study found that a 2 week gait retraining session lowered risk of injury by 62% at a 1 year follow-up!

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