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It is important to find shoes that match your gait

Last week, I spoke about Salisbury Rowan Runners beginner’s running program and promised to dig a little deeper in the different styles of shoes and running gaits.
This reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book, “left foot, right foot, feet, feet, feet, oh how many feet we meet!” It’s true, so many different feet. I always thought I was a “supenator” (also called underpronation) commonly known as your feet rolling out. I always seem to wear the outside of my running/exercise shoes out. Only about three years ago when I had my run analyzed did I find out I am a “neutral” runner and the shoes I bought were for a runner who over pronates (foot rolls inward). So the shoe was pushing me outward. As a neutral runner, the outside of the heel makes the first contact to the ground followed by “rolling” the foot inward until full contact with the ground optimally distributing the force of impact, followed by pushing off evenly from the front of the foot. A neutral shoe works best for us neutral runners.
Overpronation is when the foot rolls inward. Your feet and ankles have problems stabilizing the body and the shock when making contact to the ground is not absorbed efficiently. At the end of this gate cycle, the front of the foot is pushing off the ground using mainly the big toe and second toe. A stability shoe would work best for runners who overpronate.
Underpronation is when the foot rolls outward “supinates,” the force of impact is distributed towards the outside of the foot again, not distributing it efficiently. At the push off phase, most of the work is done by the smaller toes on the outside of the foot. (when you place your worn shoes on a flat surface you see them lean out). There are no specific shoes for this kind of runner. However, lightweight, flexible curve lasted shoes are recommended.
Of course, you should go to a place where specialists can analyze your gait and make recommendations for a shoe. Locally, Ralph Baker’s Shoes can analyze your feet perfectly and make good recommendations, and as I mentioned last week stores such as Fleet Feet, Run for your Life and Omega Sports have the equipment to analyze you on a treadmill while you walk or run.
I hope this will help you find the right shoes. The incorrect shoes won’t “just” wear your shoes wrong, many people have knee problems or hip problems due to wearing the wrong shoes. So I say its worth it to figure out what kind of gait you have. I hope you are able to enjoy this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and all the festivities that are going on today.
Ester H Marsh ACSM Cpt, Health and Fitness Director JF Hurley Family YMCA

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