Have you ever wondered what type of running shoes you should buy? Or maybe you just want to learn more about different types of running shoes? Well then look no further! The FitNerdPhysios are here to help!
To start, CLICK HERE to check out this great article written by the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine on the Anatomy of a Running Shoe.
Now let’s delve into the different types of running shoes. There are 3 classic categories that all running shoes can be defined under:
- Neutral: This means that there is nothing built into the shoe to control the motion of the foot. The foot is free to move how it pleases in the shoe.
- Stability: This means that there is a medial post built into the shoe to help moderate the amount of pronation that the foot can go into. This is typically recommended for people that ‘over-pronate’.
- Motion Control: This is a more serious stability shoe. It is meant to greatly control the amount of pronation that the foot can go into. This is typically recommended for people that ‘severely over-pronate’.
What is pronation you ask?
It is essentially the amount of inward movement that occurs at the foot and ankle when your foot strikes the ground and goes through to lift off. ‘Over-pronation’ refers to excessive pronation, which is what stability and motion-control shoes attempt to prevent. ‘Supination’ (aka ‘under-pronation’) happens when the foot and ankle roll outward when your foot strikes the ground and goes through to lift off. Here’s a picture to demonstrate these:
If you are wondering what category you fall under without having someone evaluate your running gait, then take a look at the bottom of your running shoes and see if the wear pattern is similar to any of the following:
We want to point out that just because you may fall under one of these categories, it does not mean that you have to get a shoe to fit that category. What matters most is that the shoe is comfortable! Aimee addresses this further in her article 3 Tips For Choosing the Right Running Shoe
There are 2 more categories that have become popular in the past decade and are defined as follows:
- Minimalist: This is highly debatable, but here are some things that define a minimalist shoe:
- It is a neutral shoe
- It is lightweight and flexible
- It has a low stack height (the level of thickness of the sole)
- It usually has anywhere from a 4mm heel-to-toe-drop to a zero heel-to-toe-drop
- It tends to have a wider toe-box
- Maximalist: Here are some things that can define this type of shoe:
- It is a neutral shoe
- It is lightweight
- It has an oversized stack height, usually around 30mm
- The heel-to-toe-drop still remains on the lower end around 6mm or less
What on earth is a ‘heel-to-toe-drop’?
A ‘heel-to-toe-drop’ or ‘heel-to-toe-differential’ just means that there is a difference in the heel height compared to the toe height. For example, if you have a shoe that has a 20mm heel height and a 10mm toe height, then the heel drop would be 10mm. If you have a shoe that has a 10mm heel height and 10mm toe height, then this would be classified as “zero-drop”, meaning there is no difference between the heel height and toe height.