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Choosing the right running shoes for your stride

You think that with the right technique, everyone runs the same way? This is not so! There are three different types of strides, two of which are used by 90% of people. The way in which you run depends on the anatomical structure of your foot, and this helps determine the type of shoe that is right for you.

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The first type is most common among runners. This is the neutral or normal stride. It is identified by a slight pronation—that is, the foot turning slightly inwards at contact with the ground. As such, the mechanical stress induced by running is well distributed in the centre of the foot, which generally reduces the risk of injury or pain in the muscles, tendons and bones used in running.


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The second type, also quite common (about 40% of runners), is overpronation. In this case, the foot turns markedly inwards when it hits the ground. The cause is often a low arch. In the long term, overpronation can result in tendinitis, particularly in the Achilles tendons, as well as in the knees and hips.


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The third type—supination—is less common and is characterized by the foot turning outwards at contact with the ground. This stride, associated with high arches, does not absorb the shock of hitting the ground well. The shock wave therefore travels unimpeded through the knees and hips to the back, leading to musculoskeletal injuries and stress fractures.


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This stride goes with that shoe... usually

If you run, it is important to recognize your type of stride in order to choose the right shoes. Since stride is partially determined by the anatomy of the foot, you may start with a “wet test” (inset 1) at home or have your foot arch analysed in one of our stores. This will tell you whether you have a high, low or normal arch. Next, examine the soles (not the heels) of your running shoes—a pair with some mileage on them (inset 2). One of three patterns may be identified:

1. The sole is most worn in the centre (see illustration). This indicates a neutral stride (normal pronation). A universal or neutral running shoe that is comfortable (very important) and adapted to your weight will be suitable in most cases (see tips below).

2. The sole is most worn on the inside. This means you have overpronation. In this case, look for a stability shoe, which stabilizes the stride and supports the foot. A neutral shoe with an appropriate orthotic insert (customized insole) may also do the job.

3. The sole is most worn on the outside. You have supination. Most of the time, stretching exercises (including the sole of the foot) and flexible shoes designed for high arches with extra cushioning at the heel and arch (with a customized insole in some cases) are sufficient to allow you to practice sports, including running.

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We invite you to pass by our store to see our sales consultants and have your arches assessed using our new, specially designed FOOTDISC® thermographic foot scan.


Final tips before buying

Whatever your stride, you should choose your running shoes based on the following criteria:

  • Ideally, you should opt for shoes designed for your type of stride, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Some runners who choose shoes adapted to their type of foot still experience discomfort (blisters, pain, etc.). What counts most is that the shoes are comfortable when you first try them on. In other words, they must be roomy enough for the toes, and have a well-padded insole, collar and tongue, a hard-wearing non-slip sole, and an upper that lets the heat escape. This is why it is essential to walk around the store with the shoes on before buying. New shoes that hurt are never a good sign, even if you have chosen a model adapted to your type of stride!
  • Always shop towards late afternoon, when your feet are slightly swollen. Otherwise, you are likely to buy shoes that are too tight.
  • When buying, wear your usual workout socks. If you wear orthoses, bring them to the store and choose shoes with removable insoles (very common). Replace these with your orthoses and walk around—you should feel comfortable.
  • Finally, it is best to replace your running shoes before they get too worn out. Your feet will thank you for these small considerations!
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