Have you ever wondered what your shoe wear patterns mean? Shoe wear patterns can provide a glimpse of how we run but misinterpretation of these patterns may lead us down a road of inappropriate shoe selection and running form modification that could potentially reduce performance and increase risk of injury.
Even Wear (Optimal Shoe Wear Patterns)
Approximately 80 percent of people show even wear patterns on their shoes.
The normal foot-type or optimal healthy stride shows an even wear transition along the foot from heel-strike to toe off.
We should strike at the lateral or outside aspect of our heel and slowly roll in until we can propel off the ground between our second and first toes.
Slight lateral wear at heel is noted on normal foot types. It is common to have slight wear at the forefoot also in this foot type.
Edge Wear for Over-Pronation (Common for collapsed, mobile flat arches)
Runners who over-pronate or roll their feet to far inward as they land tend to have shoe wear along the medial (inner) aspect of the shoe.
In severe cases this wear can distort the upper of the shoe that the shoe will medially tilt inward.
People with this wear often have flat arches and a more flexible foot, so it rotates farther inward on the ground. Over pronation can cause increases in rotation at the hip or knee joint.
Tread wear loss on the inside of the heel and ball of foot extending to the big toe is abnormal and can increase your chance of injury.
Plantar fasciitis (heel pain), calf strain, Achilles tendinopathy and patellofemoral pain syndrome (knee pain) are common injuries experienced by this foot type.
This foot type can benefit from Sole Therapy’s anti-pronation orthotics to redistribute the medial forces of the foot within the shoe.
Edge Wear for Supination (Under pronation, high arch or commonly known as a rigid foot type)
Over supination of the foot will show significant wear on the lateral borders of the heel and forefoot areas.
Runners who have high arches tend to wear the shoe more laterally. A supinator will strike at the heel, continue to mid-foot on the lateral edge, and then toe off laterally because their arches prevent the foot from pronation (rolling in). This will result in a wear pattern leaning heavily towards the outside of the shoe.
In extreme cases the upper of the shoe will tilt to the outside edge of the shoe and the foot and toes can break through the upper of the shoe mesh.
Landing on the outside of the foot puts a lot of pressure on the legs, ankles, knees and hips during motion and can lead to overuse injury or acute ankle sprains.
Functionally designed anti-supination orthotics from Sole Therapy are individually designed to decrease these lateral load forces and bring the foot strike more neutral. This orthotic combined with a neutral cushioned shoe can prevent lateral compartment injuries, ball of foot pain and shin stress syndromes or runners knee
The illustration below is a nice summary of shoe wear patterns for the three different foot types. Turn your shoes over and look at the sole and check the wear of your shoes. What foot type are you?
At Sole Therapy we know feet and are experts when it comes to identifying the right shoe for your individual needs. We all run differently and strike the ground uniquely every step. When we assess our clients for injury prevention it is important that we investigate shoe wear patterns as this gives us insight into our patients biomechanics, foot shape and foot type. This is very important for you to consider if you want to perform at your best.
Sole Therapy Shoe Tips:
1. Your heel should fit snug but not tight, slight heel movement with comfort. Try different lacing techniques like the lace heel lock to prevent heel slippage.
2. The shoes should bend at the same point where your foot flexes. This is just behind the ball of your foot if you flex the shoes toe box. Unsupportive shoes will always bend in the middle or in half.
3. If the shoe is fitted to your foot type, go for a quick little jog around the store.
4. Change your shoes. Nagging little niggles in the form of sore arches, shin pain, achy knees or other small annoyances will start to manifest themselves when you’re not getting the support and protection you once were from your shoe. Look at the wear pattern of your shoes and change them if worn.
Avoid these mistakes:
1. Buying shoes that are too small. Smaller size running shoes will cause blisters, and black toe nails. That is why I recommend going later in the day when you have been on your feet all day as feet can become swollen.
2. Don’t go assuming your shoes are the same size across brands. Some shoe brands run larger/smaller than others.
3. Don’t just go for the colors. Focus on getting a shoe that feels comfortable and what helps you run with better form. It is really important to choose a shoe for your individual foot type as running shoes have different classes.
So, pay attention to your shoes! What you wear and how they are wearing can do more for injury prevention than you might think.
For more information contact us at Sole Therapy www.soletherapy.com.au/contact-us
We are experts in biomechanics and sports podiatry. We offer great services that help you determine the right shoe for your foot type and exercise needs to keep you performing at your best and be injury free. Call us or drop us an email with your enquiries. We are here to help you love your body from the sole up.
Love your body from the sole up