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Active Voice: Running Shoes & Foot Type - Is There a Good Match?

from By Rudy Dressendorfer, P.T., Ph.D., FACSM

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Rudy Dressendorfer, P.T., Ph.D., FACSM is an accomplished scientist, educator and clinician with a career focused on clinical exercise physiology. He is an ACSM Program Director℠ and has served on ACSM’s certification and education committee. He retired as full professor of human performance and sport at New Mexico Highlands University and subsequently taught exercise physiology and did collaborative research with faculty at the University of Alberta in Canada. Currently, he practices sports medicine as a licensed physical therapist in California. Rudy has published extensively on physical conditions, injuries and related prevention strategies for endurance athletes. He also has direct experiences with these issues, as he is a highly successful amateur triathlete.

Running shoes are customized for foot arch posture and marketed with reference to poorly defined foot types. In running-specialty stores, a “shoe technician” will often visually assess foot type while the runner stands and walks in socks or barefooted. Also, the runner’s training shoes are usually inspected for signs of excessive wear on the medial or lateral side.

The foot type is categorized neutral if the medial longitudinal arch appears normal, overpronated if it is much lower than normal (shoes show more medial wear) or oversupinated if higher than normal (shoes show more lateral wear). A shoe type is then recommended to match the observed foot type: a neutral shoe for a normal foot, a motion-control shoe for an overpronated foot and a high-cushion stability shoe for an oversupinated foot. more

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