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Are your running shoes shot?

May 2013

One's body works more efficiently when their musculoskeletal system is balanced. In other words, you may be able to run farther and/or faster if you are breathing correctly while running and have the correct gear. Today's blog will focus on the shoes. Additional posts regarding proper breathing will come later.

It's important to wear good shoes! Shoes shouldn't be considered "worn out" when they get a hole in them. The supportive structures of the shoe wear out long before the material does.

1) Take a look at the soles of your shoe, there should be plenty of tread. If the soles are looking a little worn, grab a new pair. You should also notice symmetrical wearing along the sole. If one is more worn than the other, your body is not moving symmetrically and, therefore, is not working the way it should be. If you notice this, physical therapist at CORE Services can evaluate this problem and work with you on restoring your mechanics.

2) The soles of the shoe should be supportive, yet have some movement. Grab the toe and heel of your shoe and give it a good wring and/or bend. Most of the movement should be from the ball of the foot to the toes, the midfoot should move just slightly.

3) Also, your heel counter should be nice and solid. To check this, try squeezing the area your heel sits in. Next, try to bend the back of the heel down in toward the opening of the shoe. The heel counter should be solid.

4) Different bodies need different shoes. There are four different kinds of shoes:


This shoe is not appropriate for everyday life. Americans wears shoes everyday for long periods of time. Our feet are not conditioned to walk without support, let alone run that way. Basically, DO NOT BUY THIS SHOE!

Cushion This shoe is for people who have good mechanics and just need a little support. Chances are if you're reading this article, this shoe is not for you.

That leaves our options as either stability or motion control shoe. Stability shoes are for people who slightly pronate when weight bearing (low arches); while motion control offers a lot of stability for those with significantly fallen arches. Employees at running stores may watch you while you walk to see what your heel does; however, they do not have the training to know why your arches behave the way they do. While it can be a good place to start, if the shoes they recommended do not solve your problem, you need an evaluation by physical therapist. Notice the difference in gray foam near the arch in the pictures below.

Motion Control Shoe

Stability Shoe

5) The most basic way to tell if you need new shoes is if a chronic problem returns. For example, if you sometimes have knee pain when running, and it's been (more) noticeable recently, chances are the supportive structures of your shoe are worn out and unable to do their job.

If you have any questions or concerns with the information given in the article. Call CORE and set up an appointment. The PT will evaluate you and give you custom shoe recommendations as well as exercises if needed.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks!

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