Having the right footwear makes a real difference to the effectiveness of your training, especially if you’re a runner.
Before you choose your trainers, you need to understand your foot type. Only then can you chose the right type of shoe for your sport or workout.
Central to the choice of any trainers is the pronation of your feet. Pronation means the amount the foot rolls inwards when running. It affects the type of shoe you need as the modern trainer is designed based on specific pronation patterns.
There are two types of pronation pattern, which then vary by degrees dependent on the individual:
Neutral pronation is when the outside part of your heel makes first contact with the ground and then the foot follows a normal pronation pattern, with a minimal inward roll and results in complete contact with the ground.
Your feet are able to support your body weight with no issues and the force of the impact of your stride is shock absorbed and optimally distributed across your body.
Over pronation is when the foot rolls in too much. The foot and ankle may have problems stabilising the body and the shock of impacting with the ground is not properly absorbed.
In this case you will find much of your weight is transferred to the inner side of the foot. As you move forward the load is taken on by the inner edge of your foot, rather than the whole of it as it should be.
This is destabilising for your feet and can be improved with the right footwear.
There are three main types of trainers, categorised according to foot arch type, running style and leg axis, as well as pronation:
Neutral trainers, as you’d guess, are the right choice for people with neutral or under pronation. They have cushioning throughout the shoe to absorb shocks across the whole foot with ease.
Structured trainers are designed with cushioning and support specifically for the arch of the food, to compensate for over pronation and ensure the inner part of the foot is protected and doesn’t over compensate.
Maximum support trainers are designed with the main focus of limiting and preventing over pronation. They guide your foot into the neutral position, through the maximum cushioning and support within.
If you are serious about running, we recommend you visit a gait specialist for a full analysis and guidance in picking out those perfect trainers. The wrong pair can cause injury so it's worth investing a bit of time and money to get it right.
at last, a clear explanation. I've also been caught out by supercheap trainers but this is really useful as I can now understand what actually matters.
Mike, I had my gait measured a few years ago and bought a pair of £70 trainers on the strength of it. They're the comfiest pair I've ever had, and have lasted much longer than cheaper ones.
I would also recommened not buying cheap supermarket trainers. I did - and paid the price with trainers with almost no absorption of impact. Better to pay a little more, for sure, though I don't know if getting your gait measured is worth it.
I am ust about to by some new trainers and haven't a clue what is best really, so This is very helpful - technical terms simplified - thanks.