Footwear - What to Believe?

My long term goal is to run injury free, but at the moment I have a slight touch of PF and have also started to have a sore foot in the ball area on my other foot; I'll rest them and I'm not really posting about my niggles.

My issue is that whereever I look to find out something about running, I can learn one thing, but if I go to a different source, I can find alternative and conflicting information.

Take training shoes for example.  In the past I have followed the standard advice and went to a running shop, was gait analysed, and have worn the correct training shoe that was advised for me.  I still had niggles that could've developed into injuries had I not rested them.

I have also ran in boots, plimsoles, and any old training shoes and been fine (I'm ex army - joined in 1986 and was issued with 'slaps' (thin gym shoes).

I've also read Born to Run which champions barefoot running/minamalist shoe running, which I've also started to transition into.

I'm not sure where this post is leading, but what's your thoughts on this conflicting information?  Is running still more of an art than a science?


  • FWIW. I don't think it matters what shoes you have. For me it has never made the blindest bit of difference. I ran miles and miles on roads with trail shoes because I found them comfy and vice versa. I think it starts getting dodgy if you want to go barefoot and start off with a high mileage week. I can run a good 20miles in normal running shoes (Except my Adidas Boston 3's I have never spent more than 30£ on running shoes) but I tried barefoot and got 1 1/2 miles. I just cannot see the appeal. If you are quite happy with the shoes you got why change it? I have an old pair of Asics, probably 8 years old, ran probably 800-1000 miles in them and still wear them on occasions. Changing your shoes every 400 miles is a brands way of making money. However if you are injury prone and just do not get on with shoes, try barefoot and if it works good luck to you.

    If you can run in what you are wearing and not get injured, carry on. If you are getting injured try something else image

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    I've had a slightly different experience to TheVicar, as I had one pair of shoes that gave me really severe knee pain (ironically this is the one pair I bought after gait analysis from the local running shop!).  

    I also change my shoes when I start getting niggly little aches and pains running in a pair of shoes that have been used for a while.  

    I read Born to Run and enjoyed it, and I am heading towards less cushioned shoes (latest ones are the Saucony Mirage) but I don't think I'll ever go the full five-fingers/vivobarefoot route.

    From what you've said the cushioning in your current shoes may be past it (hence the pain in the ball of the foot) and you may want to try something from a "minimalist" range as you didn't need cushioned shoes in your army days, and you  didn't suffer.

  • I always try to get the most out of each pair of shoes I buy. My first (Mizuno Waverider 13) lasted me around 750 miles until my first marathon. Since then I've used Brooks Ghosts - the Ghost 3's did me around 800 miles, the Ghost 4's, I ran in for 850 miles - but I noticed more than ever when I got my latest pair (Ghost 5's) how different they felt. I'd definitely ran the last pair beyond their best.

    Perhaps the reason the other pairs weren't as noticeably flat when I changed, was that I've tried to run on grass and trails in the past. Lately I've been sticking to the roads to get my joints used to the pounding for a marathon (Liverpool, 2 weeks' time!). When I started in the Waveriders I weighed 185lbs, and I've been around 160-170lbs in the other shoes. I think that makes a big difference when it comes to cushioning.

    If you're not doing marathons or big weekly mileage, you can probably get away with less cushioning. Or if you've got amazing biomechanics.

  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    Find what works for you and stick with it. If gait correction type shoes lead to injury then try barefoot/minimalist and vice versa.

    I've heard people from both sides argue that theirs is the "correct" way and people who have been injuered from both styles of shoes. I personally think it's as simple as finding what works for you and staying with it.

  • Just watched a TV show about Karl Marx - might follow his lead and start running barefoot in order to deprive the bourgeoisie of some profit.

  • Red. Wear red shoes.

    Unless you are left handed, then you need to wear green shoes.

    Orange shoes are worn by the cackhanded.

    I think it would be wrong to advise based on my experience, so I don't. Everything that I have read on the subject appears to point at - wear what you want, what feels right and works for you.


  • 1)Damage limitation:Find the best compromise, shoe wise. They are all a compromise. All of them

    2Your body and age:Except what you cant change. Bio-mechanics and the fact that age weakens.

    3) Decide what sort of runner you want and can be. Fitness or competitive and (see 1, 2, 3

    4) Some injury is inevitable ( see 1, 2)




  • It seems in trying to fix one thing you end up with another! I tried a pair of trainers to try and stop me overpronating, after a while I had pains all the time and nearly gave up altogether, it took me a while to put two and two together and realise that it was the trainers causing the pain and symptoms of tendonitis. I changed back to some light trail shoes and although I clearly over pronate I am more or less injury free. My conclusion is that you are already able to run, shoes on or not, if you hinder your natural movement it causes you to over or under compensate elsewhere and you end up sidelined.

  • there's been a parallel thread to this in tritalk forums over the last few weeks.

    generally the summary there is the same - if it works for you, stick with it; if it doesn't try something else but don't expect the something else to be the magic bullet.

    the TT thread is here if anyone is interested in looking -

  • I would say how you run is more important than whats on your feet, Im also someone who over the past twenty years or so has worn almost every form of footwear. However as the years go on I find a decent pair of shoes does help with those little aches and pains. I have kept to the same shoe for the last 10 years and find changing them every 500 mile or so helps

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