Gait assessment?

Hello - me again asking what is probably a daft question, however I am confused;

I am training for a half marathon at the end of March and have been wearing Nike Free's 5, with the flyknit upper.  I find them comfortable and I'm injury free as I stretch and roller my legs every day.

I will need a new pair of shoes soon and someone told me that I should go to a running shop for an assessment of my running style - I've had a look at what various people think of this and the Nikes and I am more confused than when I started.

So, if you were me would you a. stick with the shoes that seem to be fine (although are they suitable for a HM?) or b. go and have an assessment at the risk of being flogged some over engineered shoes? or c. do something more useful than keep thinking about shoes?

I know you guys will help clarify things in my poor befuddled brain.




  • Stick with them if you have no issues with them. Do the half then reasses what your targets are and then worry about your shoes.

  • Gait Assesment in running shops isn't what it seems. it's merely to identify if you overpronate or not by videoing your running up to knee height from behind.

    What you need to know is that there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that runners who overpronate have an increased risk of injury or that wearing prescribed 'correcting' shoes  lowers your risk.

    If you existing shoes are comfy and you have no problems then that is absolutely ideal!

  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    I'd suggest option a.

  • Nike Free 5s are perfect for the distance.  If you were having issues then maybe a gait analysis would be one approach to take to find a solution, but you aren't so crack on with the nikes.

    (I'm another Nike Free wearer and love them - current pair have over 400 miles on them)!

  • Gait analysis is an essential tool of the running retailer, but if you are running in the shoes and not having any problems, then you already have your answer. 

    When I worked in a shop providing gait analysis, I always placed a higher weighting on what had worked for the customer previously, than the results of the gait analysis. 

  • image QED. Gait analysis is rubbish.

  • It is not Mr Puffy.  

    If you worked in a shop with a 30 day returns poilicy, and were held responsible for the accuracy of your advice, then you would learn to like it. 

    It is not a magic bulet however. 

    It is just one of a number of tools, that can help constrain a persons needs. 

  • Read what you wrote Ben!

    "I always placed a higher weighting on what had worked for the customer previously, than the results of the gait analysis. "

    So despite all the years (it is years isn't it?) of study and training in the anatomy of the human foot, you chuck it all out of the window if a customer says he quite likes Asics?



  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Flob, I used a pair over the summer and got nearly 800 miles out of them before the cushioning in the forefoot started to go. They were good in the dry but not very grippy in the wet. If I can find a cheap pair I may get some more for this summer.
  • Flob

    Does it ever occur to you that I might tire of spending my weekends as an unpaid spokesman for Sweatshop, who I found to be neither kind nor competent?

    The bottom line however, is that the “gait analysis deniers” are giving out some bad advice at the moment.  They are just one of many groups, who offer up a simple solution to a complex problem, which wont work for many. 

    This is a necessary tool for the retailer. 

  • Mr Puffy wrote (see)

    Read what you wrote Ben!

    "I always placed a higher weighting on what had worked for the customer previously, than the results of the gait analysis. "

    So despite all the years (it is years isn't it?) of study and training in the anatomy of the human foot, you chuck it all out of the window if a customer says he quite likes Asics?



    No Mr P

    I chucked it out of the window, if he had ran in a 21 series Asics for seven years,and never had a problem. 

    Sensible enough?


  • OK Ben I was being sarcastic, sorry, but the point remains, personal experience trumps gait analysis.

    and if a runner has "problems" they need to see someone more qualified and experienced than - your own words again - a retailer.


  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭




    Just think how fast this guy could have run if he'd had that modern running disease, 'over pronation', fixed by correct shoes, via a 'gait analysis'.

    I'm sure he would be able to make some 'comment' on that suggestion (if you know whose foot it is).


  • Gosh!  Thank you all for your advice - sorry to have stirred up what appears to be an old hornets nest.  @Flob - I find the cushioning and width fine;  the 5's more so than the lower numbers though, and also the softness and snuggness of the flyknit preferable to ordinary lace - ups.  

  •  In store gait analysis based on arch height  or static foot test conducted  by a young store employee with little experience and no qualifications would not be an accurate assessment. I buy my running shoes  based on colour, style, comfort, low heel drop and light weight shoes.

  • Mr Puffy wrote (see)

    OK Ben I was being sarcastic, sorry, but the point remains, personal experience trumps gait analysis.

    and if a runner has "problems" they need to see someone more qualified and experienced than - your own words again - a retailer.


    Funnily enough, the more qualified person usually sent them to me!



    Flob wrote (see)
    Ben- the only person who is not telling consumers lies when advising on shoe purchases is the retailer who claims to not know which shoes suit the customer, because the science does not back up any of the retailers claims about different footfall patterns dictating choice of shoe types.

    There are lots of practices in our sport, where the scientific evidence supporting them is conflicted.  It is the nature of what we do, that we sometimes have to ride ahead of the scientific data, and wait for it to catch up.  This is just such a case. 

    The biggest mistake you can ever make, is to think that selecting suitable running footwear is simple.  It is vary a minefield, and the individual variation is much greater then you would ever think.  There are overpronators who need neutral shoes, and there are neutral runners who need support shoes (yes they do exist), and you have to give them the 30 day guarantee just like everybody else.  Some overpronators become neutral over time, while others get worse, and some stay the same. 

    The simple reality is that you can not accommodate this wide range of customer needs, simply by putting them all in a neutral shoe that feels comfortable.  Shops that offer gait analysis succeed, because those that don’t fail, and that is why people will always be willing to turn to somebody like me. 

  • A fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.

    Aldous Huxley

  • Flob wrote (see)
    People who have no evidence often quite random shit to distract others from the discussion.

    Flobious Forumiticus

    But it is not strictly true that I have no evidence is it?  There are studies that suggest that gait analysis and orthotics reduce injury rates.  The “Fort Drum Running Shoe Study” which I have alluded to previously, found that injury rates were reduced by 50% across a huge sample of military personnel after gait analysis was introduced.  You have to acknowledge the existence of this study, even if you don’t agree with its conclusions, and if you feel that other studies are better, then you should give some justification as to why. 

    Why do you think that the idea of overpronation causing injuries gained such currency in the first place?  The reality is that the most severe overpronators (admittedly about 1% of the sample) can hardly walk to the bus stop without hurting themselves.  This is part of the reason why podiatrists are in business.  Even if the concept of gait analysis were irreparably shattered, we would still be left with these problems, and they would still require solutions.  

    The reality is that sports science has not yet answered all the questions here, and more importantly it has not provided all the solutions.  This is why we are working in a sport, where the cottage industry is still at the cutting edge in places. 

  • The study does agree with my standpoint, because the overall conclusion of the study is that the programe did reduce injury rates.  The authours have been rigourous in trying to disprove their conclusions as they should be, and you have cherry picked a couple of of particularly juicy snipets out of context, while ignoring the overall conclusion of the study. 

    I think you might make a good salesman. 

    To be honest with you, the probles with the more recent military study are far more serious.  The process they employed was not gait analysis, it was a simple wet newspaper test.  This method has been obsolete for about 20 years, and even the industry itself does not regard it as being accurate.  The method in this study is at least remotely similar to the process used by running retailers. 

    Incidentaly, there are a few military studies that link arch height to injury rates. 

  • A 300 person study revealed that injury rates increased by assigning 100 people stability shoes, another 100 people assigned motion control shoes experienced higher rates of injury shoes than the 100 assigned stability shoes. 100 people assigned neutral shoes experienced the least amount of injuries. Could it be that neutral shoes should be assigned in order to minimise injuries, promote natural foot movement and to provide adequate cushioning for protection. When shoes shift more towards protection and correction there is an increase rate of injuries.

    Choosing a running shoe based on your foot type does not reduce your risk of injury. If you have flat feet or are an overpronator, it is unlikely a motion-control shoe will reduce your injury risk.

    Why does pronation control or modification not change running injuries? This is likely due to the fact pronation is a normal motion that helps with shock absorption. The muscles, tendons and ligaments of our foot are designed to withstand the forces of running. As such, preventing the naturally occurring motion from occurring with a rigid shoe may be counterproductive. Based on these newer scientific studies it appears making your running shoe decision based on comfort and how the shoe feels is more appropriate than choosing a shoe based on your foot type. Fortunately, we are learning that other factors such as weakness of the outside hip muscles and the foot strike pattern (heel strike versus mid foot) can increase injury rates and can be easily addressed.

  • Flob wrote (see)
    The wet foot/foot shape test was what was used at Fort drum too, in all of the Studies conducted there. And they did not state that the shoe allocation reduced
    Injuries, they stated that injuries went down during the time of the study and that only 11% of those studies actually wore shoes as recommended by those running the study so I have not cherry picked anything. The other interesting thing is that each time they had Physios involved, the number of injuries that prevented running went up, insinuating that the physios did more harm than good. A bit like the shoe allocation.
    I could not sell anything I do not believe is good for the buyer- so I will never sell running shoes. As you're a believer it is a good choice for you.

    You are wrong on two key points here.

    1. The Fort Drum study did not use the wet footprint test, they also looked at the range of movement of the ankle, which is the key factor which cannot be determined using the wet footprint test.  We therefore have to consider their methodology to be more in line with the type of gait analysis offered by most retailers, than that employed in the 2011 test.

    2. They study does not state that only 11% of the sample used the shoes recommended, it states that of those who replaced their shoes over a period of the study, only 11% replaced them with the recommended shoe. Given that the study took place over a period of a number of years, this is hardly surprising.  I have to think that the same problem was probably also a factor in the 2011 test.

    This study is not a knockout blow for the running industry for the reasons stated by the authors, but it is better than the 2011 study, and might just be the best study we have. 

    Either way, your previous position was that there are no studies validating gait analysis, not that there was a study and that you disagree with its conclusions. You are also being a bit naughty by trying to misrepresent the conclusions of the study. I had actually thought better of you than that.

    If you are going to continue to argue that there are no studies that uphold the idea of pronation causing injury, then this study is only the start of your problems, because there are plenty of those floating around.

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