Gait analysis - how important is it to you?

I've a mate who's got a running shop.  It's pretty small, and his treadmill for gait analysis is at the front of the shop, in his prime selling area. I'm not sure it should be there, because a lot of people  might be self-conscious about using it in full public view.  But he argues that it gives the shop an air of professionalism... shows it to be a serious running shop.

Any thoughts?

1/ Is gait analysis even essential? ( I think it probably is)

2/ Thinking of people in general - including beginners, who might be overweight - and including serious runners who probably change their shoes most often.... where would you place the treadmill... at front of house, or hidden away?

Cheers for your thoughts.


  • I think gait analysis is the bunkum that it has been shown to be. A waste of time, money and effort.

    I prefer to run in more minimal footwear. I have had nothing but problems from the shoes that I was advised to run in through gait analysis.

    I really don't care where the treadmill is placed, running on a treadmill does not necessarily simulate the way we run on the road. I would not have gait analysis done again.

    Quick search and I can't find the articles that I want. Nevermind, in a nutshell the show that wearing different footwear according to gait doesn't effect incidence of injury, or severity or time to recovery. Then main factors being newness to running and strangely, buying more expensive running footwear. They're just the highlights that I remember.

    The concensus appears to be - wear what works for you.

  • I would say gait analysis can be very useful, but certainly not in terms of which shoes to choose.  He's probably in the position where he needs to show how he adds value over cheaper (online) competitors and that's how he is forced to do it - even if it's all a bit of a fraud.

    Who does the gait analysis in his shop (only him, or part time staff as well) and how were they trained?


  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Gait analysis! more like gate anal ysis as in gate to a bankrupt farm. Not worth a shit!

  • The treadmill visible from the window immediately sets the shop apart from the other shops on the high street where running shoes / trainers could be bought. Customers don't need to face the window and we have never found that customers have had a problem with it.

    Gait analysis is useful and we find the results are reliable and our customers are very happy (we ask them with surveys etc.) But the simple opportunity to test shoes out is unique and is essential for your mate to compete in a challenging market.

    Value added services like a gait analysis, a treadmill and a decent post-sales support service are important to make points of difference from the likes of Sports Direct, JD and even the department stores like John Lewis who sell running stuff.

  • Running on a treadmill is so different to running outdoors on paths or trails that it isn't really 'gait analysis' at all...   the opportunity for someone to try on their new shoes in the shop and compare one with another is the sales pitch...  not some kind of 'analysis'.  

  • Ja5onWJa5onW ✭✭✭
    Gait analysis= waste of time for most people

    never had my gait checked just walked in the shop said "which ones for me mate? He made me do a squat and then said I'm neutral, and there you go, the rest is history.

    Didn't feel like I'd been violated or taken for a mug, walked out with my ASICS smiling image haven't had an injury yet (touching wood)
  • 'Gait analysis' in itself seems pretty much complete garbage . Might aswell say you offer reflexology, or homeopathy based shoe selection - same amount of emperical evidence to support it.  
    But I imagine it will get the punters in as they think it's added value.
    Wouldn't put it front of house though, for the reasons you've mentioned.

  • I think it's rubbish in terms of injury prevention but trying shoes on a treadmill for fit and comfort, why not?
  • Christopher McDougall's bestseller, Born to Run, and that Panarama program, The Truth about Sports Products both gave the training shoe industry a slating.

    From an anecdotal point of view, when I joined the army in 1986 we were issued with 'slaps' (daps) and boots, and we ran all our miles in those.  I do remember a few lads shouting, "It's ma shins, Corporal, ma shins", but a good shouting at seemed to cure them.

    I personally think running form is more important than gait analysed training shoes and I think over time the perception that we need expensive gait analysed and over-engineered training shoes to run injury free will decline, because it simply isn't true.

  • Without a gait analysis at Running School one year ago I would still be riddled with injuries. Now I run barefoot with very good technique and no injuries. Over the course of the year I have been off for 2.5 weeks and all of it with a severe calf cramp which has damaged the muscle. I still go and work with this coach fortnightly as he sets me a schedule and we work on speed and leg strength and balance. I do still pay for this service but I find it invaluable, I have my gait analysed in detail at every session. I don't believe in a gait analysis in running shops, the people there just have not got indepth knowledge and training.

  • I think gait analysis has its place alongside the expertise of the staff -- the one time I had it I explained what I wanted, the shape of my feet, and my problem (weak ankle not adequately supported in my old shoes, it felt like) and the first pair of shoes I was handed fitted perfectly. Went on the treadmill and they felt fine and looked perfect watching the video. Asked to try various other (cheaper!) shoes for comparison, got back on the treadmill, and could very clearly see my left ankle turning over as I ran. So clearly the guy who picked out the shoes knew what he was doing in the first place, but it was really useful for me to see what I do when running in different shoes and for him to explain it to me.

    This was in a 'serious' running shop where the treadmill was (partially) visible from the window. That didn't particularly put me off and I'd gone there because I knew they did it. So I'd say your mate is probably right. But I would add that when I was a less experienced runner I wouldn't have gone for gait analysis at all because I'd have thought it was only for 'proper' runners and they'd think I was a fraud!

  • When I started running I entered a race that was way over my head. When training I was having weeks off as I had an injury strating in my ankle then moving to 'runners knee'. Basically I over pronate. I had no idea what I was doing. I went to Runners Need and got gait analysis and suddenly my months of injury dissapeared. The second time when the fabled first pair were knackered I went back to a different place (same chain) and got different shoes that don't sit quite as well so next time I'm going back to the original pair which are now much cheaper being a bit further in time! As to the rest of the comments saying gait analysis is rubbish I 100% disagree. For neutral runners it's fine to just go and pick any old shoe but for the over pronators it's invaluable if only to point you in the right direction and avoid serious long term injury. After that you don't need it and I would agree it's a bit expensive. God forbid paying the new Oxford St Asics shop £200 for an analysis without even getting some shoes!

    Anyway, the original question still stands. I agree with your mate that it adds a bit of professionalism and differentiates from JD (although that's not hard). For serious runners they're unlikely to bother with the analysis as they probably go back to the same shoe most times and even if they do use the service they won't give a crap about who's looking at them from out side. For the new runner who will be self conscious of their form could the treadmill be turned sideways to face a motivation poster/video to avoid seeing other people and feeling embarrassed? Maybe the window itself could be frosted to mask the view of people in that situation a bit?

  • Thanks for your input (so far!).   It seems pretty clear that having a treadmill is a good thing, even though it takes up a lot of precious space.

    There's the argument about where to put it.  'Highly visible' is good advertising but, like the post above, I suspect the bulk of users are relative newbies - who might be more self conscious.  It's really useful to have a running shop comment that people don't have a problem with it though. 

    I don't know the level of gait analysis training that he and his staff have had - I don't suppose there's a ready-made school you can go to! I was a bit loose with my description of him as 'a mate'. He's more like a 'good' acquaintance, and I'll be seeing him next weekend - so I'll ask him. (Probably best not to identify the shop, but he's not in Wales, in case people are trying to guess!)

  • I didn't address the anti-gait analysis issue that was raised. It's really interesting...and I'm sure it's one that a running shop has got to be aware of when marketing to the public.  I know he does sell some minimalist shoes too.

    Personally,  I really don't agree that the supportive/cushioned running shoe industry is a con, as T.mouse and RicF seem to think. I'm quite sure that, just like any industry (including the minimalist shoe industry?) - the marketers are quite capable of marketing spin !!  But I think for every person who says "barefoot running solved all my injury problems"...  there is one (probably many more than one) who has been quietly delighted with the results of having gait analysis.  

    I suspect that, as with many things in life... if you go the 'unconventional' route.. and have a good experience, you tend to be more vocal about it.

    I've read around that subject. I know there is merit in both sides of the argument.  One thing I'll say about Panarama...  if that report had been 10 years ago, I wouldn't have doubted it.  But in the last few years, I've seen so many biased sensationalist bits of journalism from them, I don't see that programme as automatically objective on this type of commercial issue.

  • Indeed, the Panorama program was garbage. The people who say minimal shoes solve everything are talking garbage, and the people who say gait analysis is essential are talking garbage.
    Let's just have a bit of honesty about this - there is no simple answer and to claim otherwise is at best naive, but it does depress me a bit when time after time you see people posting on here that they've had a gait analyis done at a running shop and they've been diagnoised as an 'over-pronator' as if this is some sort of medical condition they're suffering from. 

    This (along with all the comments) pretty much sums up my views.

  • I would say a lot of gait analysis in shops is rubbish if the staff haven't been well trained. Identifying gait is not difficult, and yet you would be amazed how many people are clearly in the wrong shoes.

    However, I recently had my gait done at the physiotherapist, as part of a then-ongoing rehab program, and it was really interesting and useful. I've got a long-term shoulder injury which I didn't have when I was first assessed for shoes 12 years ago, which was not on a treadmill. The effect of the shoulder injury is that I am throwing my left arm across my body, and the effect of that was twisting my back and pronation on the opposite side of my body out, to the point where I do now need a mild stability shoe. We tested the effect by filming me in both the neutral and mild stability models of the same shoe, and despite there being very little difference between the shoes, there was clearly less flicking out of the foot with the stability version on. Interestingly, on the leg that pronates I have an ongoing history of straining my pereneus whilst running. Although the stability is only very mild, it has made a difference - I'm much more stable on that side, and haven't had any pereneal problems since having it done, despite increasing my mileage substantially during the summer to train for a half marathon, and I haven't had any sort of "use injury" since I had this done (I tore my calf, but that's another story).

  • The point is that running on a treadmill in shop to help select your shoes IS NOT gait analysis...   a lot of running shops describe it as that because it sounds good and its obviously a good thing to help people select their shoes, but actual gait analysis is far more complex...

  • dancing in spikes...  interesting story.  I've got one foot that overpronates a bit, and the other one doesn't.  The recommendation is to get a pair that add a bit stability... which is obviously not necessary on the 'good' foot.  I don't know if that's a problem.  But I don't have real injury problems.

    DTHAS... probably a fair point. Some shops will be better than others I guess. 

  • i started running in April. No one here has specialised running stores so it's just basically go in, buy a pair of shoes, run in them and see. i've only tried Nike's since that's all we're blessed with here. black toe nails and sometimes i have to have toe nails taken off. thinking of coming up to England for two days to get gait i've read this not so sure! help! advice pls? i love running and want to continue but toe nail problems and blisters are putting a damper on things...the size of the shoe isn't a problem... it happened when i increased my mileage and did a 17km competitively. i'm used to doing 17km and it's never happened but as soon as i ramped up my speed, off came the toe nails!

  • Jaclyn..   how do you know the size of the shoe isn't a problem..?


  • because my usual shoe size is 39. bought a pair of Volmeros 39 and were too small...this is how the toe problem started. i immediately had to have four toe nails removed. went to shoe store and tried on the air pegasus in 39, 40, 41. the best toe space i had was 41. this since my second and third toes are longer than my big toe. i have long narrow feet...rather than a 'wide' toe box wanted to look for something with a 'long' toe box. hence why need to get myself to England to find a good running store. anything in London. i've been running for a year now so i don't have experience with these things. my feet had settled with the Pegasus and all was fine but i had a competitive 17km and pushed it and then boom, problem!

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    A new Sweatshop has opened on Trump St in London they should be able to point you in the right direction. Then when you find a pair that works for you, stock up on as many pairs as you can afford.
  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    I once stocked up with some shoes that appeared to be ideal only to discover that the new ones were total rubbish. Nike Luna racers they were.  The first pair were great. The second pair were worn once for a training run and were binned. The third pair sit in a box gathering dust.

    Advice to Nike on shoe design. 'You can make the soles of shoes as soft and light as you like but the uppers must have some substance to them.

  • thanks millsy. what do you think of the Salomon and Saucony brands?

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    I wouldn't get to worried about any particular brands. If they fit you well then that's the ones for you.

    Was in a shop today and the Saucony ones all seemed very pricy.

    I have been running for 4 years everyone tells me something different have two toenails that go black all the time. Permanent toe pain.

    Bought a cheap pair of  Saucony ones off the shelf in the states on holiday this year without any help and first pair ever not to hurt my toes.

    I think that my other ones were too big and my foot must move causing the bruising.

    Jaclyn where abouts are you?

  • I'm in Gozo, Malta. a tinnnnnyyyy island below Sicily, in the Med. Europe. i had bought a pair of Volmero's in size 40 (as my other Nike's) but were too small and immediately had toe problems. i never ran in my other Nike's since before i used to do aerobics and the movement of the foot isn't the same. that's why i bought size 41's in the nike pegasus. they feel good on my feet but obviously something must be wrong! image

  • Dark Vader wrote (see)

    The point is that running on a treadmill in shop to help select your shoes IS NOT gait analysis...   a lot of running shops describe it as that because it sounds good and its obviously a good thing to help people select their shoes, but actual gait analysis is far more complex...

    Interesting, so what would constitute a proper gait analysis?

    Anyway, my twopence worth: when I first started running, I went out there with any old pair of trainers and came home every time with some sort of ache (this was before I was doing any kind of distance as well).  So I knocked it on the head for a while and took myself to Nike in Oxford Street where they tested me on a treadmill and recommended stability shoes.  Since then I had no problem for a good year.  I bought some Asics then I picked up a knee niggle.  Turns out that those Asics were actually intended for high arch feet, and weren't in fact proper stability shoes as the guy in Sports Direct said.  Now I do my own research when choosing shoes - staff in Sports shops do not always know their product(!)

    So I reckon getting some sort of anaylsis is important so you know you're wearing the right shoes for you.

  • staff in running shops tend to know whta they are talking about.......staff in sports direct are just shop assistants...Why on earth would you expect them to know about the difference in running shoes...........its like expecting all the staff in asdas to know the best ways to cook what ever you have chosen....................

    if you want specialist advice go to a specialist shop

  • In that case, they should've said so and not tried to advise me.image

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