Q&A With Brian
Hi Brian, I love using my treadmill but sometimes my runners feel too heavy on my feet. Are there are particular types (or brands) of runners which are optimal for use on a treadmill? Thanks, Paul - Canning Vale (WA).
Thanks for your question. I think it’s important when choosing a type of running shoe you make sure the colour you select is in fashion. Bright colours like pink, purple and canary yellow are all the rage at the minute, so I wouldn’t be afraid to make a statement. Please excuse me Paul, I’m kidding with the above of course. The colour of your shoe makes no difference to the functional quality of the shoe. I’m old enough to remember when the bright colours of today were fashionable previously some 20 years ago!
To determine what type of shoe you should wear, you need to know what type of foot you have. Now you can either seek out professional advice to determine this, or another and equally effective way, is to examine your footprint by either running in the sand or on paper with wet feet.
I spoke to a Podiatrist friend of mine (thanks Nicola) and she came up with the following recommendations for us. This will allow us to examine our footprints and determine what type of foot we have, and subsequently, what type of running shoe to buy.
Basically there are 3 different types of feet.
1. Flat Feet
If you're looking at your foot, you'll know you have flat feet if you don't see any arch. The bottom of your foot, from your toes to your heel, is completely flat. If you do the footprint test, your print will look like a foot-shaped blob. You won't see an inward curve from your big toe to your heel.
Problem? If you're flat-footed, you're most likely an overpronator, which means that your feet roll inward when you run.
What to Buy: You will probably need a running shoe that maintains your stability. Look for the words "motion control" and "stability" on the box of running shoes you are considering. In addition to motion-control shoes, some flat-footed runners also need to wear orthotics (custom-made shoe inserts that correct foot issues).
2. High-arched Feet
You should be able to easily determine if you have high arches -- you'll notice a high and definite arch on your foot. If you do the footprint test, your print will curve inward, making the middle part of your foot look very skinny. When you push your hand against the bottom of your foot, your arch will stay rigid.
Problem? If you have high arches, you probably supinate or underpronate, which means your feet roll outwards as you run. It's very important that runners with high arches periodically re-measure their feet because running will cause their arches to gradually fall, making their feet longer.
What to Buy: You need to look for flexible running shoes with a soft midsole that absorbs shock. When buying running shoes, look for options with the words "flexible" or "cushioned" included in their descriptions.
3. Neutral or Normal Feet
If you've examined your foot or your footprint and it doesn't look flat-footed or high-arched, you most likely have a neutral or normal foot. Your footprint will have a noticeable curve inward, but not by more than 3/4 of an inch.
Problem? As long as you pick a running shoe that doesn't counteract your foot type, you shouldn't encounter any problems. This is the most common type of foot, and it's also the least susceptible to injury provided it's outfitted with proper footwear.
What to Buy: If you have normal feet, you can choose from a wide variety of running shoes, including ones made for neutral runners or those with slightly flat-footed or high-arched feet. Don't pick running shoes that have a lot of stability or motion control.
In short, I’d firstly examine your foot, and ensure your present shoes are appropriate for the type of foot you have. If correction is required, you may find the new running shoes feel lighter as they are better suited to your foot strike and running pattern.