The Perfect Fit

Badly-fitting footwear can not only be painful…it can affect you in later life with stress-related damage to your knees and ankles, bunions on your toes that can necessitate surgery, and even arthritis in your joints.

When it comes to running shoes, the problem can be even more acute – research has revealed that as many as three quarters of men and women either wear ill-fitting trainers or choose footwear not specifically designed for the rigours of their sport.

Running can put such pressure on your joints it amounts to eight times your body weight forcing itself onto your lower limbs – taking its toll on tendons and ligaments as well as susceptible knees and ankles.

Leading manufacturers like Mizuno have conducted their own research into the biomechanics of running, discovering that there is a significant difference between men’s and women’s running gaits; and Saucony, who have long catered for differing arch types and running styles.

Amateur athletes who simply pull on a pair of trainers before setting out to pound the pavement or tackle the trail could be doing untold damage – both short- and long-term – to their bodies.

Every Step You Take

Every step you take could have an adverse effect if your footwear is not suitable or does not fit correctly.

One of the most common conditions for runners is known as over-pronation, where the arch of the foot flattens, causing joints to work at unnatural angles and ligaments to stretch uncomfortably.

If the outside of the heel and inside of the sole of your shoe shows excessive wear, you are an over-pronator, and risk damage to your big toe, ball of the foot, heel and shin – not to mention Archilles tendon and knees.

Underpronation is the term for insufficient roll of the foot after landing – excessive wear to the outside of the sole is an obvious indicator – and usually effects runners with high arches.

The solution for both running types is a shoe specifically designed with extra support to counter the problem, whether with built-in structures to align the calves and hamstrings, or in the form of forefoot cushioning and impact protection in the heel.

Today, the choice of running footwear has never been greater, and there is no excuse for not getting it right.

Simply seek expert advice before you buy, work out what is best for you and your running gait, and join the 25% of sportsmen and women who do wear the correct footwear for their chosen discipline.

Nicki Williams is a content writer for on-line specialists Gear-Zone, where you’ll find major running shoe brands Mizuno, Saucony and Asics, and outdoor footwear from Scarpa, Brasher, Merrell and Meindl

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