Many runners may swear by wearing them, but what are neutral shoes?
The technical term is a variety of styles of running shoes that promise to be a panacea for speed, injury avoidance and comfort, and have been flooding the shoe industry for decades.
But does the type of running shoe you’re wearing actually change your performance or prevent injuries on the go? The best treadmill (Opens in a new tab)??If you ever had Gait analysis (Opens in a new tab) You may have heard a running clerk say that your stance is neutral, or that you are pronational or pronational. This allows you to determine the type of running shoe that recommends either a neutral pair or a pair with motion control and stability.
We talked to experts to find out if it’s a good idea to match your shoes to your running style, or if different types of shoes are just a marketing hype.
What are Neutral Shoes?
This is a difficult question to answer because all shoes have some sort of structure, but in the running world it is used by manufacturers to refer to shoes with minimal support.
Neutral shoes tend to be lighter because there is no additional technology to provide support. However, they have some cushioning, which tends to be primarily on the heel.
“The field is complex. There are few stable shoes. Even neutral shoes have a mechanical effect,” explains Ben Heller, an ultra-runner and sports engineer at the Advanced Well-Being Research Center at Sheffield Hallam University. increase.
What other types of shoes do you have?
Some retailers refer to motion control and stability shoes as two different types of footwear, but from an academic point of view, there is no difference. Both types of shoes try to change the movement of the foot when it hits the ground.
These shoes contain a high density foam in the midsole to prevent the foot from moving too much in a particular direction. Supinator shoes have dense foam on the edges of the shoes, and overpronator shoes are most favored near the big toe, inside the heel, and under the base of the toes. There is a tendency. However, the type of support and what it is called depends on the brand.
What is a pronation?
Pronational movement is a natural movement when the foot lands on the ground. To walk and run effectively, you need to do pronational exercise. Pronational movement is often described by shoe brands where the foot rolls inward when landing to absorb the impact. But it’s actually much more complicated.
Pronational motion is the movement of a triplane, which means that there are three axes of motion. These are subtalar abduction, dorsiflexion, and forefoot abduction. The foot is rotating about one vertical axis and two different horizontal axes at the same time. Basically, a lot of movement is happening.
The landing of the foot when walking or running varies from person to person, and because the anatomy is different, the person’s pronational movement is also different.
“I don’t know if there is too much pronational movement,” said Hannah Rice, an associate professor of biomechanics at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, arguing that different foot landing styles benefit. I am.
However, shoe brands and running shops are keen to label runners with a neutral or correct running style, or an over- or under-pronation style, also known as supination (see figure above). ..
For example, during gait analysis, a runner may be identified as an overpronator who requires shoes with a lot of support.
Do support shoes work?
This is where things get very muddy. Heller says there is no strong evidence that more support for shoes will prevent injuries.
“Traditionally, many people have caused running injuries above or below the pronational movement. Motion control shoes were meant to stop it, but the evidence they support is actually There wasn’t, “he says.
Rice agrees. “There is no evidence in reducing the risk of injury. If you are told that you need support shoes, you should not bring that advice on board. It is speculative and may not be evidence-based. If you find one that works, keep using it. Replace it with a model that is as similar as possible, “Rice advises.
But running-specialized podiatrist Mark Gallagher takes a more cautious view.
“One thing isn’t going to solve the problem. We need to see what the risk factors for runners are and what we can do to help. Footwear is part of that debate. “He says.learn How to do it right (Opens in a new tab) It also reduces the risk of injury.
The reason there is no clear answer to this is that the research is incomplete and often inconsistent. 2016 survey British Journal of Sports Medicine (Opens in a new tab) We found that overpronators wearing motion control shoes had a lower risk of injury.But a study published in the same year Sports Orthopedics and Traumatology (Opens in a new tab) We conclude that cushions do not prevent running-related injuries.
And while motion control shoes may reduce the risk of injuries associated with pronational movements, Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy (Opens in a new tab), The same study found that they did not affect the risk of other running-related injuries. One recommendation is that runners who are prone to Achilles tendon disorders, plantar fasciitis, exercise-related leg pain, and anterior knee pain should consider motion control shoes.
However, recent papers Frontier of sports and active living (Opens in a new tab) Clinicians and runners say they choose shoes based on “scientifically unsupported” ideas. They recommend footwear that is lightweight, comfortable and has minimal pronational movement control technology.
What type of shoes should I choose?
Unfortunately, the inadequate answer is that it can only be found by trial and error.
“There may be an answer to the question of which shoe is best for me, but there is no evidence of how to get that answer,” says Hannah Rice. “There are many reasons for injury and it varies greatly from person to person,” Heller adds.
A good starting point is comfort, but it doesn’t necessarily prevent injury. Similarly, motion control shoes should not expect to solve all injury problems on their own. Instead, it is much more effective to change shoes and wear different shoes before strength & conditioning, correct training load, running on different surfaces, EVA foam significantly deteriorates.
And if in doubt, stick to what you know. “If the model is working, why change it? Don’t introduce another variable if you don’t need it,” says Gallagher.
Their impact on the paradigm of running injuries and footwear design features and runner evaluation methods: Focused review to advance evidence-based practices for clinicians in running medicine (Opens in a new tab)
What are Neutral Shoes? Who do you need to run?
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