Who are supportive shoes for and how to ensure the right choice of shoes?

right choice of shoes


The Bieganie. editorial team had the opportunity to participate in the premiere and test the new ASICS GEL-KAYANO 30 model, which was created with high stability in mind, especially for people with overpronation. The result is to provide the runner with a high level of support and the greatest comfort during the run. We talked to physiotherapist Łukasz Kłos about how important it is to choose the right shoe, especially for supinators and pronators, and how to determine which shoes are right for us.

Jakub Jelonek: What should runners consider when choosing footwear?

Łukasz Kłos: The main thing runners should pay attention to is what type of terrain they run on most often and what type of foot they have. It is important whether they will mainly run on asphalt or on uneven paths. Then you need to choose either asphalt or trail shoes. These are such basic things. We also need to pay attention to whether they are supposed to be training shoes or maybe more racing shoes. And then we can wear different shoes for training and different ones for the start. The runner’s weight and running experience are also important.

What will determine whether we should replace our footwear with new ones?

There are no rules here because everyone will wear shoes differently. Depending on the mileage or what training will be done in these shoes or the parameters of use, it may also have an impact. If we see and feel that the shoe no longer stabilizes our foot or the cushioning sensation is weaker, it means that it is time for a new pair. You can also follow the simple mileage rule. Individual manufacturers recommend how many kilometers you can run in a given shoe. I think you can run for 700 to 900 km in one pair, but then you have to replace them. A change should be made every season – new season – new shoes.

Some shoes are designed for a specific group of runners, providing appropriate support. What does this type of footwear selection involve?

Even though each of us has the same anatomical structure of the foot, there may be individual differences that affect the arches of the foot, the stability of the ankle joint, and the shape of the foot. We then talk about the type of foot of a given runner. A commonly accepted division is to divide runners into those who have a neutral foot, those who tend to overpronate (colloquially pronators), and those who tend to supinate (supinators). While a neutral foot does not need many amenities apart from cushioning, a runner with overpronation needs shoes that will control excessive inward movements of the foot. If the foot cannot cope on its own and the muscles are not efficient, shoes with support fulfill this task.

And how can we determine whether someone needs such footwear?

In many cases, the problem with overpronation is visible to the naked eye, as it manifests itself in the foot sinking inwards when the foot is fully loaded. A runner who has a problem with this will have his or her shoes characteristically “curve” inwards, which contributes to many overloads and injuries. Additionally, to accurately assess whether someone needs supportive shoes or not, functional tests and a running assessment (e.g. on a treadmill) are carried out by a physiotherapist or an appropriately qualified specialist in a shoe store

It happens that the problem of overpronation occurs when muscles are tired and it is difficult to notice it when the runner is rested. We can then talk about fatigue overpronation. If you see these characteristic symptoms of overpronation, you will definitely need supportive shoes. In my opinion, neutral-footed runners who are recovering from an injury or for recovery runs may also need supportive shoes. I personally give such recommendations in my office.

What injuries can we get due to the wrong choice of footwear?

These may be injuries to the entire lower limb, but mainly to the ankle or knee joint. Looking from below, focusing on this lack of stability may result in overloading the muscles that stabilize the foot and control pronation. Then we think about emerging problems in the calf area (stiffness), foot, tibialis posterior muscle problems, finger flexors, hallux flexors, or the broadly understood Shin Splint problem. If the longitudinal arch (sometimes also the transverse arch) is strongly flattened and we do not provide good cushioning, high mileage may also result in fatigue fractures in the foot or chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia. These are such key things when it comes to lack of stability. Other problems may include injuries of the Achilles tendon, which is also due to poor stabilization, incorrect heel positioning, iliotibial band syndrome, and problems with the patellofemoral joint. There may also be problems with the actual ligament of the patella resulting from a disorder of the thigh/shin axis, a shooting external hip or inflammation of the supratrochanteric bursa. Often, when the knee is valgus and the foot drops, various overloads occur within the ligamentous apparatus of the knee joint. Poorly selected footwear and inadequate cushioning may also cause problems in the lumbar spine.

Can too much cushioning and a carbon insole be harmful to someone who is not prepared for such shoes?

More and more new cushioning and energy recovery technologies are being invented to help runners improve their performance, improve comfort while running, and ensure safety. However, it sometimes happens that certain technologies disturb us or even harm us. Cushioning must be matched to the type of foot or weight of the runner, and too much and poorly selected may negatively affect the foot’s function and stabilization. As a consequence, this may lead to a lack of running economy or injuries. Shoes with a carbon insert are a completely different league of shoes. This technology offers powerful opportunities to improve results, running speed, and movement economy, but it is not a good choice for beginner runners whose musculoskeletal system is not prepared, for example in terms of muscles. Carbon shoes are usually racing shoes that are very demanding, less cushioned, and less stable. They are usually dedicated to lighter, experienced runners with very good running techniques.

An unprepared runner (read: a beginner) can quickly get injured when using such shoes, cause a lot of discomfort, and quickly destroy such shoes.

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