Zumba? Running? Working out? – Have you got the right shoes?

Do you have the right shoe?

The consequences of wearing an unsuitable shoe can be disastrous. Your contact with the ground will set in motion a whole chain of events from the foot through the ankle, the knee, the hip, the pelvis and the spine. At best the wrong footwear will limit your performance but it has the potential to cause serious and long-standing injury. Choose your shoes with care.

Just like there are car tyres for the winter, tyres for the summer, all season tyres, sports tyres, comfort tyres and all-purpose tyres there are also different shoe types constructed for different types of feet, exercise and ground conditions.

Thick soft soles, like running shoes, are not good for aerobics and dance type exercise classes for the same reason as big soft tyres are rubbish at going fast around corners. Lots of comfort but little stability. Reserve these for running.

Equally sports tyres are best suited to going fast on smooth winding roads but hit a bump or a pothole and you are going to know about it. So, again, the same principles apply – a lower profile, less cushioned but more stable shoe for quick changes of direction. Excellent shoes for Zumba, vigorous aerobics and fast paced exercise classes.

Then there are the cross trainers, which are OK for most things but will not cope with extremes. They will do for working out in the gym, short runs and short medium paced exercise classes.

Within these three different types of shoes there are subgroups. The running shoe seems to be causing the most problems, so I will cover that in more detail.

If you plan to do ANY regular running, long or short distance I recommend that you visit your local running shop where they should have staff trained to analyse your stride. On the basis of the analysis a shoe recommendation can be made. The variables in a shoe include the last shape, the last construction, the heel counter, the degree of anti-pronation support and the shock absorbing/stabilising properties of the mid sole. So you can see that there is far more to selecting the right shoe than choosing the colour and how it feels when walking around in the sports shop for 30 seconds.

How long does a running shoe last?

You may be surprised to know that 25 percent of the shock absorbing is likely to be lost within first 50 miles and a third is lost by the time the shoe reaches 150 miles. So running as little as 5 miles twice a week will require you to change your shoes 3 to 4 times per year! Another warning – don’t get tempted to buy a two year old model, buy in bulk or start running in old but little used shoes as the material used for the shock absorbing soles degrades with time as well as with use.

It is also important that you get a shoe that fits your foot, so get some decent running socks (also available from the running shop) and buy the shoes afterwards.

Having talked about shoes I should also mention that it is not always the shoes’ fault. Often people carry injuries or a poorly functioning spine and joints into exercise. Therefore our recommendation would be to get yourself checked out by either Ian or myselfone of our chiropractors before committing yourself to a new exercise regime. It could save you a lot of grief, minimise the risk of injury and stop you throwing money at an expensive gym membership you can’t use because you have hurt yourself.

Give us a call any weekday between 8.30am and 7pm for more information or to book an appointment.

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