So the question is does changing shoes or getting the best shoes for running will improve your performance and decrease your aches and pains? Well maybe, but it has nothing to do with improvement in mechanics and decreased loads or any other explanation you have been told. According to research, shoes can provide the person with a more physiological boost in performance rather than mechanical advantage and or mechanical changes.
How to pick the right shoe? I always advise my clients on 2 things about shoes. The best shoe for you is the one that you feel the most comfortable with, shoes are personal preference and no one can recommend a specific shoe for you, so my advice is try several pairs of shoes and feel them as you run, there are stores that let you try shoes and help you pick the right one for you. One of my recommendations is don’t choose a running shoe that is too soft, softer shoes have shown to increase the stiffness of the leg tissues decreasing the natural spring like mechanism of the lower legs so the tissue will not be able to absorb and release forces, this will lead to an increase in stress in the tissues. Also make sure the shoes are not defective, screen for defects in the shoes, such as bad seams, weird shapes etc.
If it is not the shoe, what is it? Just because we think we can run it does not mean we can start running, even if you are a fit person. Running requires strength, technique and progressive training like any other sports specific movement. What should you do then?
So there you have it. If you follow this closely you will set yourself up for success and the last thing you will have to worry about to decreasing running injuries are the running shoes.
Johan Arango, PT.