Athletic Shoes; The Right Fit for You

Pronation and Supination

Athletic Shoes; The Right Fit for You



When it comes to buying a pair of athletic shoes, it’s easy to go with the top selling brand or read about what others recommend based on their experience. However, what most people fail to understand is how everyone has different biomechanics and how critical it is to take the proper steps in finding a pair of athletic shoes that are the right fit for YOU and your foot type. Athletic shoes have a big impact on the amount of stress you will be putting on your bones and joints in your feet and ankles. That’s not to mention the potential role those joints of the lower limbs play in the loading environment of the knee joint and how they can be helpful or harmful in stages of OA depending on how much care you give to them.


The first step in finding the proper shoe for you is to have a gait analysis done. You want to be able to see if you have any biomechanical abnormalities. Your gait expert will check for things such as how much the foot pronates when going from heel strike to the ball of the foot. Pronation is the foots natural way of rolling inward toward the arch of the foot. Your gait expert may however detect that your foot overpronates which is excessive inward rolling of the foot. This is caused by a weak or extremely flexible subtalar joint and is sometimes described as flat feet. You may also be able to detect if you are an overpronator if the wear pattern on the bottom of your shoe is more on the medial side. Overpronators are subjected to injury because the excessive inward roll puts the whole body in a misalignment and increases the load on the foot and ankle joints when the foot strikes the ground. To decrease the chance of injury it is important that these patients get fitted for the proper shoe. Your gait expert may also detect that your foot supinates meaning when going from heel strike to ball of the foot, the foot rolls outward putting more impact on the outside of the arch rather than the inside. This individual is typically described as having high arches. You may also be able to detect if you are a supinator if the wear pattern on the bottom of your shoe is more toward the lateral side. Once these abnormalties are pointed out it is important to invest in a pair of athletic shoes accordingly.


Brooks, Asics, and Saucony are three of the top selling athletic shoes and are known for their cutting edge technology and continued advancements from year to year. Each of these companies studies the biomechanics of the body so that their products are exceptional and isolate them from their competitors. Within these three brands there are three categories of shoes; “neutral”,”” support,” and “walking”. Depending on how your arches fall and if you are an overpronator or supinator is the deciding factor on what shoes to try. Supportive shoes are for overpronators who have low arches. These shoes are built in with a ridged medial post that allows the arches to stay stable and helps them from collapsing and rolling medially. Neutral shoes are for supinators who have high arches to allow the arch the soft cushion support it needs to have a soft area to release. Walkers are for customers who need extra support and who do not do any activity besides walking. The medial post in this shoe is so rigid anyone trying to do any high impact activity would have a hard time doing so in these stiff shoes.


Within these categories there are three levels of shoes and this is where the price factor comes into play. You have your cheapest shoes which range anywhere from $69.99-$99.99. These shoes are built in with the least amount of arch support. This does not necessarily mean these are not quality shoes. These shoes are simply for individuals who may not need a huge amount of support. The next level of shoes range from $119.00-$129.99. These shoes have a normal amount of support and are certainly the most popular. The last level of shoes range from $149.99-$169.99. These have your greatest amount of support. It makes sense that the more expensive shoes would have more support considering there made with more integrative technology.


Brooks athletic shoes have what they call GuideRalis. This technology allows your hips, knees, and joints to move properly and the way your body normally should. They are said to act like bumpers in bowling, when your stride falls out of place these GuidRalis kick in and guide your stride back into place. The two cushioning systems imbedded into Brooks shoes are DNA Loft and DNA Amp. DNA Loft is a blend of ethylene-vinyl acetate, rubber, and air. This technology adapts right away to the individuals’ stride, weight, and speed. DNA Amp is a polyurethane based cushion that is responsible for the spring in your step and allows you to obtain the highest level of energy return.

Asics athletic shoes are conducted with a medial post made out of a material they call Duomax. This reduces stress on the foot caused by overpronation and intern reduces load on other parts of the body such as the hips and knees. The cushion technology in these shoes is called FluidRide which is a mix of Solyte material that keeps the shoe lightweight and SpEVA material that gives the shoe its bouncy property. The combination of these materials reduces the strain on all parts of the foot as well as absorbs shock with its outstanding rebound property.

Saucony athletic shoes are made with a cushion and support system they call EverRun. This is said to be three times more durable and three times less temperature sensitive than EVA (the material most shoes are made with) EveRrun is also known for its high sitting cushion putting it closer to your foot as well as giving you 83% more energy return.

Investing in the proper athletic shoes is valuble to the individuals’ body. It can prevent stress and injury to many parts of the body not limited to the foot and ankle elements. It is important to be conscious of all of your options for your foot type. You must try each pair on, make sure there is a thumb nail amount of room between your big toe and the end of the shoe, walk around in them on a hard surface, and finally make your decision. Follow those steps and you won’t be unsatisfied!



Brittany LaRussa Orthobiologics surgery and research coordinator

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