Coach’s Tip No. 1: Shoes

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There is not one shoe for everyone! As I have found over the years working with developing elite and college age athletes shoes are a matter of fit, preference, price, injuries and yes, style.

A sweet shoe

I found my “golden shoe” once in the stores of Fleet Feet Sports in Chico, Calif.: the Addidas Supernova Classic. I wore that shoe for 10 years until they discontinued the line. I never got injured wearing them. I could manage 400-500 miles per pair. They fit snug — but not too snug. They were the right price for a struggling college student. And they looked pretty on my feet.

Advice when shoe shopping

Remember to take these considerations into mind when picking up a pair of training shoes:

  • Go to a local running store and do a treadmill test to see if you need a shoe for pronation or supination (See below for an explanation.)
  • Don’t get a popular brand or style, just because they are popular or stylish.

Know how your shoe will affect you. You’ll be with them for a while!

— Brian Locher

About the coach

Brian Locher serves as the co-race director for the City to the Sea Half Marathon and 5K — a fundraiser for Cuesta’s running programs. He’s also the head coach for the Cuesta College cross country, and track and field teams. He joined Cuesta’s athletic department in 2007. Locher is from Northern California where he competed at Chico State University and was a member of several national-caliber cross country teams. He competes competitively for the Asics Aggies Running Club, a Northern California-based distance running group founded in 1976 by alumni of UC Davis, and coaches a number of developing, elite athletes.

How does your foot fall?

Normal Pronation
The outside part of the heel makes initial contact with the ground. The foot “rolls” inward about 15 percent, comes in complete contact with the ground, and can support your body weight without any problem. The rolling in of the foot optimally distributes the forces of impact. This movement is called “pronation,” and it’s critical to proper shock absorption. At the end of the gait cycle, you push off evenly from the front of the foot.

This occurs when the foot rolls inward more than the ideal 15 percent. This means the foot and ankle have problems stabilizing the body, and shock isn’t absorbed as efficiently. At the end of the gait cycle, the front of the foot pushes off the ground using mainly the big toe and second toe, which then must do all the work.

Again, the outside of the heel makes initial contact with the ground. But the inward movement of the foot occurs at less than 15 percent (i.e., there is less rolling in than for those with normal or flat feet). Consequently, forces of impact are concentrated on a smaller area of the foot (the outside part), and are not distributed as efficiently. In the push-off phase, most of the work is done by the smaller toes on the outside of the foot. This places extra stress on the foot and can result in iliotibial band syndrome of the knee, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis.

Source: Runner’s World

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