Give your sneakers the boot


Is it hard for you to stay active because of pain or injuries? Whether your fitness program is just beginning or you’ve been at it for years, the last thing you need is to be sidelined by pain or injury. Selecting the right shoe can go a long way toward helping you stay active.  It’s important to know as much as you can about how your body moves to help you get the correct shoe for your fitness activity.

There are three common situations that occur when your foot strikes the ground during walking or running. 1) Your feet naturally roll inward, or pronate; 2)  you may under-pronate, problematic because pronation  helps absorb shock and, as a result, the impact is sustained by a smaller area of your foot, causing stress. 3) You may have normal arches, which require moderate amounts of cushion and stability.  This is known as being neutral.

Wearing shoes that don’t provide adequate support can lead to knee pain, leg pain, and injuries.  Here are some simple ways to determine how your foot strikes when you walk or run.

  • The wet test, or analyzing a wet footprint on a piece of paper, is a good method for selecting running shoes based on arch type.
  • Some athletic shoe stores offer gait analysis to determine what the best shoe is for you, based on your striking pattern.
  • Ask a friend to film you on a treadmill and look at your strike patterns and other mechanics when you walk or run.
  • Examine the soles of your old shoes. Shoes that sag inward indicate excessive pronation. An even pattern of wear points toward normal pronation.

Some fitness experts recommend barefoot walking or running or wearing minimalist shoes.  These are shoes that merely protect the foot from the elements without providing any cushion or stability, thereby mimicking barefoot walking or running.

This is not a good plan for everyone. If you have a flat or fallen arch, these shoes can contribute to knee problems.

Consider seeing a health care provider if  a change of shoe doesn’t solve your problem. Taking care of your feet, the foundation of your body, will help you prevent injury and stay active for a lifetime.

Andrea wants to live in a world where the neighborhoods are walkable, bike lanes are plentiful, and the food is fresh, delicious and readily available. A 20-year veteran of the health and wellness industry, she started her career in the fitness industry while earning a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, and then on to the burgeoning field of worksite wellness. Andrea has competed in collegiate level soccer, worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, wellness coach, and master trainer, climbed 14ers, and completed cycling centuries and metric centuries. All of these experiences give her the opportunity to view well-being from many different perspectives. When she’s not helping others to be their healthiest self, you can find her at a farm to table restaurant, down dogging at the yoga studio, or experiencing the Colorado landscape on a bicycle, snowshoes, cross country skis or on foot.