Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Articles on Foot Striking and Pronation Among Runners

New Articles on Foot Striking and Pronation Among Runners

I run in Brooks Adrenaline ASR 9 for my trail shoes, and Brooks GTS 13 for my road shoes. Both are solid shoes, with mild "support" built into the midsole. As Runner's World noted last year, "A classic stability shoe, the GTS 13 sports a medial post that gets progressively firmer toward the inside edge of the shoe and other features that help slow the inward roll of the foot." However, the trend for a lot of people is to either go totally minimal with zero drop shoes, or to go big with some Hokas. I've yet to try either type, simply because I can't figure out if the whole "support" thing is bogus or not. I've read many arguments (written mostly by minimal adopters) about how a forefoot strike pattern and minimal style running biomechanics are the most efficient, and there has been some science to back these arguments up (forefoot striking and lumbar spine range of motion; barefoot running and ground forces; barefoot running and lower extremity movement; meta analysis on barefoot running; barefoot running and running economy). However, none of these articles/studies ever address the whole "support" issue in terms of forefoot striking, minimal shoes, etc. Can I, as a supposed mild pronator adopt this strike pattern, these minimal shoes? As I've been learning to run, I've been very focused on my form and foot strike pattern, constantly working to land fore-mid foot directly under my center of gravity, with a slight lean from the ankles up (as discussed in this video and others by Sage). This I believe has paid off, but I'm still wondering about whether or not I can adopt an even more minimal shoe to help with this (such as a zero drop shoe).

Well, to add confusion to the whole thing, a couple new articles have just been published that 1) say pronation is not necessarily linked to injury risk; 2) wedged insoles can work for those needing support - up to 30 minutes at least; and 3) forefoot striking is better for knee injury prevention, but may lead to more ankle and foot injuries. I find these article interesting for someone in my situation as initially zero drop and minimal shoes had no support version - they were all made the same. Recently, however, zero drop and minimal shoes have begun to include some form of support for those looking to try out this type of shoe but who also want a little something for their pronation. Altra shoes, for example, have begun using a wedged insole in their support model shoes. As the article noted above suggests, this may be a workable alternative, although I have yet to try the shoes out (or even on).

I don't really have a point, other then I am interested in trying out a more zero drop shoe to go along with my form work. However, I have been hesitant because I don't want to cause an unnecessary injury by simply adopting a new shoe type. It is exciting to see the minimal come back a bit to the old school style with the inclusion of support versions. The science seems to continue to back up the importance of foot strike position on running efficiency, and zero drop shoes seem to be the way to go when working on that. Is it time to invest in some Altras or other shoes? Thoughts?

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