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Feet. How Much Do You Know About Yours?

Probably my biggest focus with runners across those that come in to see me across any given week is feet. It is a really hot topic and I think one that is in danger of disappearing up it's own arse there are so many views on it.

Given that, I thought I would add some observations from my side of the fence to finish off the week from a mechanics perspective.

I think the big question that you have to start with every time is, "do your feet cause you pain when you run?" If they don't, should you be messing about with orthotics and non neutral shoes. My answer is that it depends, but not necessarily.

Haile Gebrselassie is a much decorated professional runner with a great deal of laxity in his ankles. He heavily pronates. He wears no orthotics or non neutral shoe to counter balance this. Indeed when the good people at Nike tried to correct it in a shoe that they designed for him he ended up in hospital and needed operations on both feet as a result.

My next point to ponder is, should the average runner be buying or being sold Nike Vaporfly Next Percent running shoes at over £230 a pair? My answer again is that it depends, but again, not necessarily.

Changing your running shoes won't change your technique and it won't make you a better runner. I was at a biomechanics seminar recently where they stated that your run shoes have 0.0001% effect on your running.

If you want to become a better runner I would focus on developing better technique, better glute strength and creating better activation. End of.

Gait analysis in run shoe shops can be heavily flawed as a large percentage of them will only video or focus from the knee down. If you've done any work with me you will know that the arms change everything. If you get the arms recycling you will change the run pattern and you will see a marked difference in the footfall.

So my point is that not everyone needs orthotics or non neutral shoes, and yet what was a very small percentage of the population in orthotics 20 years ago is now 35-40% today purely because of industry marketing and social media.

With regard to children, the ages of 13-16 are huge ages for growth and throughout this period of time they grow every eight weeks. Would you buy them orthotics now knowing that?

So pain is key. If there is no pain regardless of whether you or they pronate or supinate, don’t wear corrections.

With regard to run shoes...

Do they fit?

Are they fit for purpose?

Are they comfortable?

Everything else is noise.

But what about if I do have foot pain and I pronate or supinate I hear you ask. Well, then for sure get your feet checked.

It may be that you are crossing over or overstriding in your run pattern, you may be displaying hip drop or you may have a glute activation timing issue. If so, is pronation or supination really the issue?

If you have genuine issues with your feet and are in the wrong shoes you will likely have had or will have when you get there if you haven't started running yet, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, an achilles injury of some level, a calf injury, and general foot and or ankle pain.

Your feet are important. They ground you on the earth. Please look after them.


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