Over the years the concept of fitting running shoes has taken on many forms. Running shoe store employees across the United States typically will watch you run and then inform you of how much you either pronate or supinate, then recommend a running shoe based on their subjective visual analysis. Not only is this not a scientific approach but it is flawed. In order to determine whether or not you overpronate one would need sophisticated laboratory equipment found only in a gait analysis lab. In addition, current science has disproved a connection between overpronation and running injuries. Also, one would have to perform more tests to make sure the running shoe was not over or under correcting your pronation. This makes it impossible for a running shoe store employee to watch you run and determine how much support/stability you need or whether or not you overpronate.
At the San Diego Running Institute we use the latest science as well as our experience and common sense to help a runner choose the perfect shoe. Instead of a bunch of “smoke and mirrors” and pseudo-science assessment our employees fit you based on many variables.
This brief summary of a runners experience and their current goals helps us choose shoes that would be appropriate for each runner. Now we begin our measurement process. First we have the runner sitting with the hips, knees and ankles at a neutral 90 degrees. At this point we take a measurement called Navicular Drop.
Navicular Drop is a measurement that relates to foot flexibility and dynamic pronation. The height of the persons arch is measured sitting and then again standing. When standing your arches should flex and the Navicular Drop number should change. We subtract the number we measure while standing from the one taken while sitting. We now know your Navicular Drop number, how flexibile your foot is and how much you support you most likely need!
At this time we also have you stand on an arch analysis board to determine if you have a high arch, medium arch or low arch. The arch analysis board reads your arches perfectly and allows us to compare your arch height to your Navicular Drop. So you could have:
Just because your feet may be flat does not mean you overpronate. It is common to see runners with flat feet who run neutral (stiff foot with flat arches) and runners with high arches that overpronate (flexible foot with high arches)! The importance of this should not be underestimated. Running shoes are built with a couple of variables in mind;
It is important to understand that you would not put a 100 lb runner who runs 3-10 miles a week in the same shoe you would put a 200 lb. runner training for a marathon! All variables must be considered. Just because the 100 lb. runner and the 200 lb. runner both have low arches that are flexible does not mean they need the same amount of support. The lighter runner would not be able to compress the shoe we may recommend for the 200 lb. runner. Make sense?
We have also seen many experienced 200 lb. runners who run neutral and are “light on their feet”. They do very well in lighter weight running shoes whereas a less experienced larger runner may not. This is why experience and running efficiency are important.
Most important is that you are totally comfortable in your running shoes. After our analysis is done and we have recommended shoes for you the real fun begins. We will bring you multiple pairs of shoes to try from various companies. Saucony, Brooks, New balance, Asics, Mizuno and more. You get to lace em’ up and try them out either on our treadmills or outside in the parking area. We have you grade them until you are down to your two favorite pairs. Now you can put one on each foot and choose the one that is most comfortable.
Comfort is King at SDRI! Researchers have found that comfort can have a positive effect on performance (Read more about how multiple factors affects running shoe selection). Having the most comfortable running shoe is the most important decision a runner can make.
Now that you have chosen your shoes what else can we help you with? Do you need more info on area running clubs? Races? Need help understanding how to properly hydrate during long runs? Our employees will spend as much times as necessary to provide you with information to make you successful. We will not sell you crap you don’t need!
At San Diego Running Institute we pride ourselves on supplying runners with accurate information regarding anything running. Our store is staffed by Ultramarathon runners, Marathon Runners and Ironman athletes. We enjoy working with beginners and runners of all levels to ensure they have a great experience in our store and during their San Diego running adventures.