When discussing running and shoes, don’t let a few fancy words scare you off. Its especially important to know some lingo before you shop for new shoes.
TYPES OF SUPPORT FOR SHOES
Neutral. Shoe that allows the body to go through its natural gait cycle.
Stability. Shoe that provides support along the medial (inside) part of the shoe. Recommended for people who bear too much weight along the medial part of the shoe during their natural gait cycle.
Motion Control. Shoe that provides the greatest level of medial support. Used for people with highly excessive weight bearing along the medial part of the shoe.
PARTS OF A SHOE
Last. The mold/form that the shoe is build around.
Toe Box. Part of the shoe where the forefoot and metatarsals are located.
Mid-Sole. Portion of the shoe where the support and cushioning technologies are used to provide overall performance of the shoe.
Support. The technology used to provide stability to the shoe. Differences affect the overall feel and performance of the shoe. The degree of support needed is based upon the natural gait cycle of the individual.
Medial Post. More rigid stability system placed along the medial (inside) portion of the shoe.
Cushioning. The technology used to allow the shoe to absorb impact. Differences in cushioning systems will affect the overall feel and performance of the shoe. For larger runners and walkers, higher cushioned shoes may increase the life of the shoe.
Upper. Material and structure of the upper portion of the shoe. Differences in the upper will affect breathability, water resistance, and fit.
Outsole. The bottom tread of the shoe. Affects the feel, performance, and life of the shoe based on the terrain.
Gait Cycle. Body movement as one foot makes contact with the ground, leaves contact with the ground, then reestablishes contact with the ground.
Pronation. The inward roll of the foot.
Supination. The outward roll of the foot.
Stance Phase. Phase of the gait cycle when the foot is in contact with the ground. There are three components to the Stance phase:
- Contact. Initial part of the Stance Phase where the foot makes initial contact with the ground. This is the cushioning phase of the gait cycle and typically begins with the outside heel coming in contact with the surface (this is why most people have excessive wear on the outside heel of their shoes). The foot immediately begins to pronate (roll in) until the forefoot comes in contact with the ground – which signals the end of the Contact Phase. This phase lasts for 25% of the Stance Phase.
- Mid-stance. Portion of the Stance Phase when the heel and forefoot are both in contact with the ground. This is the moment when the foot and leg provides a stable base for the body weight to pass over. Because the body weight is completely on one leg, the foot and lower leg are particularly susceptible to injury during the mid-stance. The foot should not pronate during the mid-stance phase. The mid-stance lasts for about 50% of the Stance Phase.
- Propulsion. Portion of the Stance Phase when the heel lifts, the big toe dorsi-flexes (bends upwards), the plantar fascia becomes rigid, the foot begins to supinate (roll outward), and the body is propelled forward (also referred to as “toe-off”).
Swing Phase. Phase of the gait cycle when the foot is completely off the ground.