Gait Assessment – The Search For New Running Shoes

gaitDespite my previous post being a little cynical towards gait analysis, I was given a little push by fate to maybe reconsider my preconceptions. After a 4 mile run, I was suddenly crippled with a pain on the outside of my left knee, which left me hobbling for a few days.

As I shuffled past the Up & Running shop in Birmingham, there was a poster advertising “Free Gait Assessment and Physio Advice” so after nearly a year of running, it seemed like I was experiencing a push in the direction of some good old fashioned professional advice.

After my old school wet feet test revealed that I am a “normal pronator”, I was interested to see what the latest technology would say about my running style and confirm exactly what shoes I should be running in.

I hopped onto the treadmill for the first time in my life, and it felt quite strange as I have only ever run in the great outdoors. After only a few minutes I was shown my running style on camera and it appears that I am a “neutral runner” which should make life quite easy when choosing new shoes.

Typically the store would charge for the use of the gait analysis service if you do not purchase a pair of shoes from them, so I was glad that I visited on their open day because £115 for a pair is a little out of my price range.

There is a balance to be made here and I think it is important to use a little common sense, it’s sensible to get your gait checked to determine how you run and what shoes you should run in.The wrong running shoes can cause your joints to take too much impact, as shocks reverberate from the ground upwards to your knees and shins, harming your joints, back and neck. There is no one ‘great running shoe’ and what works for a friend may not work for you.

So to obtain professional advice is a sensible option and worth paying for, however to then automatically pay £115 for a pair of shoes that are only £55 online seems madness to this frugal runner. A friend of mine pointed out that if you do not purchase from your local store, then they will close and that advice will disappear from the high street forever but I dispute this.

Feel free to charge for the gait service, this is just as important as an eye test and would happily pay £10-20 for this one off service, but if your shoes are 50% more expensive then people will shop elsewhere and you need to examine your business model.

Panorama The Truth About Sports Products is essential viewing for anyone that gets suckered into buying what the marketing companies tell you to buy and will certainly make you question what we have all been told over the years.

After the stories of expensive running shoes with big heels actually being bad for you, I am interested in the Saucony Triumph 9 which has a new reduced 8mm heel drop but although they are £115 in store, they can be found for only £50 online.

Once again though, it is important to use your head a little and not get carried away with the science of shoes because ultimately it’s your running form, the amount of mileage and intensity of your training are the two biggest factors that determine if you will stay healthy or come down with a running related injury.

So my best advice to anyone reading this, is to simply find out exactly what kind of running style you are and take this information to help you find the best shoes for you, but most of all, use your common sense before making an informed purchase.

One comment

  1. Small point in the interest of sound mathematics.. £115 over £50 shoe cost is more than 100% more expensive. (Even worse)

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