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23 Feb 2004

Running shoes
Hi Doc

I am wanting to buy a new pair of running shoes. I have had shin splits quite recently. Any suggestions?

Answer 378 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Kay

There has been a lot of research on running shoes, but not too many questions answered, unfortunately. One thing that I can tell you is that there are plenty of gimmicks around, and shoe manufacturers always claim that a new product drastically reduces the risk of injury. The honest truth is that this is not really the case - a recent study of the 'motion control shoes' (which claim to reduce pronation and thereby prevent injury) showed that the shoes don't actually alter the biomechanics of the foot - in otherwords, the shoes don't change anything in your running technique. Of course, there are other studies that claim drastic improvements in running technique, but I'm not too sure of these - I'm a bit sceptical. One thing that I will vouch for is that the cushioning of the shoe is very important. The only study that has really found a change in biomechanics that I'm aware of showed that the cushioning is perhaps the most important variable in altering the impact or load. So, practically, I would advise you to look at a shoe that is reasonably supported - you get some shoes that are so minimalist that you get very little support, and anyone heavier than about 60kg and without perfect running technique is looking for trouble with shoes like this. So, my advice would be to get a relatively built up shoe, that is well cushioned and feels solid and comfortable on the foot.

Lastly, remember that the main factor predicting injury is not so much the shoe you wear as the training volume - most often, an injury occurs because the training volume has suddenly increased, and this is very likely to have been a cause for you, so if you do start training again, build up very very slowly.

Good luck
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