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Posts for category: Athletic Footwear

If you’re a runner you are probably familiar with the numerous types of insoles for your running shoes that claim to improve your performance and prevent injuries. You may have even experienced a shoe store associate launch into a sales pitch about how a certain insole will provide greater comfort, boost efficiency, and prevent injury while you are shopping for a new pair of shoes. While you are listening to this and looking at shoes you may be wondering, “if I am going to spend a hundred dollars or more on a new pair of shoes, do I really need to spend more on inserts?” The answer is maybe, everyone’s feet are created differently and everyone has a different running style so the benefits of a “universal insole” will be different for everyone.

One of the reasons often used for needing a pair of insoles is that your feet over-pronate when you run and the new insoles will prevent that. However, pronation is a natural part of the running stride and the degree to which a person is over-pronating is going to vary with each individual. Some running stores will have a basic gait analysis lab where someone will watch you run on a treadmill and then tell you your running stride style. Based on your running style the store associate may advise you to buy a pair of insoles to go with the new shoes you are going to get. Despite this however, you may want to hold off on getting those inserts and see how the shoe works for you without the inserts. You want to determine if shoe works with your running style on its own or if you need to add insoles to the shoe. If you are experiencing pain and discomfort during your runs then you may want to try a pair of insoles recommended based on your running style and see if they relieve your pain and discomfort during your run.

Research on the benefits of insoles is mixed. Some studies show that insoles decrease chronic running pain as well as stress forces on the foot. Other studies have found the opposite results and even indicate that insoles may actually promote the development of running injuries. So why are there such polar differences in the research on running insoles? Probably the biggest reason for the variability is due to the fact that people’s feet are different and their running styles are going to be different as well. For some people an insole will provide no benefits to their running performance. For others, an insole may provide the comfort and stability they need to improve their performance. If you have questions about running shoes or running insoles or would like more information about running shoes and insoles, please make an appointment with one of our podiatrists at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care located in Edison and Monroe, NJ.

By Nrupa Shah