Many runners may be wearing the wrong shoes for their particular stride or the right shoes that were chosen for the wrong reasons, according to a new scientific review about running shoes and injury risks.
The study helpfully concludes that there is a reliable, scientifically valid way for each of us to pick the right running shoes, but it’s so simple that most of us ignore it.
The connection between running shoes and running injuries is surprisingly controversial and, from a scientific standpoint, unsettled.
Most of us who run have heard that we should choose our shoes based, for the most part, on two broad technical criteria.
The first is whether and how much our foot pronates, or rolls inward as we land. Orthopedists, coaches and runners long have believed that over- or under-pronation contributes to the risk of running injuries and should be controlled using particular types of shoes.
More recently, impact force, or the pounding that we experience with each stride, has also been getting plenty of attention, especially in relation to barefoot running and the question of whether we should wear shoes at all. Some barefoot-running proponents claim that running without shoes or in minimal, slipper-like models somehow changes impacts and substantially reduces the risk for injuries.
But Benno Nigg, the lead author of the new review, and his colleagues were skeptical. An emeritus professor of kinesiology at the University of Calgary in Canada and one of the world’s foremost experts on biomechanics, Dr. Nigg wondered whether science really supports the idea that the right shoes can alter and fix someone’s running form and lessen injuries.
So for the new review, which was published last week in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr. Nigg