We at University Foot and Ankle Institute are often asked for suggestions on the best running shoes. Our latest question came from a runner in Pennsylvania who asked:
I have flat feet and under-pronation. I run an average of 30 miles per week. What running shoes would you suggest?
Hi, good question, thanks for this one. I’d be happy to answer any questions about running shoes. As a competitive runner in high school and college, I have always had a passion for running, treating running related injuries and helping patients prevent injuries in the future. My background in running shoes stems from my history of running and experience working at running specialty stores. With that, I have been fortunate enough to teach classes at podiatry school regarding running shoes and preventative running injuries.
A lot of people have questions about the outside of their shoes wearing out, which seems counter-intuitive to having a flat foot (your foot rolling inward). It happens for two main reasons. First, that is where our heels strike the ground normally. Even in “normal” feet the foot lands on the outside of the heel and then rolls inward (pronates). The second reason is most people with a flat foot have a tightness in the calf muscle. When the calf is tight, the ankle can’t bend as much. In order to compensate during normal motion, the foot will twist outwards. It is this outward twist that can cause additional wear to the heel of the shoe.
The Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet
What people with flat foot need to look for in shoes is stability or motion control, not to be confused with arch support. No running shoes have “arch support”. Up to this point, they are all flat inside so they don’t contour the arch. You will need an orthotic to provide true support to the arch. Motion control shoes tend to be the most stable shoes and the majority of people don’t need this much support. Stability shoes have a wider range of support, however and it can take some trial and error to find the perfect amount of support.
The Asics Gel 5 are a neutral shoe. If you have flat feet and are having problems with your knees, ankles, etc., then you will most likely require some additional level of support and want to look for a stability shoe. The tricky part is every running shoe company makes a stability shoe. The best way to find the right shoe is to have a face to face evaluation by an expert in those shoes.
Finding a Good Running Shoe Store
If you are living in Wilkes-Barre, PA, a very good running shoe store is Scranton Running Company. They will be able to evaluate you for the proper shoe. Always remember a shoe should feel comfortable when you try them on. Don’t expect them to break in to finally become comfortable. If they aren’t comfortable when you try them on, find a different shoe that is comfortable.
For those of our readers that live in the Southern California area, there are many great stores specifically catered towards runners and getting them fitted into proper running shoes. Some of the more popular specialty stores that are recommended to our patients in the SoCal area are Runners Lane located in Santa Clarita and Palmdale. Front Runners is another great running specific store in the area. They also have stores located in Brentwood and West Hollywood. Both of these provide gait analysis, arch assessment and years of expertise in running and fitting running shoes.
One Final Running Tip
Another good tip for people that are active in running, or trying to get into running, is that most running specialty stores offer weekly running groups. This is a good way to meet other runners in your area and make running a fun, social exercise. Running in groups can help as a good form motivation and allow similar runners to push each other into reaching their personal goals.
If you have any questions regarding flat feet and the best running shoe options, we encourage a consult with one of our foot and ankle specialists; (877) 877-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.
As an avid athlete, Dr. Morris developed a special interest in preventative medicine and treatment of sports related injuries. He also has extensive experience in foot and ankle trauma, reconstructive surgery and arthroscopy. In addition, Dr. Morris currently works as a consultant for several companies specializing in joint implants for feet and ankles.
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