Exploring running shoes: Whats inside?

In this day and age we have the technology to know what makes the body go! For hundreds of years we have been exploring the human body. However, over the past 60 years the medical and technological advancements have just been astounding. We now replace and transplant organs, scope or replace joints, or perform keyhole surgery from another country with the assistance of robotics. The scary thing is that one day these might be considered “simple” tasks.

Therefore it is no wonder that the sports products we most commonly use have also advanced. How? Today The Stride performs surgery on the most common piece of athletic equipment used worldwide, the running shoe.



When exploring the depths of this shoe and others of similar nature, the technology use is very clever. With force platforms and gait laboratories, leading shoe companies have transitioned to designing shoes around quantitative data. This data is extrapolated from the three phases of normal human running mechanics. The phases are:

  1. Engage Initial Contact:

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  • Heel strike as their foot first makes contact with the ground
  • This will be more on the outside of the foot
  1. Progress to Mid-Stance:

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  • Mid-Transition weight into the midfoot at various levels of force as the hip comes over the foot
  1. Move momentum forward via Propulsion:

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  • Transition onto the ball to push off in the direction of the big toe

Therefore to support these running patterns, leading shoe companies work tirelessly to meet those needs. This is with different types of footwear suitable for foot shapes, distances, and different densities and types of cushioning within each model. For instance companies can use variant degrees of cushioning in the shoes, based on the magnitude of force on the shoe at a particular point in the gait or running cycle (as mentioned above). For example softer foam or larger amounts of air pockets are often found around the heel, and specifically the lateral heel for initial ground contact, with the transition to denser foam or less air around the mid and medial foot to limit excessive pronation, or as some refer to as roll in.

Over the years the emphasis is always to improve and adapt to the environments in which people run, train and compete in. Therefore it should come as no surprise to see your favourite running shoe be modified and updated as the technology changes. However, as The Strides Sports Podiatrist Emma Poynton suggests:

“remember that no matter what shoe type or brand you buy, all will have a limited shelf life. This is because where we live and the surfaces in which we run on are often unforgiving and firm. Therefore it is very important to monitor the condition of your shoes, to replace them accordingly with guidance from a professional, and most importantly see if the shoe and the technological advancements in styles are meeting your biomechanical requirements”

Stride on!

Pic source = Andyman11: pixabay.com



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