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Gait Analysis, Shoes, and the midfoot strike

MCAP2011-02-23 14:39:19 +0000 #1
I've started reading Chi Running at the recommendation of several people on my last thread. I'm only about 1/3 of the way through the book, but so far I like what I'm reading and it totally makes sense.

I've had two separate intense gait analysis sessions over the years. Both told me that I'm a severe overpronater and put me in stability shoes (Brooks Ariel and Brooks something else, addiction?). When I first started with the stability shoes it did make a big difference. Now, not so much. I still get shin and knee pain after short distances. I was thinking that perhaps I needed a new gait analysis and some new shows.

I was in Phoenix over Thanksgiving and went on a run/walk on Friday. My shins and knees were hurting as usual at the start. On the run I tried to really concentrate on using a midfoot strike. I felt like I was running on my toes at first, but after a bit it felt really good. If I went back to a few strides of my normal heel strike it felt so awkward. I think I may be on to something. My shins and knees were not hurting by the end. I walked about 1 mile then ran 1/4 mile, walked 1/4 mile for 4 miles and then walked about 1 mile home.

I'm curious about a gait analysis and a midfoot strike. Surely a stability shoe doesn't mean a whole lot with a midfoot strike because I'm not striking with my heel. Should I get another gait analysis? Are they going to know what they are looking at with my new enhanced running style? What kind of shoes work for a midfoot striker? (I'm not interested in running barefoot or in five fingers right now). Just some thoughts pooling up in my head today...

jessmarimba2011-02-23 14:45:14 +0000 #2
You sound like you're going through my last shoe battle. Or you're about to.

I'm in NB 101s, but I mostly run trails. Definitely check out the Nike Frees - I loved them, but my heels are too narrow for Nike shoes.

If you can find a store that has any info about Chi Running on their site you might have more luck. I was fortunate to find one employee at the third store I went in that was more open-minded about shoes, but the first two just looked at me stand and went right for the chunky heavy built-up heel shoes. The concept is too new (or radical) for most stores to really deal with. Anytime an employee mentioned wet footprint test I ran screaming in the other direction

Kidding - but that just means they don't know what to do with you.

Try googling minimal shoes - that's essentially what a midfoot strike calls for. Some are less minimal than others, however.

Here: www.roadrunnersports...minimalist-_-minimal is the selection at RoadRunner Sports. Just make sure what you try on doesn't force you to land on your heel when you are running around the store!
Becky2011-02-23 15:23:46 +0000 #3
I found that, when I started Chi Running, my stability shoes interfered with my ability to "feel" that midfoot strike. I ended up buying some VFFs and some neutral training flats (Pearl Izumi Streaks). I still have to be really conscious about the midfoot strike- it's not natural yet- but a lesser shoe has helped.
colby2011-02-23 15:37:54 +0000 #4
I ran in the Ariel/Addictions (my last shoes) - I definitely think you need different shoes. I had a very similar experience, I felt like I couldn't run "correctly" in them without a lot of effort, but when I did, I felt great. You (and I) probably need a shoe with a less built up heel - I feel like the shoe made my heel hit even when I didn't want it to so I had to concentrate REALLY hard and then it wasn't fun.

I've thought about getting the analysis done at a PT rather than a shoe store - sort of like a bike fitting. I think they are less interested in moving people (and merchandise) through the system, but the problem is, you still have to go out and find shoes at the end of it.

The bright side is they might tell you other things you don't know, like details about your stride length and posture.

I have heard good things about the Nike Frees, if they fit your feet you might try them, even if at first you're alternating with your current shoes. Nike shoes are always too narrow for me... most shoes are.
OakLeaf2011-02-23 14:59:23 +0000 #5

Originally Posted by colby

Nike shoes are always too narrow for me... most shoes are.

Most shoes are too narrow for me, too, so as I've said before, I was STUNNED when the shoe guy brought me a pair of Nikes that actually fit.

I'm positive you'd hate the ones I'm in now, which are the only ones with that particular shape. But I've tried on the Free, and I think if they start making them in Wide I'll be able to wear them. They're too narrow for me, but not enormously so. I might should try on a men's pair, but those would likely be too wide in the heel. Usually if a shoe is popular enough they'll start making them in widths ... we can hope.



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