How to assess running footwear the RIGHT way by Simon Bartold from Bartold Clinical

How to assess running footwear the RIGHT way by Simon Bartold from Bartold Clinical

(upbeat music) – I’m going to talk to you a little bit about athletic footwear this morning and give you some clues on what
to look for, what to expect, and maybe some ideas on how you can prescribe athletic footwear
properly for your client. So athletic footwear these
days has become quite complex, and in the last few years you may be aware there’s been a lot of discussion about making shoes a lot more flexible, a lot lower to the ground,
in a nutshell, a lot simpler. And I think that’s
probably a very good trend because historically the products have become quite complicated. This is a really good example, though, of a technical running shoe. So what you’re seeing in this
sort of product is a shoe that’s been built desiring a
combination of both stability and also cushioning. So you can see that there
is quite a large amount of cushioning under the heel, a lot of different shoe companies have different proprietary
product to help with cushioning. It’s important, especially
if you’re a heel striker. There is a lot of discussion on that, but 90% of all people still
strike with their heel so I think it’s still an
important component of the shoe. Also in the forefoot,
obviously when you take off, there’s a very impact
peak when you take off, so we do need some cushioning
under the forefoot, and that’s all got to be combined in a way that keeps the shoe stable. Some of the techniques that are employed by athletic footwear companies
to improve stability, they have what we’d call link componentry. So you can see this is
quite a rigid plastic piece in the mid-part of the shoe. It simply links the rear part of the shoe to the fore part of the shoe, and it means that the
shoe has some integrity in terms of how much it can rotate. For somebody who’s looking
for stability in their shoe, especially if you’re an over-pronator, this is actually quite
an important component. Some other things here, you can see that this
particular shoe has what we’d describe almost as an
exoskeleton around the heel here. So traditionally we have
what’s called a heel counter. It’s a solid piece of polyurethane that cups the heel. This is a technique where the heel counter is put on the shoe externally. There are pieces cut
away within this shoe, and the idea here is to reduce weight. We’ll talk about that a
little bit more in a moment. This is a very good system, I like it. It still maintains nice
integrity of the shoe. It means the shoe flows nicely together. It holds (voice muffled)
together quite nicely. I think this is a very nice system. Some other techniques that might be used to try to make the shoe
a little bit more stable, to use different density mid-sole. So this particular shoe
has a more dense material on the medial side or
the inside of the shoe than it does on the
lateral side of the shoe. That can be quite
important because it helps to slow down pronation
as you strike the ground. However, there is a trade off, and the trade off is that
it makes the shoe heavy. Now if I were asked what are
the three most important things about running footwear,
I’d say it’s lightweight, lightweight, and lightweight. So weight is incredibly important. We strive to choose the
lightest possible shoe we can for the runner. And that’s a real
take-home message for you. So just try to make sure that you look for the features you want for
your particular athlete, but try to put it in the
lightest weight product you possibly can. In terms of testing for a shoe, I see a lot of people
doing different things. They look at flexibility of the forefoot. So they’re looking to
see where the shoe bends. Now there’s really only one place where the shoe should bend, and that’s where your foot bends, which is at the level
of the big toe joint. So when you test the shoe, a hand on the rear foot,
a hand on the forefoot, and bend the shoe and it should only bend through this area. I see a lot of people getting a shoe and they get the shoe and they bend it right through the middle. Your foot doesn’t do that so
if you do that to the shoe I can promise you that
you’ve broken the shoe and it will never be the same. So please don’t do that. Also you can look for
integrity of the heel counter. I think that we’re going to
see some very new designs in product in the future. And in fact, the heel
counter may even go away. I know that’s a bit argumentative, but I personally am not that convinced that it’s a very necessary
feature in a shoe. I want to talk briefly about shoe wear. There’s a lot of
discussion about shoe wear, and you see wear patterns
on the outside of the shoe. Is it very important? How much can you tell? My message would be you’ve
got to be cautious about this. A lot of people look at shoes that have skived off the lateral side, and they say well obviously that means you’ll strike in a particular way. It doesn’t necessarily mean that. So you’ve got to be very, very cautious. Obviously if a shoe is distorted, in other words if the shoe is rolling in or rolling out after several months’ wear, well then there’s an issue with the way that athlete’s running, and that needs to be analyzed from a biomechanical perspective. One of the little tricks
that can tell you something is if you have one shoe
that’s doing something or has a particular wear pattern and the other shoe has a
different wear pattern, I’d be thinking about a
limb length difference for that athlete. So it’s quite likely where
you see a very big difference from one shoe to the other
that you might be dealing with somebody who has one limb that’s shorter than the other or longer, depending on which way you look at it. Okay, what does the future hold for us? There’s been a lot of
discussion about minimalism. There’s been a lot of
discussion about drop. Just very quickly, drop is
the gradient of the shoe. In other words, it’s the differential between the amount of
material under the heel to the material underneath the forefoot. A traditional drop is
about 10 millimeters. So in this shoe it’s about 22
millimeters in the rear foot and 12 millimeters in the forefoot. We do have shoes now that are zero drop. In other words, zero
millimeters in the rear foot and zero millimeters in the forefoot. And some shoes have no mid sole at all. Now you do have to be
a little bit careful. I’m not saying at all don’t
wear that sort of product, but you do have to be careful. And there is what’s
called a transition period that’s required to get
into that sort of shoe. The reason for that is it
makes a radical difference to the loading patterns. It increases loading in some areas. It decreases in other areas. But the worst thing you can do is do, make that transition very suddenly. The recommendation is
probably 12 weeks plus to make a transition between what we’d call a traditional shoe like this to something with zero drop. Be very, very cautious. There’s also some discussion
about barefoot running. I think barefoot running
as the mainstream, in other words, the only way you run, I really don’t think that that has a lot of evidence behind it. Barefoot running as a part of
a balanced training program I think is really quite sensible. You can do it as a mix-up
tool, you can do some drills on a safer surface like grass, and I think that can benefit every runner in terms of getting to understand their gait patterns a bit better. So I think there are
some of the new trends that we’re looking at. At the end of the day the
take-home message here is I think it’s really important
to mix up your training. So make sure that you don’t
wear the same shoe all the time. Make sure you don’t run on
the same surface all the time. Make sure you don’t run on
the same terrain all the time. So try to get on some trail,
try to get on some dirt. Don’t just do the same circuit that you do every day on the road. That’s destined for failure
and potentially an injury. There’s no right or wrong
answer for every athlete. It’s an individual choice
so at the end of the day get good advice, make
sure that you see somebody who is very well versed in
the area of biomechanics and sports medicine, get
that advice, get online. (light music

3 thoughts on “How to assess running footwear the RIGHT way by Simon Bartold from Bartold Clinical

  1. I would like to hear more about how looking at the wear pattern on the bottom of the shoe doesn't necessarily tell us about the persons foot strike or running pattern (assuming the shoes are just used for running).

  2. Video was great. I'd definitely like a deeper dive however. This seemed to barely skim the surface. The music was really overbearing as well.

  3. thanks for the video! maybe turn down the music a little bit. Lightweight shoes: people are scared because they were always told that they need "protection", and protecion is perceived with stiff materials! There is a need for unlocking the link between injuries and shoes, and explains that injuries are more linked to training patterns, like you always say. But doing this is difficult running shoes companies are happy about people who think that injuries can be solved with a particolar shoe (whatever the brand). The whole system is stucked in old paradigms!

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