Today is Healthy Monday!! Let’s stop talking about food for a minute and talk instead about something that will help you exercise right.
A few years ago, while reading Gym instructor and personal trainer, Adura’s blog, I came across a post that mentioned the importance of getting a gait analysis done when buying new running shoes. I had never gotten that done before but was immediately interested.
It is based on the fact that our foot arch or lack of it (in the case of those that have flat feet) determine the way our feet are aligned.
I wasn’t able to find a place that could conduct the test in Nigeria so I wound up getting it done in a shop that sells running equipment in the UK. I went with my cousin, Chinelo, and they soon had us running barefoot on a treadmill to see whether we overpronate, underpronate or have a normal gait while running. After they determined which category I fell into, they tested me running with shoes and we settled on one that gave me the most support.
This shows the running gait of people that fall under the different categories.
Did it make a difference?…..Yep!! So much so that I haven’t since bought running shoes without getting a fit test or gait analysis done.
In case you are wondering about the results: I discovered that I overpronate (no surprise there as I have flat feet), and wound up buying a pair of ASICS with proper structural support. I absolutely love ASICS. So very comfortable, I could live in them.
Why is a Gait Analysis so important?
- The right shoes can prevent injury while running. As a matter of fact, if you have a recurring injury, it may be down to your shoes not providing the right support.
- Improves form and body alignment for better performance while running.
- Even if you are not a runner, this is helpful in determining the sort of every day shoes you should be buying for every day shoes.
My last pair of running shoes came from New Balance. I went to a New Balance store and they conducted a professional fit analysis to get me the right shoes. No running involved. I simply stepped on an iSTEP scanner which mapped my feet and advised the fit specialist which shoes I would need for the right support.
Here is a picture of my scan, the bits in red are the places where I most apply pressure when standing. This is what flat feet look like.
I bought a pair of shoes with built-in support. They also sold me orthotics which I no longer wear (they were too uncomfortable).
Cool Links Bonus:
- If you don’t know what your arch type is, here is a pretty neat trick for determining it in the comfort of your home. It also explains the sort of support you will need from every day shoes. Here is another.
- In Nigeria without access to a fit test or gait analysis? Asics has a cool online app for helping you find the perfect shoes. New Balance has one too but it does not appear to cater to overpronators, just underpronators.