Jogging: The right and healthy running shoe

Jogging: The right and healthy running shoe

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What to look for when buying the perfect running shoe

Running is the trend sport par excellence. True to the motto "After long sitting in the office, slip on your running shoes and off you go", countless leisure athletes do their laps in parks and sports fields in the evenings. In order to actually do something good for your body with the movement, you should always pay attention to the right footwear. Whether cushioning or pronation support - it depends on the individual biomechanics of the feet. In an interview with the “dpa” news agency, three experts report on what leisure athletes should pay attention to when buying the perfect running shoes.

Running shoe technology was continuously developed As reported by Prof. Stefan Grau from the University of Gothenburg, the running boom started around 30 years ago in Germany. At that time, the sports shoe manufacturers mainly focused on cushioning. For example, the shoes should cushion the impact forces through extremely soft soles that arise when the foot is stepped on. Despite the technology that was innovative at the time, there was no decline in injury rates, so a new trend emerged. Instead of the cushioning effect, the running shoes should support and stabilize from now on. So-called pronation supports should prevent the foot from being undesirably screwed inwards. However, this innovation also did not reduce the injury rate. Gray attributes this less to an inadequate running shoe technology than to the changed user group. At the beginning of the running boom, well-trained people were among the joggers. “Today we have a lot of poorly trained people, and yet there are no more injuries. So the shoes already serve their purpose, "says the sports scientist.

Optimal fit of the running shoe is crucial In order to optimally support the runner, the running shoes must fit perfectly. According to Grau, the ankle plays an important role. "There are an extremely large number of people who have an unstable ankle," reports the expert. "This also includes people who are returning or who are overweight. It is therefore important that there are shoes that have a stabilizing effect." As Grau further explains, functional elements in the area of ​​the rear foot such as cash pads with cushioning properties, a certain torsional stiffness so that rotation of the foot around the longitudinal axis is prevented, and good heel caps are useful.

In sports shoe stores, professional movement analyzes can rule out whether pronation support is necessary to prevent the foot from turning inwards. If such a support is used, it is embedded in the midsole of the shoe. It is usually colored gray.

Women and men have different fits for running shoes Running shoes for men and women differ in particular in width, reports Grau. They should not have been made on the same last. How narrow or wide a shoe should be also depends on its size, according to the sports scientist. Accordingly, small feet are rather wide and large feet are more often narrow. Shoe size 42 is already large for women, so these shoes should be cut more narrowly. In men, the same shoe size tends to be small, so the shoe in size 42 should be rather wide.

In general, it is advisable to always buy running shoes half a size larger than everyday shoes, since the foot slides back and forth while running and requires more space in the front. In addition, the heel must not slip out as a result of the movement, since otherwise there will be complaints on the Achilles tendon. According to the sports scientist, the shaft material should fit snugly around the midfoot.

Too much cushioning of running shoes is counterproductive. Nowadays, the cushioning systems of running shoes are much flatter than before, because heavily cushioned, soft soles make the shoes unstable. "The result was that ligament and tendon injuries increased explosively," explains Grau. Today's models are also suitable for less-trained people with weaker muscles.

Another argument that brought the shoe manufacturers away from the strong cushioning came from medicine. For some time now, shock loads have no longer been considered negative or even harmful to health. In his publication "The Great Running Shoe Book", medical doctor Matthias Marquardt reports that the body even needs shock loads. "Shock forces maintain the health of your joints and prevent bone loss," he writes in his book. Without the stimulus from shock loads, the risk of osteoporosis increases - not only for older people, but also for office workers. "Their bones and joints experience too little impact forces that were originally intended in evolution and therefore do not build up enough bone mass," writes Marquardt, himself a triathlete and supporter of "natural running".

"Natural running" is about getting as close as possible to the barefoot feeling. The shoe models therefore have flatter heels and thus a reduced heel explosion. In addition, notches are embedded in the sole, which make them more flexible. Untrained recreational runners should refrain from this type of running shoes, as they can cause overloading problems if the foot and calf muscles are too weak.

Wrong running shoes can cause knee problems Prof. Gert-Peter Brüggemann, head of the Institute for Biomechanics and Orthopedics at the German Sport University in Cologne, points out that up to 48 percent of the running injuries affect the knee joint, because the knee has its usual movement that occurs when running can be changed or disturbed. A good running shoe should fix this effect. “The shoe should then change the force application point on the foot and thus the lever of the forces for the knee joint. That is the only thing a shoe can do, "says Brüggemann. The shape of the sole and the distribution of different materials in the shoe play an important role." A shoe should always be a reinforcement of what nature wants to do, "the conclusion of the expert.

Marquardt also supports this view. For a long time, pronation, the inward rotation of the limbs, was considered harmful to health. In the meantime it has been recognized as "crucial for a healthy running movement", writes the doctor in his book. The perfect shoe is "always a compromise".

Running shoes need regeneration time As Prof. Ingo Froböse from the German Sport University Cologne explains, running shoes like humans need a regeneration time of at least 48 hours. Those who train a lot should therefore have at least two pairs of running shoes and wear them alternately. In addition, runners should pay attention to when the running quality of the shoe deteriorates. Then a new couple should be purchased. According to Froböse, the difference is often only noticed when new running shoes are tried on. Depending on the weight of the athlete, the expert advises to buy a new pair after 500 to 800 kilometers. His tip: running shoes should always be bought in the evening, as the foot spreads during the day similar to jogging.

Image: Klicker /

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