RUNNING SHOE COMFORT – THE DEAL-BREAKER
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Now that the factors that determine what properties to be aware of in all running shoes have been discussed in previous blog posts, the most important one must be considered: do the shoes feel comfortable on your feet when you run in them? If not, probably one of the criteria as described in the previous blogs was not met. It may be time to review those and see what you may consider changing. A few miscellaneous things that were not mentioned in the previous posts may also effect the ultimate feel of the shoe, such as the lacing system, the outsole lug configuration, and the “forefoot rocker” of the shoe.
Some people have areas of sensitivity on the top of the foot due to bony prominences or other issues that can be irritated by lacing. If the laces of the shoe are causing discomfort across the top of your foot in spite of an otherwise good fit, there may be alternative lacing techniques (example: skipping eyelets at a level of pinching) or laces with different properties (example: laces that are more elastic, such as Lock-Laces®) that could possibly remedy this problem.
The outsole lugs may be uncomfortably prominent under the area of the foot at which they are located, and unfortunately, there is little to do to adjust for this problem. Running with such a situation could lead to bruising or more severe injury.
Finally, if the shoe has a significant “forefoot rocker” shape, especially if stiff, this could cause an altered feel to the “ride” of the shoe. For runners with arthritic joints in the ball of the foot, this often can reduce discomfort by protecting the affected joints from painful motion. For people with otherwise relatively normal feet, the rocker shape may or may not have a detrimental effect, depending on the specific biomechanics of the individual, the amount, positioning, and stiffness of the rocker shape. In general, if the shape of the shoe causes an awkward-feeling gait or an alteration to the normal alignment of the toes, it is probably not wise to wear.