I recently interviewed Claire Thomas from Mizuno Australia, to find out some more information about the huge range in running and training shoes that are out on the market these days. Claire has worked in the running shoe industry for 8 years now, and has extensive experience and knowledge about the technical side of running shoes.

Claire is an avid marathon and long distance runner herself, having just come back from running the Berlin Marathon. So not only does she have the technical experience, she also has spent thousands of hours pounding the pavement and testing out the shoes she recommends. I couldn’t think of a better person to interview on this topic!

Why do Mizuno make so many different types of running shoes?

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Mizuno make a range of shoes to cater for a range of foot types and different running gaits. We provide a range of shoes depending on the level of support the runner may or may not require. Further to this though, runners will often utilise different shoes for different sessions – they might choose a shoe with more cushioning and protection for longer mileage running and use something lighter and with more flexibility for shorter faster paced sessions.

 

Why do different foot types need different shoes?

It is often a common myth that support = better. This is incorrect, as it’s actually about providing the correct amount of support for the foot type in question. As a general rule of thumb, people who pronate (roll in) significantly sometimes require shoes that have support systems on the medial side of the shoe. Whereas people with a more neutral or supinated foot type don’t require shoes with support, and sometimes this can be a hindrance. This is just a very general rule and there are certainly exceptions.

 

It seems that shoe technology is constantly evolving….is this because different materials become available or research changes?

Footwear will constantly evolve as new materials and manufacturing processes become readily available. The only research that can definitively draw a link between footwear and injury rates is a piece of research that suggests a link between injury prevention and the value mixing up and changing the footwear as a training tool.

 

Do you recommend different types of shoes for different types of training? E.g. for long distance running, for speed work, or for trail running?

As a runner I will perform different sessions throughout the week meaning I need a shoe or number of shoes to help cater for these differing sessions. I do this, not only from a comfort and performance perspective but as also an injury prevention strategy. Running is such a repetitious activity, eventually at some stage in the running journey you will experience niggles or injury. One way to reduce the likelihood and severity or this happening is to ‘mix it up’! By changing the terrain, surface and footwear this will go a long way to ensure that the same tissues are not continually overloaded and stressed – thus reducing the likelihood of overuse injury from developing.

 

If someone is unsure about their foot type and the best shoe for them, where do you recommend they go?

The best way to take the guess work out of what running shoe will be suitable for you is to go along to a running specialty store (such as Active Feet or The Running Company) where you will have your gait analysed by an expert. The retailer should provide you with a range of options that not only suit your gait but also feel comfortable too. Don’t forget comfort is extremely important in footwear prescription and if you can find a good balance of comfort and function you’re on to a winner!

 

Thanks to Claire for such great information, the right choice of footwear is very individual so always seek advice. Chat to your physiotherapist or the podiatrists at Up and Running Podiatry for more information.

 

~Sal

 

Links

Mizuno http://www.mizuno.com.au

Up and Running Podiatry http://www.upandrunningpodiatry.com.au

The Running Company http://therunningcompany.com.au