Neutral vs Stability Running Shoes

Neutral vs Stability Running Shoes

This is for any runner who's ever wondered if they're in the right pair of running shoes...

In this video we talk about whether or not you should be running in neutral or stability running shoes and how to transition from stability to neutral.

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Welcome on to the next edition of RUN. My name is Brad. We've got Lindsey Parry with us once again, we're talking about shoes today. The difference between neutral and stability. Lindsey, welcome back. Nice to catch up.

How's it Brad?

Lindsey, great question in our forums from Nicole and she's been running in a stability shoe. And yeah, I've popped the question up on the screen. She says 'I started focusing on shorter distances after Comrades for the last four years and strength, hence no Comrades this year, and after an assessment with a physio and bio, she says she's completely skewed' her alignment is all out. She says she's got lazy glutes, tight flexors, anterior pelvic tilt, to name just a few. 'I was told that to toss my stability shoes, and that we should all be running in neutral Is this true? Because of my pelvic rotation and all my other problems this causes my foot to pronate. I'm working hard on my strength training and my foot arch, but is transition to a neutral shoe possible?' Particularly if you've been running in a stability shoe for a long long time?

So, I think we must just clarify that not everybody should be running in a neutral shoe. So, there are people that have got real biomechanical issues that no amount of strength training is going to combat or fix. So, there are cases particularly with excessive pronation where anti-pronation shoes will be indicated and they will be needed and in the absence of an actual evaluation on my part, what I often do when I'm asking people to try and figure out if they are in the right pair of shoes is that if you are getting a lot of pain on the inside of your legs, so inside on the shins or inside on the knee or inside on the ankle, that would tell us that there is a lot of stress going through the inside, and that you are possibly a candidate for a pair of anti-pronation shoes.

And of course, I've never diagnose that for somebody unless I could actually see them. In my experience though, really eight to nine out of the 10 people that I see are or should be in neutral, and a large percentage of those are not because the human foot is designed to pronate. So we are designed to land slightly on the outside of our foot, to roll towards the middle and then to push off using our big toe as a power bar. Okay, so most people probably should be in a neutral shoe. And if you have been in a pronation shoe for a long time and you and you haven't really needed it, you can often run like that for years without picking up an injury. Of course those people who really don't need an anti pronation shoe, and they may started a bit of pain on the outside of their legs, so ITB's or shin splints on the outside. And that's because the shoe is actually forcibly stopping your foot from being able to do its job. Whereas when you excessively pronate, your foot will still do its job, but the shoe will prevent it from going over.

Okay, so now that we've cleared that up, moving from an anti-pronation shoe to a pronation shoe, to a neutral shoe, absolutely that is possible. And if it's the shoe you should be in then I would recommend that you do make the switch. However, our bodies are extremely adaptable, and your body over the years has adapted to running in that anti-pronation shoe. So essentially what we want to do while you're doing the strength exercises, and correcting all these areas of weakness or instability, whatever word you want to use, you will then wean yourself onto the new pair of shoes.

Now this can be done in one of two ways. If you are in full training, you would then run a couple of hours a week with the new shoes and the bulk of your training in the old shoes. And you'd slowly over a period of five to six weeks, make the transition to redoing the majority of your runs in the neutral shoe. And then at that point around about six weeks into the future you'd make the full change you'd be in your neutral shoes. If you've come off a break, as is the case here, then when you start again, I would just start much lower training volume and over a period of four weeks just slowly build up in a new pair of shoes. And as it's somewhere around the four week mark. You should be fine to carry on and train as normal in the shoes, yeah.

Lindsey, I mean, it's just the body needs to get used to the slight change in the way, well the biomechanical change, basically. I mean, I'm no expert, but I think that's where a lot of runners make that mistake is that they try and build up too quickly. And this isn't just a running shoe issue. It's just across the board that we tend to overdo things and pick up overuse injuries. And when you are transitioning like this from a stability shoe to a neutral shoe, that's what you've got to be careful of is not picking up one of those injuries where your body's not used to a certain movement. You've got to ease your body into it.

Yeah, and I think it's a good principle, actually, every time we do something really big, race a marathon, do an ultra, run a 21 k really, really hard. I think anytime we do something big for us, you should take a short little break after to allow your body to recover and just spend 10 to 14 days slowly building up again and then you know somebody who's really just starting out as a beginner for running, what I do find is that typically at the beginning, they struggle so much that they self limit. And that last two about three or four weeks and then at that three or four week point to just getting that fitness that you can start taking much bigger jumps and those bigger jumps are actually what lead to injury and you just need to be a bit more patient and keep building up a little slower.

Yep, absolutely. Until next time for myself, Brad and the coach, it's cheers.

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