Orth-huh? Orthotics Defined

If you’re researching running shoes, you’ve certainly run by the term ‘orthotics.’ You don’t have to be a podiatrist to understand orthotics and how they can help you as a serious runner.

Othotics are orthopedic devices designed to treat or adjust various biomechanical foot disorders. They may be simple, commerically made devices, such as cushioned heel cups or insoles for shoes.

Many runners achieve significant shock-absorption benefits using simple, over-the-counter orthotics, purchased at drug stores. For runners with severe foot disorders, podiatrists recommend custom-tailored devices specifically designed to meet the needs of the individual. Many running shoes today are manufactured with built in orthotics to correct common biomechanical foot defects. A specialty athletic shoe store can measure your foot, observe your gait and recommend a running shoe with orthotics for you.

Just about any runner can benefit from an orthotic. Several common symptoms exist that indicate misalignment or arch problems. You may be a candidate for orthotics if:

Some doctors recommend orthotic inserts in dress and walking shoes, but claim that running shoes usually offer enough support such that orthotic inserts are unnecessary. If you do require an orthotic insert, be sure to try a running shoe with the insert before purchasing it.

March 11, 2006 | by Admin

Off the Beaten Path – Transition to Trail with the Right Shoe

A Spectacular Trail Run in Redwood Regional Park, Oakland, CA

As serious runners, we know that there are no shortcuts. So why do we skimp with our running shoes? You don’t cheat yourself with your training schedule, so don’t try it with your footwear.

If you’re beginning a trail running regimen, get the shoes you need. Consider the following when selecting your trail runner to hit the rocky terrain:

Weather and Wetness
If you’re running in hot, dry conditions, choose a trail runner with lighweight nylon and mesh uppers. These fabrics are light and breathable.

For prolonged running in wet conditions, look for shoes with deep lugs to enhance your grip of the earth. Many trail runners have lugs specifically designed to self-clean to prevent your being weighed down by mud-covered peds.

Traction
If you’re a trail runner planning a steep, rocky descent, consider a running shoe with an external rubber toe bumper or an internal toe counter at the instep. These additions help protect against stubbing and tripping.

Terrain
For rocky, sharp and uneven surfaces, look for a well-cushioned midsole that absorbs shock and a stiff shoe to offer protection from impact.

Fit
Trail running shoes are generally larger through the toe area. Extra area allows for foot swelling and space for toes during long, downhill runs. Ensure that the heal of your trail running shoe fits snugly to hold the foot in place and provide stability on uneven terrain.

March 9, 2006 | by Admin

Running to the Check Out Line: How to Shop for Running Shoes

If you’re new to running, picking the right running shoe is one of your most important steps. With so much marketing out there, what does a beginner, intermediate or even seasoned runner need to know before making a running shoe investment? While finishing that final mile may not be so easy, the steps to picking the right shoe are.

1. Buy shoes designed for your running habits
This is a simple one. If you run on trails, buy a trail runner. If you’re sprinting on a track, consider racing flats. If you’re hitting the pavement, get a running shoe with plenty of shock absorption. If you’re adding running to a workout that includes other activities, a cross-trainer’s for you.

2. Read shoe reviews
No one knows shoes better than the runners that use them. Read reviews at RunningShoesResearch and in major running magazines. At the very least, talk to running pals about shoes that work for them.

3. Make sure they fit
This one seems obvious, but it’s always tempting to diminish the importance of fit when trying a snazzy looking running shoe. Have your feet measured by a salesperson, try shoes on, walk around the store, jog in place. For the best fit, purchase a pair of running socks and try them with shoes.

4. Shop for running shoes late in the day
By waiting until the afternoon or evening to shop for running shoes, you allow your feet to swell to their maximum size. Shopping too early could cause you to come home with shoes that are too tight a lap into a workout.

5. Prepare your budget
Running is one of the least expensive athletic activities available. Shoes are the primary investment, so don’t plan to skimp. Prepare yourself to spend between $70 and $90 for your first pair of running shoes.

March 7, 2006 | by Admin

Blisters! What’s Wrong with my Running Shoes?

Asics Kay Running Sock

Blisters are the bane of the serious runner’s training program. But, don’t blame your faithful running shoes. The problem could indeed be in your socks. That’s right — the socks we wear to run play a major part in a runner’s performance and comfort.

What are Running Socks?
Running socks are socks specifically designed for the physical demands of running. Most provide stability above and beyond that provided by shoes, while others contain a moisture wicking property.

A common mistake of runners is wearing 100% cotton socks. Cotton socks absorb moisture thereby causing blisters.

How do Running Socks Prevent Blisters?
Running socks are usually made of two lightweight, layered moisture wicking materials. Between the layers, friction is absorbed which diminishes the friction absorbed by your skin. The layers also serve to wick moisture from your feet. The inner layer absorbs sweat from your foot and wicks it into the outer layer where it is absorbed. This layered process ensures that the fabric on your skin stays dry and blisters stay away.

How do Running Socks Differ from Each Other?
Like running shoes, running socks are designed for the type of running you perform. If you run on trails or normally wear a trail runner, you likely require a thicker, more durable sock. If you’re a sprinter, you may prefer a lightweight sock.

Like running shoes, running socks cater to different foot shapes. Identify socks designed for flat feet and high arches.

Where Do I Get Running Socks
Just about any athletic or running shoe store will contain running socks, but some of our favorites are:
Gold Toe Running Socks
Running Unlimited Socks
REI Running Socks
Telarun Running Socks

March 5, 2006 | by Admin

Dr. Running Shoe: Should your Physician Prescribe your Footwear?

Your healthcare provider advises to stay fit and it’s well-known that running is one of the best ways to get and stay healthy. Our running shoes, cross trainers and trail runners aid our quest to stay out of the doctor’s office. Or do they? Could your running shoes actually cause your doctor visit? According to The Physician and SportsMedicine “running related injuries are among the most frequent reasons for primary care visits.” Many runners suffer from malaligned legs and abnormal foot type, which if not compensated for by a shoe, greatly contribute to injury.

Don’t fret dedicated runner, hope remains. Many physicians are armed with a solid understanding of basic foot types, gait patterns and running shoe design. In fact, with a simple office visit, many physicians can recommend the right footwear for your foot and leg anatomy.

The anatomy of your running shoe may compensate for the anatomy of your foot. To fully understand your physician’s running shoe recommendation, understand your running shoe.

Running shoes, crosstrainers and trail runners are made up of 4 primary components: the upper, the midsole, the last, and the outsole. Check out the link below to learn where each part is and what it does to keep your feet healthy:
Anatomy of a Running Shoe

March 3, 2006 | by Admin

Can I Hike in my Running Shoes?

Planning to leave the pavement behind and hit the hills for a hike? When runners hike, hiking boots often seem like overkill while running shoes shine as a light, comfortable alternative. But is hiking in running shoes really safe? Of course, the difficulty of the hike commands the ruggedness of the boot and the toughest boot isn’t always necessary, but neither do gym shoes usually suffice.

According to Outside Magazine’s Gear Guy, you better watch your step hiking in your running shoes. Can I Hike in Running Shoes? While many hiking boots may be so much beast that they’re a burden, don’t be tempted to hike in even your trail shoes.

Gear Guy recommends a light hiker instead. He says, “These days they’re nearly as comfortable as a trail runner, and that extra support can pay off. Asolo makes a nice non-Gore-Tex shoe called the Echo ($135), a fabric-and-leather hiker with just enough stiffness through the sole to protect your feet from sharp rocks and the like. Montrail’s Torre ($125; www.montrail.com) is another good choice—a little more leather than the Echo, and a little stiffer shank.”

March 1, 2006 | by Admin

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