Orthotics; yes or no?

Having read "Born to Run" and noted the comments about how modern running shoe tech may not actually help I thought I'd take the orthotics out of my shoes and put the manufacturers insoles back. Better that way if anything!

Anyone else a bit sceptical of some of the shoe manufactures claims?

Personally I would never buy the latest model full price...

11 Replies

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  • I'm halfway through Born To Run and have to say, while I consider it a rollicking tale, I have doubts about its veracity. I certainly wouldn't let it advise my footwear. That said, I don't believe the shoe manufacturers either, not without my own research anyhow.

  • Well, they are in the business of selling shoes, so I think some skepticism is warranted. :)

    I did the first couple of weeks running in my worn out every-day sneakers that I'd bought over a year ago at a thrift store (yeah, I know, not a good idea to buy used shoes). I was having some minor shin and knee issues, though, so I bought a pair of Avia highly cushioned running shoes with Cantilever technology - didn't know what that was, but it sounded good. Unfortunately, when I tried them on the next couple of runs it made the pains worse, so I went back to wearing my old pair. But since I was still having some pain issues I thought I'd try again. This time I bought a pair of Nike running shoes for the "neutral to underpronator." These sneakers are light weight and the cushioning is much less than the first pair I bought, but I think it's just the right amount since I am walking/jogging on cement sidewalks. Anyway, I felt a positive difference pretty much right away, and I haven't had any pain for a couple of weeks now.

    So, based on my own experience, I'd have to say the modern high-tech running shoe didn't work for me.

  • I prefer my work shoes (flat, thin soles, plenty of toe space, lace-up) to my expensive running shoes (they feel constricting, like running with bandages on!) - but that might be more down to the actual fit, I suppose. But I did find Born to Run pretty convincing overall (the bit about shoe manufacturers is nearer the end, I think), but I had read Gordon Pirie's online book first, and that pretty much said the same thing about footwear for running, and running form. [Roughly - flat, thin shoes with plenty of toe room, and midfoot landing, aiming for mechanical efficiency.]

    I think I'd be a bit wary of suddenly just stopping using orthotics though (are they specially fitted ones?) - from what I've read, any sudden change, even if it's ultimately for the better, can be hard for the feet to adjust to. I'm definitely not an expert, just interested in running comfortably and avoiding injury.

    I keep reading more on this topic and it gets more and more intriguing - though it's hard to know how much of it is reliable of course. (I came across something yesterday when trying to find out more about running uphill - bridgerridgerun.wordpress.c... - there's a fascinating bit about half way down about the history of chi running.)

  • Following reading this I have bought some basic barefoot trainers. I have suffered 2 injuries in the time I have been running (since September) and therefore am willing to give them a try. Once my knee is better I'll give them a go. Will post how it goes when I do.

    Viki :-)

  • Please do, I think Oldgirl is going to do the same once she's had a chance to get some miles in hers, it would be good to have some direct feedback.

    I mentioned last week that I went out for the local half marathon and among the thousands of runners, not one pair of these shoes did I see.

  • I haven't gone for the 5 finger ones but some New Balance barefoot trainers. As I said not too expensive. I have noticed that my knee feels better in flat shoes so hoping these will be good.

    Viki :-)

  • Ah!

    I'll check them out as I've not seen them.

  • There are quite a few 'barefoot' variants from different companies - maybe most do them now? (thin soles, instead of lots of padding under the heel, and not having 'motion control' wotsits in the middle, being the key features I think - plus all sorts of twiddly things to make them look attractive!) - vivobarefoot I think are another brand? I think the toe ones are vibrams? I think nike do some too.

    I'd really like to get another pair of my ecco shoes as they are so comfortable (not designed as running shoes though) but they don't do them any more. :(

    Or some huarache sandals. Made out of bits of rubber tyres and thongs. :D

  • Think of the money you'd save - just a trip to the scrapyard. Better wait til it warms up a bit though, otherwise you might get frostbite!

  • Hmmm....

    "Some misinterpreted the Harvard study to mean barefoot runners were less likely to have injuries and could run faster. But the study merely showed that people "were able to land comfortably and safely when barefoot or in minimal footwear by landing with a flat foot (midfoot strike) or by landing on the ball of the foot before bringing down the heel (forefoot strike)."

  • Somebody asked early on about my orthotics, they are off the shelf ones not custom.

    My feet did seem to move more freely without them and the arches were more comfortable; I still wouldn't do an all day archery tournament with out them though.

    I've been doing some reading around the internet (the New York Times has some good wellness blogs) and it seems that there is a very distinct technique necessary for running with less cushioned shoes.

    Another theme that came up was the good old "if it ain't broke..."

    My preference is for reasonably cushioned shoes but with some stability features so they're not like a jelly. I've got a pair of Brooks (Vapor 9s I think) at the moment and they seem fine.

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