Finding Your Perfect Fit with Gait Analysis and Shoe Selection

Can I just brag on my husband right now?? (Well, I’m going to!) For Christmas, Travis gave me a gift card to our local running store, Marathon Endurance. I have been talking about getting new shoes forever, but come up with a million excuses not to go. He knew that a gift card was the perfect way to get me into the shoe store and BUY. NEW. SHOES!

An awesome thing about Marathon Endurance is that they offer gait analysis and shoe fitting for anyone looking to get new shoes. It was super easy, fun, and informative – meaning I learned about my running form and some valuable information on how to prevent injury.

Marathon Endurance is a local running store that offers running gear, supplements, and shoes. But nothing compares to the knowledgeable people in the store helping you find exactly what you need. If you aren’t local, I urge you to find a quality running store. I learned WAY more about running form and shoes during that hour than I probably have my entire life!

I have never had gait analysis done before but I was excited to see what it all entailed. And quite honestly, it was pretty simple. I hopped on a treadmill (without shoes on) and ran for about 10 seconds at my “comfortable pace” while my feet and legs were being videotaped.

I brought along my old shoes to run in, however, for gait analysis it’s better to see how the foot lands naturally. But don’t leave your old shoes at home! Your old shoes show the wear and tear of your real running. And that information, along with your gait analysis, will help you get your perfect pair.

After the short little run was complete, I was able to go back by the computer to find out what the camera had captured. The video allowed my run to be slowed way down. This gave us a second by second view of how my foot landed, how my legs rebounded, and how my stride looked. There was WAY more information in that 10 second clip than I even imagined.

The first thing we looked at on the video was my leg rebound. That meant that we were watching how far my legs were lifting off of the ground with every stride. My leg was coming up almost 90° at the knee, which is preferred. The leg rebound helps with running efficiency. The higher the rebound, the more energy is transferred from the ground to propel the leg and foot forward.

Next, it showed that when I run, I land on my heel. Ideally, people should land on their mid foot when running. And while it is possible to change your running form, it can take months. And changing how you run can also lead to injuries, so if you are not suffering from any at the moment, they don’t suggest changing immediately.

Finally, we looked at how the rest of my foot and leg moved once I did land. My ankle and leg roll in slightly when I land, known as over pronation. Over pronation is common among runners and can be corrected with a shoe offering a little more stability. We also noticed that I have a little bit of turnout when I run.

Turn-out can be linked to a few things – but mostly it’s due to tight muscles, specifically the calf muscles. Stretching regularly will help loosen that tightened musculature.

Another fun fact I learned at my gait analysis was that you should stretch for about half the amount of time spent running. So, a 30 minute run should be followed by at least 15 minutes of stretching. I will be the first to admit that I usually skip the stretching to shower, but after my gait analysis, I have been making it a point to stretch more. I have even started setting a timer to keep me on track while stretching.

Now that my gait was analyzed, it was time to start picking out shoes.

SO. MANY. SHOES!

I learned about the components that make up a shoe like the post, the sole, and the saddle – but ultimately, picking the right shoe depends on how it feels on your foot. And I tried on a variety of Hokas, Asics, Saucony, and Brooks. It was even encouraged to give the shoes a try on the treadmill while trying them on. (You can be sure that I took a few for a “test run” before finally deciding…)

In the end, I walked out of Marathon Endurance with a new pair of Brooks and a wealth of knowledge to help make this year my best running year yet!

I also walked out knowing that I am a runner. Why? Because we were able to visualize through gait analysis that both of my feet were off the treadmill. I was literally not touching the ground for a few split seconds during my stride. The true definition of running!

What I Learned About Gait Analysis

  1. It is super easy, fun, and informative. Learning about your running form is beneficial to finding the right gear and helping prevent injury.
  2. Bring in your old running shoes, but don’t expect to wear them. Gait analysis is done to see your “true” gait – which means barefoot (or socked feet at least).
  3. Running form isn’t nearly as simple as your feet hitting the ground. Our bodies naturally do their “thing” and changing that isn’t always the best option.
  4. Stretching is EXTREMELY important. Tight, un-stretched muscles can affect your gait.
  5. Don’t look at the price tag when trying on shoes – more expensive is not always better. A pair that feels good on your feet is the best.
  6. Gait analysis is definitely a must for anyone running, both recreational and competitively.
  7. You don’t need a different pair of shoes for road running vs. treadmill running. Your gait remains relatively similar on either surface.
  8. It is suggested that you get gait analyzed every time you need a new pair of shoes (after roughly about 300-500 miles). Shoe styles, materials, and your gait can all change during that time.
  9. Even though gait analysis is easy, give yourself plenty of time to try on all the shoe options. I had no idea I would be trying on SO many shoes — sometimes the same shoe a few times!
  10. Talk with the employee while you are doing your analysis. More often than not, they are avid runners and may have some answers to some of your questions, suggestions, or just tips that you haven’t tried!
Questions:
  1. Have you ever had your gait analyzed?
  2. What is your favorite running shoe?
  3. How do you make time for stretching after a run?
-Jordan

 

2 thoughts on “Finding Your Perfect Fit with Gait Analysis and Shoe Selection

    1. Thanks for reading Mackenzie! I had never tried Brooks before but they may become my new favorite! I certainly am loving this pair!

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