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Is Gait Analysis Worth It for Runners?

APR. 10, 2023
Unsure whether you need a gait analysis? Learn what gait analysis is, how the process works and why it’s important for runners to get their gait examined.
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Gait analysis is worth it for runners, especially those just starting out. Knowing your gait and getting the correct sneaker for your foot is an important part of injury prevention. This is true for not only runners but also anyone that wants to improve their exercise experience. ASICS works hard to provide a professionally trained team member to help you determine your gait and pinpoint the running shoe that’s best for you.

What is a running gait and why does it matter?

A person’s gait describes the way in which they walk. And a gait analysis is a simple exam that provides you with important information about your walking or running style. Learning about your running style and getting fitted for a shoe that will help protect you from injury is essential. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just beginning, having the right gear and proper form can vastly improve your running experience.

When should a runner get a gait analysis? Physical therapist Daniel Kuriu recommends multiple analyses. “Always in the beginning of the activity,” he says, but then later “at the intermediate and advanced stage.” The reason is that you may not be the same runner you were when you began. “During the evolution of running, the muscle profile is changed for the better, automatically changing the gait, gaining more amplitude and cadence, resulting in better performance,” he says. “This leads to different needs of the same athlete at different fitness levels.”


The purpose of getting your running gait analyzed

Gait analysis is key to understanding your running style. Knowing your gait can help you grow as a runner and help prevent injuries in the future. Each runner has a specific gait, and not knowing yours could result in an injury.

Gait analysis largely focuses on measuring your pronation, or how your foot naturally rolls inward after your heel strikes the ground. When performed in an ideal manner, this motion absorbs shock from the force of your heel coming into contact with the ground.

Gait analysis determines your pronation with the goal of matching you with a running shoe that adjusts for your specific pronation, making you a more efficient runner and less prone to injury. The proper way to prevent a gait-affected injury is to have a specific running shoe that will cater to your needs:

Neutral pronation is when the foot lands outside of the heel and then rolls naturally inward, keeping ankles aligned. For neutral running shoes, the GEL-NIMBUS™, GEL-CUMULUS™, and the NOVABLAST™ running shoes are recommended.

Overpronation is when the feet roll inward too much, requiring a more sturdy running shoe to keep the foot in place. The GEL-KAYANO™, the GEL-KAYANO™ Lite, and the GT-2000™ running shoes are the leading ASICS structured running shoes for overpronators.

Underpronation, or supination, is where the feet don't roll inward enough. For underpronated feet, you want a shoe that has plenty of cushioning, like the GEL-NIMBUS™ and GEL-NIMBUS™ Lite running shoes.

Even if you’re already wearing the correct footwear, knowing for sure can give you confidence. ASICS FrontRunner member Sarah Booker says, “The experience of gait analysis was beneficial to me in that it confirmed that I was wearing the correct shoes! I rarely get injuries, but I wanted to be a more efficient runner and to future-proof myself against injuries, which was why I went for the gait analysis.”

How much does a gait analysis cost?

A gait analysis is often a free service. At ASICS, you can have a free video gait analysis completed by a professional. It’s a simple exam, and afterward an expert will discuss your running style with you and make suggestions for specific shoes that would best suit your needs.

What is a video gait analysis?

ASICS offers a free video gait analysis to see exactly how you run and what kind of running shoe best suits your gait. The following process is available in select ASICS retail stores and takes around 15 minutes to complete:

  1. Step 1

You will run on an in-store treadmill for a few minutes while a video recording is taken of your stride and feet.

       2. Step 2

    The video will then be played back and examined in slow motion by an ASICS professional. They will then give you a simple explanation of the findings.

           3. Step 3

      Based on your running style, the ASICS professional will then recommend specific running shoe options with cushioning, structured cushioning, or maximum support.

      Aside from matching runners with the right shoe by assessing how your foot moves through a step, video gait analysis also gauges the mechanics and efficiency of the rest of the body to see how a runner can be helped. By playing the video back in slow motion and examining the body in various stages of running, ASICS representatives can possibly flag problematic motion that could lead to injury or reduce running efficiency.

      You may also be able to get a 3D map made of your foot to further inform proper shoe selection and injury prevention.

      What is 3D foot mapping?

      3D foot mapping allows us to perform a more detailed video gait analysis. This technology uses lasers and microcameras along with video to produce a three-dimensional image of your foot. A trained professional can gain valuable information from your foot scan — such as the dimensions of your arch and how your Achilles tendon lines up with your leg. They can then use their findings to identify the most beneficial running shoe for your foot anatomy or even help you get to the bottom of mysterious injuries you keep developing on your runs.

      ASICS 3D foot mapping is available to customers via Running Clinics or the ASICS London store, which is the only store that has the 3D foot-mapping equipment in permanent residence.

      Where to get your gait examined

      Anyone can receive a free video gait analysis at one of our select retail locations. You may also be able to get a gait analysis at some sporting goods stores or your local podiatrist. However, the free gait analysis offered by ASICS is conducted by our trained professionals and comes with on-the-spot running shoe recommendations and state-of-the-art footwear in a wide variety of sizes and styles. You can find your nearest store that offers this service here.

      Ways to determine your running style at home

      You may be asking yourself if there are ways to determine your running style at home, and there is. The best way to examine your gait at home is by video. By taking a video and putting it into slow motion, you’re able to examine your exact movement in each step. Checking the patterns of your shoes and seeing where they are worn out can also be an effective way to tell what your running gait is.

      While determining your gait at home is a possibility, spotting pronation may be more difficult to an untrained eye. Getting a professional gait analysis is highly recommended, and at ASICS, it’s free. Going to ASICS for your gait analysis takes the guesswork out of the process. After performing your analysis, a professional will immediately provide you with suggestions regarding the correct shoe for your particular gait.

      The importance of understanding your running gait type

      For FrontRunner member Rey Smart, getting a gait analysis helped him end a cycle of running injuries. “Gait analysis enabled me to determine the correct type of running shoes to buy. It identified that I am an overpronator and required stability shoes. This was important, as I was wearing neutral shoes and had been suffering from injuries due to not having support whilst running.” Smart knows that good footwear is a must for all runners. “Having the correct running shoes helps me to run more efficiently and prevent injury. “

      Knowing your running gait is crucial; it can be a preventative measure against recurring and new injuries. Having a gait analysis performed and getting the proper running shoe for your unique foot can transform your running experience. The ASICS free gait analysis is a great resource for taking a deeper look into your unique foot and leg movement. And if you have the chance, taking advantage of 3D foot mapping can give you even more insight into your unique running motion. These resources, along with the invaluable experience of our professionally trained ASICS team members, can match you with the right shoe to keep you running longer and happier.