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Running Shoes with Extra Support

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While running is one of the safest kinds of exercise out there, over 30 per cent of runners still report experiencing some kind of injury every year. There are many reasons these injuries occur, and most often you’ll just need a few days off the track, trail or treadmill to recover. Perhaps the most common cause of running problems is using the incorrect footwear – and so, in some cases, selecting running shoes with extra support can be a crucial way to avoid those niggles and pains.

Support running shoes combine a range of features that aim to reduce pain and strain. What’s different about them, and are they right for you?

Who needs running shoes with extra support?

To understand why you would need support running shoes, it’s first useful to understand exactly what’s going on with your feet when you’re running. Different people’s feet move differently as they run, but the position which is least likely to result in injury is the ‘neutral’ running style, where the feet move as follows:

  1. The outside of the heel makes first contact with the ground
  2. The foot then rolls inwards by around 15 degrees
  3. The whole of the foot then comes into contact with the ground
  4. The foot rolls forward in a straight line
  5. The foot pushes off from the ground using all the toes at the same time

This ‘neutral’ style distributes your weight evenly throughout the foot. However, many people’s feet don’t follow this pattern. At Step 2 in the process above, some people either 'overpronate' (which means the foot rolls in by more than 15 degrees, so too much weight ends up on the inside of the foot) or they ‘supinate’ (which means the foot doesn’t roll in enough, so too much weight is carried on the outside of the foot).

Both of these running styles can cause pain and discomfort – and support running shoes are designed to correct this.

How the best support running shoes work

If you either overpronate or supinate, support running shoes help make your run more comfortable and safer. They will typically include the following kinds of features:

  • A solid yet cushioned sole: The soles of support trainers will normally be a little less flexible than standard running shoes – this helps prevent your feet from rolling so easily. These shoes tend to max out the cushioning features too.
  • Firm heel counter: The heel counter is the part of the trainer which holds the back of your foot in place. Running shoes with extra support in this area will keep your ankle stable, centred and less likely to roll.
  • Arch support: Overpronators normally have ‘flat feet’ with almost no arch, while supinators tend to have especially high arches. In both cases, finding shoes which have a medial post to give your arches more support is essential. A medial post is a section of harder foam built into the shoe’s midsole designed to provide you with that necessary extra support.

How to find the best support running shoes

With so many running shoes available, it can be confusing to figure out which shoes are right for you. A good place to start is a shoe finder tool that helps you narrow down your options – try our free shoe finder today and find the right support shoe for you.