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Our Flawed Running Shoe Selection Process: Great Post by Ian Griffiths on

Adidas shop in Tokyo, Japan (description at fl...

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I just read an excellent, evidence based post on running shoe selection by sports podiatrist Ian Griffiths over on In the post Griffiths does a great job picking apart our current process for selection of running shoes. Among other things, he discusses how we arrived at our current situation, why pronation control is a poor way to choose a shoe, why aligning all runners to the same neutral position makes no sense, why the ubiquitous wet footprint test is “nonsense,” and why simple comfort may be the best criterion upon which to base a shoe choice.

I’ve written on many of these same topics before here on Runblogger, and Griffiths does an excellent job summarizing everything in one place.  He also provides relevant citations to the scientific literature to back up his claims. I highly recommend that you give it a read:

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.


  1. Makes sense! Consistent with the referenced article’s conclusion for years I had been told that I need “stability” shoes, although I’d always felt most comfortable in neutral shoes when I’d tried them on solely for curiosity’s sake. After years of following this dogma, over the past 18-months I’ve made the successful transition to primarily minimalist neutral shoes (esp. the Saucony Kinvaras and the Nike Free Run+), wearing Newton stability training shoes for 12+ mile long runs and races (their stability element is much more modest than my former Brooks Adrenaline’s). As a result of this shoe transition and my conversion towards a mid-foot strike my feet are much stronger and I enjoy the miles more. Bottom line is to purchase shoes from a good runners’ store which accepts returns, since it’s difficult to discern a shoe’s comfort *while running* in a store.

  2. i’ve almost got about 6-7 people to start going minimalist, friends and teammates
    however, some are hard to sell on the whole idea
    being 18, and wanting to be a physical therapist, i think it’s good for me to be researching this kind of stuff for starters

  3. Andrew W. Lischuk says:

    For years now I’ve seen discussions on this topic and being an avid reader of Runner’s World and several of the online blogs about this subject I’ve come accross the same underlying problem: The lack of adequate prospective evaluation of shoe selection and how that correlates to injury or type of injury. The question therefore lies in how can we design a study to look into this. I’m up for a detailed discussion on that. There are millions of us, runners, out there. Most that I’ve met on my runs are highly intelligent and curious people who I’m sure we can recruit to do a study. How about prospectively following college distance runners, logging thier training shoes, doing footprint analysis, measuring pronation, taping their running patterns and then following thier injuries over their four year careers would be a start. I know I’m going to hit up Orbis to look up as much on this as possible.

  4. David Jewell says:

    As with any “study” we are left with more questions than answers. As one of the people who worked on the adidas 1 it’s not as close as he seems to think that there will be more intelligent shoes.
    His findings are nothing new. It’s been well known that runners with dead flat feet can run 100 miles a week and have not injury problems. Yet the next one with dead flat feet get’s injured all the time. He is absolutely right that we give shoes way too much credit. Running shoes don’t cause injury and very few prevent injury. Runner’s cause their own injuries and can prevent them with smart attention paid to detail.


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