This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in April of 2022. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCRZG7jrIvI
Bob: Today we're going to talk about never throw your old shoes out until you do this. So Brad's going to take the way, the lead on this.
Brad: So, we have a number of shoes here. They protect our feet. They help us balance. They help us maneuver on uneven surfaces, but they also tell the story about what can happen to you in the future. They don't only affect your feet, but the shoe can tell you how it can affect your knee, your hip, and your low back. And we're going to show you how to read this information. It's not that hard actually.
Bob: It's like reading the tea leaves.
Brad: Yeah. And you don't want to just do it once, you want to do it as every time you wear out a pair of shoes. You'll see how it can change, like myself, when I was in my thirties and in PT school, compared to now my shoes wear different.
Bob: Is it because you changed your running or just because you're older?
Brad: I don’t know. That's another story. We want to get on with the program.
Bob: So, we want to look at wear patterns.
Brad: Correct. Well, not only just on the bottom of the shoe, but there's more than that, but we'll get to that. We're going to look at the bottom of the shoe where it contacts the ground, the floor, wherever you're walking or running and see how that looks. And we're going to show you just a general pattern. This is actually how big Bob's foot is. I traced his shoe.
Bob: I can't believe that.
Brad: Yeah, isn't that amazing?
Bob: Yeah, because I don't have that big of feet.
Brad: Anyways, so here's the bottom of a shoe, the shaded portion represents a normal wear pattern. You heel strike typically a little more on the outside of the heel, it rolls across the foot more on the outside and then goes to the center and there is a nice, more of an even wear pattern there.
Bob: This is the right shoe by the way. So, my right side.
Brad: If you're going to buy a pair of shoes, and you have a pattern like this, you’re probably going to ask for a pair of stability shoes. If you have a good shoe salesperson, they'll know what you're talking about. If they don't, go somewhere else, get a new salesperson.
Brad: Now we're going to go to, if someone is flat footed or a pronator is what we call that. Here's the right foot again. The wear pattern here is on the inside of the foot. And with that, a motion control shoe is what you want to look for.
Bob: Now that's a very stiff shoe.
Brad: Yeah, there's very thick soles on those.
Bob: You can't bend it like you could bend some shoes.
Brad: No, not at all.
Bob: It is just rigid.
Brad: Yep. And they're a little more expensive. But if you are a pronator, your whole leg internally rotates. It can stress your knee, stress your hip and your back. So, this is one of those patterns that you want to pay attention to, so you don't get problems up the chain.
Bob: Now I want to warn you too, that these shoes, anyone you pick, still has to feel good. You should put it on, and it feels good immediately. If it hurts or doesn't feel right, that's not the shoe for you.
Bob: Don't go out thinking you are going to eventually wear into it. It should feel good at the store.
Brad: I had a salesman, my daughter's a little flat footed and she put one of these on and she said, "it feels like there's a big bump there and it wasn't comfortable." He said, "oh, it'll be okay, you know, give her a couple weeks." And I said, "no, we'll try something else."
Brad: The next one is a supinator. That means you walk on the side of your foot. We’ve got real life examples of all these, except for the pronator. But we've got some nice examples that wears on the outside of the foot. People who supinate have more of a tendency to roll their ankle. You can sprain your ankle because they do supinate. And that one you'll need a cushion shoe. Typically, it's a rigid foot.
Bob: Yeah, my wife likes cushion shoes. But I typically think, in your case, it's because you externally rotate your hips. Your hips are shaped that way, the bones are.
Brad: Right. Yeah, my walking pattern is different than my running pattern.
Bob: Which is very interesting. And if you are a runner and you want to be a forefoot runner, in other words, your heel doesn't touch the ground as much. You're going to see the wear primarily in the forefoot. Maybe a little bit in the heel but not so much.
Bob: And that's what you want to see it.
Brad: Right. Then you know you're doing what you want. Oftentimes a minimalist shoe is what people use for that. Which is nice cause they're usually a little cheaper.
Bob: Well, the idea with the minimalist shoe too is that you're trying to strengthen the foot.
Brad: Sure, you're right.
Bob: You know, there's a whole movement out there, that's saying that our shoes are getting too big, they're making our feet too weak.
Brad: Too much support. Yeah, and I've been using minimalist shoes for three years now because I went to a fore foot running and I'm very happy with them.
Bob: Did you have to work your way into the minimalist shoe or were you able to use it day one and just keep using it?
Brad: I went to a minimalist and I just did it. It took me a couple years. I had sore calves. It's not an easy transition. But that's another video.
Bob: Well, that's what I was thinking, maybe use an old shoe and a new shoe, and go back and forth.
Brad: Oh yeah. We could do that. That's an option, where you have two different shoes you run with.
Bob: You're supposed to switch off all the time anyway.
Brad: Yeah. If you're a serious runner, run with two pair of shoes and alternate them. Anything to make it cost more, it seems.
Brad: All right here we have some real live shoes from both Bob and I. So what you're looking for, when you look at your shoes before you throw them away. Look at, this is Bob's shoe.
Bob: This a walking shoe for me.
Brad: This is one of your walking shoes. You can see the pattern here is wore. Just like a normal wear pattern. It's kind of hard to see, but you can see it's wore on the forefoot. We have some more wear on the outside heel.
Bob: You can't see the ridges on the black section anymore. It's flattened out.
Brad: So, Bob you're normal.
Bob: Well, I've got high arches. Surprisingly high.
Brad: You don't have any foot, knee pain, or hip pain from anything?
Brad: Okay, and this is just a walking shoe. One thing I do want to mention is, on these shoes you'll see the outsole, which is usually a dark colored material, and then the white color is softer. When this dark part gets through and it hits the white, like it almost is right here. You need to get rid of the shoe. We have some better examples of that.
Bob: The problem with that much wear is it'll start altering your walking. It'll start enhancing whatever problem you have.
Brad: And it may not just happen over a period of time. Once it wears out, you get to that soft cushion, it can wear out quickly, and within a few weeks, you can really start developing some knee pain or hip pain for whatever reason. And it's because your shoes are worn out.
Bob: Yeah. I have bought probably a hundred pair of shoes, if not more in my life.
Brad: Now this is my running shoe. And here's the midsole, it's a minimalist shoe, so it’s all the way across. And if you look it is completely worn out. And I did this so that I can do this video. Plus I didn't feel like buying a pair. But I had no foot pain, no pain, but I did get rid of them about a month ago. But this is pretty severe. I'm down into the cushion, the white part of the shoe. That's air-filled foam if you will. And you can see it's really starting to take ahold there, and that makes my foot tip outward.
Brad: Now, if you look at a walking shoe, I use it for yard work now, but you could see here, it wore through the outsole. You can see right there is the end sole. But it's pretty normal pattern here.
Brad: Right across where it should be. So, my running is clearly different than how I walk.
Bob: Right. But you walk with your feet turned out.
Brad: I do, yep.
Bob: And you run with your feet turned in, you keep them straight.
Brad: Exactly. That's why we have the wear on the outside. So, this is my new running shoe. It's minimalist. I don't know if I'm going to like this one, but it was on sale. And I think it fit good enough. We're going to see. So, it's flexible.
Bob: They are cushion shoes, aren't they?
Brad: But it has no outsole. It's all just air cushiony. I have a feeling these are going to wear out pretty quick. I'll keep an eye on them. I have a little bit where the blue is, so we'll see how this goes. This is what you need to do with your shoes is check them out and buy shoes and pay attention to what kind of shoes you're wearing, and which ones feel better and go with the ones that feel better on your feet, knees.
Bob: That has a pretty big heel yet for a minimalist.
Brad: Yeah, it's pretty light though, and the whitist blue part kind of goes up higher than it actually is because it cuts up, so it's not a true minimalist but it's more in that direction.
Brad: What happened was I wanted to get the exact pair I had. Well, this is two years ago. They don't make them anymore because they're not pretty anymore. I don't know, same color. But wait Bob, there's more.
Bob: There's more.
Brad: There's more, Bob has other part, his issues. You want to talk about your issue on the top of the shoe.
Bob: Yeah, so if you look at my feet, this is not a good thing to see, but I have hammer toes and that means the extensors, the muscles right on top of the foot, are overactive.
Brad: They pull your ankle up and your toes up.
Bob: These are firing when they shouldn't be really to be honest with you, they're over firing. They gave me tendonitis a couple times throughout my running career. Right up on the top of the foot. And on both of my running shoes here, I have a hole. I actually wore a hole out.
Brad: I've had this too in the past, but I've corrected my running.
Bob: I've corrected mine now, my latest ones now, I don't have it anymore.
Brad: And how did you correct it?
Bob: When I run, I think more about relaxing and pushing off on my feet or push off on my toes. When I don't think about it, I actually lift my toes up. It's weird.
Brad: I did the same thing. I thought about keeping my toes relaxed when I lifted up my foot and I was able to control it and it wasn't as hard as fore foot running to change.
Bob: Right, it doesn't take that much, but it is funny I got that tendonitis on the top of the foot. I'm like, what, how, why am I having pain on the top of my foot? It didn’t make any sense to me.
Brad: So, if you're having that, that's probably what it is. And you're probably going to see this pattern. I can't believe I'm sticking my hand in your shoe. I do want to say one thing, this can be a very complicated topic. If you're having problems in your knees and you can't figure this out or you don't want to, you can get gait analysis on a treadmill with cameras on you and you're going to need a trained individual, probably a therapist, or a trained athletic trainer, and they will do a detailed gate analysis. They look at your running or walking in slow motion to see how they can correct it by orthotics, inserts, other changes.
Bob: There might be problems that are causing it further up the leg.
Brad: Yeah. They may give you stretches or something, you know that may be a necessary thing. But for most people, this will give you a good understanding. I don't know if this is going to do anything regarding our biggest dilemma.
Bob: Brad and I can fix just about anything.
Brad: Except for...
Bob: A broken heart.
Brad: Right, and this shoe thing is not going to even touch that.
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