Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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Selene Yeager

DOR Podcast #82: The Science of Nutrition and Training for Women (ft. Selene Yeager and Jennifer Giles)

Today Doctors of Running contributors Andrea Myers and Megan Flynn host two very special guests, Selene Yeager and Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles MS RD CSSD. They discuss a broad range of topics surrounding women's health & training–nutrition, hydration, the menstrual cycle, strength training, and more!  

Listen to This Week's Podcast Here!

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About Our Guests This Week

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles

Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles MS RD CSSD, a registered dietitian/nutritionist, is a board certified specialist in sports dietetics. The mission of her private practice for the past 24 years is to educate, motivate and inspire athletes to use food as a tool to become the fastest, strongest and best athlete they can be. Learn more about

Check out Jennifer's website: 
Jennifer's Twitter | Instagram

Selene Yeager is a certified personal trainer, USA Cycling certified coach, pro mountain bike racer, and All-American Ironman triathlete. She's also a top-selling professional health and fitness writer and has authored, co-authored, and contributed to more than two dozen book titles.

See Selene's website at
Selene's Twitter | Instagram | Podcast

0:00 - Introduction
2:08 - Interview: Selene Yeager & Jennifer Giles
3:55 - General macronutrient needs for endurance athletes
7:41 - Specific risks for women while training fasted
13:02 - Recommendations for protein supplements
17:20 - Nutritional strategies for maintaining bone health
23:38 - The connection between the menstrual cycle, health & training
29:04 - Hydrating well before, during, and after exercise
38:38 - Artificial sweeteners and gut health
41:47 - Preworkout hydration drinks
44:00 - Strength training for women
47:33 - Balancing aerobic & anaerobic training
49:27 - Recovering well: nutrition, ice baths, and more
1:03:50 - Improving sleep quality
1:10:33 - Closing questions

Science Blog:

The Challenges of Gender Specific Running Shoes
By Contributor Andrea Myers

ASICS has a page of their website dedicated to explaining how and why they design shoes specifically for women. They state that their research has found that women have a proportionally narrower heel as compared to the forefoot, which led them to develop a narrower last for their women’s shoes. They also modify the cushioning in their shoes because on average, women are lighter than men and do not require as dense of cushioning. They state that the FLYTEFOAM they use in women’s models is less dense than the FLYTEFOAM in men’s models. They also state that women have different running gait parameters than men, due to (on average) wider hips and higher arches. ASICS says that they are addressing this finding by developing a gender-specific trusstic system that they call the “Space Trusstic System.” This feature is not listed in the specs of the Nimbus Lite 3, but is listed as a feature of the Nimbus 24. There is no information regarding why ASICS utilizes different drop for men’s and women’s shoes. This is speculation on my part, but it could be because they have made the foam less dense and therefore more compressible. This would match my experience that the shoe does not feel like a 13mm drop shoe because of how much the foam compresses. It would be interesting for ASICS to describe the rationale behind the 3mm difference in drop.

My bike fitting experience makes me question whether gender specific running shoes are really necessary. The cycling world went all in on women’s specific bikes and shoes 15 years ago, and have completely backtracked in the past 5 years due to massive data collection done by bike fitters and retailers. The assumption that the cycling industry made regarding women’s bikes was that women have proportionally longer legs and shorter torsos as compared to men, so they need bike frames designed to match. Women’s shoes were made on narrower lasts and with narrower heels. Retul, which is a bike fitting company now owned by Specialized, compiled data from 7750 bike fits and determined that there was no correlation between gender and limb/torso proportions. They also analyzed data from 9831 foot scans and found little to no gender-related difference in the proportion of the length of the foot to the width of the ball of the foot. This data led Specialized to conclude that there is no need for gender specific bike frame geometry or shoe design. They emphasized the need for a wide range of frame and shoe sizes to accommodate men and women of various heights and foot sizes.

Similarly, running shoes that are designed for a stereotypical “woman’s foot” may fit some women best (those who have narrower heels in relation to their forefoot), but many women may fit better in a men’s shoe, and vice versa. A 130 lb. male runner may benefit from less dense cushioning in a shoe as much as a 130 lb. female runner. If a women’s shoe is designed for a runner with a higher arch, it may not be as comfortable for a woman with a low to moderate arch height. I would be interested in seeing aggregate data from ASICS or from Superfeet’s ME3D system (or similar foot scanning systems) to see exactly what gender-related foot differences have been identified. I think that runners will be best served when shoes are designed for particular body characteristics (forefoot width, arch height, runner weight, etc.), as opposed to generalizations about male and female anthropometrics that may not be accurate.


The Best Running Shoes for Women. ASICS website. . July 20, 2021. Accessed January 4, 2022.

Jett, R., Chabra, S., and Carver, T. When to Share Product Platforms: An Anthropometric Review. . Accessed January 4, 2022.

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