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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DOR Podcast #118: The Best Running Shoes of 2022, Part 1

It's that time of year! We've tested over 140 shoes in 2022 (!!!) and we're excited to share our favorites of 2022. Over the next two episodes, Matt, David, and Nathan will share their picks for best shoes that came out in 2022. In Part 1, we're starting with our picks for Daily Trainers, Max Cushion, Stable Neutral, Stability and Trail.

Listen to This Week's Podcast Here!

Direct Links: Apple | Spotify | Anchor

The Subjective: what's your favorite way to cross-train? 

00:00 - Intro 
03:22 - Best Daily Trainers 
14:11 - Best Max Cushion Shoes 
21:54 - Best Stable Neutral Shoes 
31:34 - Best Stability Shoes 
40:06 - Best Trail Shoes
46:49 - Wrap-up

Science Feature:
Men vs. Women's Shoe Sizing 101

This is where a great deal of questions come from. In US sizes, the difference between men's and women's footwear is about 1.5 sizes and B to D width. A US men's 9 is a US women's 10.5 and vice versa (just with a slight width difference). A B width is considered a normal woman's width by the industry and a D width is considered normal for men. Your actual results may vary.  Few companies actually make men's and women's specific lasted shoes. This was unheard of until recently, despite the amount of literature demonstrating significant differences between the shape, sizes. There is clear research demonstrating that women have particular differences in the arch, forefoot, lateral aspect of the foot and the first toe compared to men (Wunderlich & Cavanagh, 2001). There are differences in the widths and lengths obviously between men and women's feet, but there are also height differences, although the research varies on this (Krauss et al., 2008; Lou et al., 2009). Given differences in bone structure, there are also differences in articular (joint) motions, hence the need for differences in flex grooves between men's and women's shoes (Ferrari, Hopkinson & Linney, 2004). 

Most footwear companies, until recently, participated in the act of "Shrink It And Pink It." Meaning that the majority of women's footwear was based on a men's last (shape) and simply narrowed, shortened and styled with women's colors. Some companies have been changing this, most notably Altra, Reebok and Asics, who have shoes with specific women's lasts. Some of Nike's performance shoes have women's specific lasts and the company seems to be improving. Mizuno is noted for gender specific flex grooves in their soles. And while the others may at least one women's specific shoe, they may not be as prevalent as you think.  Given that most of the industry still does not make women's specific shoes, both men and women should feel comfortable switching between gendered shoes. For women with wider feet and men with narrower feet, don't be pushed away by a certain gender assignment to a shoe. Finding a comfortable fitting shoe may be one of the more important ways to prevent injury (Nigg et al., 2015). Thus both genders should feel comfortable switching. As mentioned earlier, there is about a 1.5 size difference between genders. So for a women looking at a men's shoe, add 1.5.  So a men's size 7.5 would be a women's size 9. For the male looking for a narrower fitting shape in a women's shoe, a women's size 10.5 will be a men's size 9 (narrow).

While some may be concerned regarding different flex grooves, posting and more that are supposedly different between different gender footwear, remember that feet frequently do their own thing regardless of what you put them in (Nigg et al., 2017). Dr. Benno Nigg has pioneered the theory of the "Preferred Movement Pathway" and this suggests that although footwear may influence to a mild degree what happens, it is difficult to completely alter what the foot does. Each person has their own unique movement path, which makes designing shoes for a population challenging (generalization can be difficult). So again, like my advice previously, just find a comfortable fitting shoe and ignore the gender assigned to it for now.

Recent Episodes

#113: The Truth about Shin Splints
#114: How to Pick the Best Running Shoe for Race Day
#115: Recovery Strategies for Returning to Running
#116: Are Super Trainers Worth it?
#117: Cycling, but for Runners

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The Best Max Cushion Shoes of 2022

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