Finding The Right Shoe

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | By Hal Higdon
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Got a question about running? You're in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon's Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


I’m looking for some shoe advice. I overpronate and developed knee problems while running my first marathon in October. A doctor diagnosed this as Runner’s Knee. Currently I run wearing Nike Lunarglide 4's. I wore them first in the marathon itself. (I know now that was a bad idea). Is it possible these are not the best shoes for me? I’m currently looking at the Brooks Beast or the Brooks Adrenalin as a replacement. Or should I stick with my current shoe and give it a chance?


To explain a few of the terms above, someone who overpronates has an uneven footstrike, which causes the leg to fail to absorb shock as well as someone who pronates normally. As a result, this places extra stress on the knee, twisting it, eventually causing what has come to be called Runner’s Knee. Quoting from OrthoInfo: “Runner's knee is a term used to refer to a number of medical conditions that cause pain around the front of the knee (patellofemoral pain). These conditions include anterior knee pain syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment, and chondromalacia patella.”

I know. My eyes rolled when I found that description on the Internet. What that means is, your knee hurts. This could have been caused by your running 26 miles in a new pair of shoes. If you had run only 13, or had gradually broken in the shoes, with short runs of 3- 6 miles, you might not be asking me the above question. I can’t respond to which brand or which model is best for you. Shoe companies change too fast, and even Runner’s World has a hard time keeping up. The fact that you say you overpronate suggests that you already have been seen by a doctor. I hope it was a podiatrist, the Hurt Runner’s best friend. Possibly the perfect pair of shoes, or inserts in those shoes, or (the extreme) orthotics, can cure your Runner’s Knee. Or maybe it was only the stress of that single marathon. If the knee problems continue, you need to put yourself in the tender and loving hands of a medical specialist.

There are so many shoes on the market and the companies change models so often that it's impossible for any individual to keep up. RW tries. A good running podiatrist might be able to offer advice beyond what you get in your local shoe store.

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