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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Quick Tests for Running/Walking Shoes

Now that the weather has warmed up and summer is finally here, many of us are trying to get outside as much as possible.  In order to make those walks and runs safe, it is important to choose a good shoe.  Every persons feet are different, and there are many considerations in choosing the perfect shoe.  The following is simply a few quick tests you can do at the store (or on your current shoes) to see if they will give you the proper support.

Shoe Flexibility Test:

Your foot is made up of many bones and joints that all work together to move you forward.  The joints of your foot are designed to bend at specific points.  This test makes sure that the bending of the shoe happens at the right place.  Bend the shoe as shown in the picture above.  If you cannot bend the shoe or if there isno resistance at all, do not purchase the shoe.  This means that the shoe is either too rigid, and will not provide enough support.  A major movement point of your foot is at the balls of your feet, and the shoe should only bend at this point,  There are often grooves on the under side of the shoe at this point to allow flexibility.

Dish Rag Test:

This test is performed just as it sounds.  Just try and wring out the shoe like a dish cloth.  This is another test of stability of the shoe, and it should not twist around very much.  A small amount of "twist" is ok.

Pinch Test:

When performing the pinch test, look for shoes that have a “rigid” heel counter to ensure that your heel is stable in the shoe.  Take the two sides of the heel with your thumb and forefinger and squeeze.  You should be met with resistance. 

Shelf Test:

This is more of an observational test. This test tells if the boot (upper part) of the shoe contributes to stability.  If your shoes look like the shoes above (boot falling in), dont buy them or buy a new pair.  This tells you that the boot is not contributing to the stability of the shoe.  This is especially important for sports where there are alot of side-to-side movements. 

These are general quick tests for picking running/walking shoes.  If you have flat feet, excessively high arches, bunyons, toe problems, etc, you may benefit from a more detailed evaluation.  In these cases, Custom Orthotics may be prescribed. 
If you have any questions, or would like us to take a look at your shoes please give us a call at 747-0844

Dr. Jeff Marshall, BScKin, DC, CSCS

For more info about our clinic, visit