Combat Fitness
Where the rubber meets the road

Maj. Jean Butts
435th Medical Operations Squadron

***image1***A new pair of footwear could make the difference in a bad back or better fitness score.

Running shoes are designed to help absorb the shock created from the pounding of running, but this shock absorption decreases over time.
There are several ways to tell if new shoes are needed.

First, have a look at the current shoes by setting them on a table. The heel should be square with respect to the table. If they are tilted out or in, or the tread is worn out or unevenly worn, it’s time for a new pair.

How they tilt will provide a good indicator on what shoe type is needed.
Another factor that determines the life of a running shoe is mileage.

Generally, running shoes should be replaced every 400 to 600 miles or every six to nine months. If running shoes are used for other activities, this factor should be included in the mileage estimate.

Environmental factors, such as extreme heat, or storing shoes in the car can also cause the soles to break down faster and lower the mileage.

The physical characteristics of the feet also play an important part in choosing the right type of running shoe.

“Knowing your foot structure is essential in selecting the proper shoe type that can prevent many knee and foot overuse injuries,” said Maj. Aileen Boone, 435th Medical Operations Group, chief of physical therapy.

There are several ways to determine the best shoe type, said Major Boone.
One of the easiest ways is to perform a ‘wet test.’ Place a piece of paper (dark construction paper works well) large enough to accommodate your foot on the floor. Wet the bottom of your foot and step onto the paper.

“Examine your footprint,” she said. “If about half your arch is visible, you have a normal arch. If you arch is nearly the width of your foot, you have a flat foot and likely overpronate when you run. If you just see the ball of your foot and your heel with a space between or thin line connecting, you have a high arch.”

Running shoes can be divided into three categories:
-cushioned shoes

People with normal arches, should use a stability shoe, which have moderate support and cushioning. People with flat feet can benefit from the arch support present in motion-control shoes. And those with high arches, who feel like a “heavy runner,” should use cushioned shoes.

For a more in-depth analysis consider a shoe store that analyzes specific types of running styles. People needing assistance may also stop by the Ramstein Health and Wellness Center, Bldg. 2117, for more information and handouts on running shoes.