Different Soles For Different Souls
Navigating An Ever-Changing Foot and Ever-Changing Shoes!
“My feet are getting bigger!?” As FIT specialists at Playmakers we often hear this everyday. The concept of our feet getting bigger decades after adolescence is a natural phenomenon medically and a psuedo, ‘Human Body Update’. As we age, the weight of our body can cause the arch of our foot to drop down or flatten out. It’s not that our foot is actually growing, it’s just changing shape. When this flattening occurs, we gain a little bit of length in our foot. However, these changes don’t have to be permanent. With some simple strengthening exercises, we can generate muscle and cause the arch in our foot to retract back up! Sub 4-minute Mile runner Alan Webb did foot strengthening throughout his rigorous training tenure and as a result was documented going from a size 12 to a size 10. While this may be more of an extreme example, it does illustrate the physiological change that can occur in our foot structure through diligent foot strengthening. Why should I consider strengthening my foot? Quite simply, the stronger our feet, the less likely we are to see aches, pains and injuries. As a member of our Playmakers education team and a runner myself, I like to think that I’m diligent with my foot strengthening exercises, but…life happens. My two kids keep me plenty busy and I often don’t find myself with the time to dedicate to consistent foot strengthening. However, despite how busy we all are in today’s age, the fact remains: foot strengthening can make a lasting impact on the rest of your life. Click here for a more detailed description of easy to implement foot strengthening exercises.
Equally important as working on general foot strength, is getting into footwear that provides the right type of support. While you may know whether you have a high arch or a flat foot, it can be more difficult to identify how much movement is happening in your foot and lower leg, and whether it’s too much or too little. In addition, the goal for footwear should be getting you into shoes that meet your support, stability, and cushion needs and preferences. Considering the running and walking footwear of today, there are three general categories: Neutral, Stability and Motion Control. Neutral footwear is designed to allow fluid motion for a foot that may already be moving well and maintaining proper alignment. Stability footwear has traditionally been defined as shoes with corrective technologies designed to limit over-pronation, or for simplicity, excessive tipping inward at the ankle. Because our feet are the foundation of our bodies, it is important that we consider footwear that ensures the foot is properly aligned throughout the day. Poor alignment beginning at the foot can have negative effects as it moves up our body. Lastly, motion control shoes combine features such as a wider platform for increased stability, with corrective technologies to help guide and control the movement of your foot and ankle.
Perhaps you have a shoe that you love. What happens when it gets an update?!
Here's the deal: shoe manufacturers work diligently to ensure updates and changes to their footwear that will better address consumers support, stability and cushion needs and preferences. Which in turn, correlates to a whole lot of options for you! Not sure just how many options, come check out our shoe wall.
There's a lot of options out there when it comes to buying the right shoes for you. At Playmakers, we pride ourselves on having a staff that is passionate about helping YOU and YOUR feet. Beginning with our six-step FIT process, we will help to navigate our shoe wall and provide some great suggestions based on a detailed gait analysis. While no two people may have the same foot, we are confident that we will help you find an option you will love! To make sure you love your new shoes, feel free to test them out for 30 days or so. If you find that the shoe you’ve chosen doesn’t quite work, bring it back and we would love the opportunity to help you find a new shoe that will help you run, walk, and live.
Spencer Beatty ran cross country / track & field at Michigan Sate University and is full time at Playmakers as a Team-Leader, Good Form Running Coach and is a member of the education team. He loves his family time with his wife Carlie, 3yr old daughter Eloise and 5 month old son Sterling. Aside from trying to run as much as possible and help others with their running in his busy stage of life, he also has a passion for surfing on the Great Lakes.