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Monday, May 12, 2014

Top Running Shoes - Podiatrist Recommended


Podiatrist Recommended

I'm glad that the hype over the Vibram FiveFinger minimalist running shoes are being exposed for what they really are - a poor excuse for shoegear. The Vibram company just settled a class action lawsuit for $3.75 million for making false claims about health benefits runners get from wearing the Vibram FiveFingers. I suspect that the $3.75 million is peanuts compared to all the medical costs associated with the injuries caused by the FiveFinger shoes. 

Here are my top three picks for running shoes:

New Balance 1540

Brooks Beast

Hoka One One - Stinson Tarmac

Each shoe has a thick and rigid sole so there is less motion through the foot, which allows for more protection of the foot and ankle joints, tendons and ligaments. Less motion through the foot translates to less damage to your joints, decreased chance of injury, decreased mechanical strain, and improved performance. 
As far as improving your performance, think of it this way: if you are running around barefoot or in a minimalist shoe and if you have 'biomechanically challenged' feet, then you could be wasting a certain percent of you energy because you are being forced to use 'x' amount of energy trying to stabilize your foot and ankle or by compensating. When you biomechanically control your foot with a thick, rigid sole and a more  protective running shoe, then you can put that previously 'wasted' energy into performance and speed. 

One of the analogies that I use when discussing the advantages of a protective running shoe to my patients is: the car industry has robots that close the car door over and over to see at what number the car door hinge breaks. Think of the joints in your foot as 'hinges'. All hinges have a 'tipping point' where damage is done and the hinge will eventually break down. By wearing a running shoe that protects the 'hinge', you have increased the life of that hinge, which means more miles of running over the course of your life. 

Runners love to run and, as a Podiatrist, my goal is to keep you running for as long as possible and with as few problems as possible.  

I know that the minimalist runners get upset when anyone suggests that minimalist shoes are not good, but I would like to say that all of the information that I am offering is designed to keep you running longer with less problems so you see less doctors. The minimalist enthusiasts love to knock what I am saying, but I would also remind them that as a Podiatist I have a very specific point of view. No one comes to my office and pays me a $50 co-pay to tell me how great their feet are feeling. By the time someone makes an appointment with me, they are having enough pain to interrupt and disrupt their lives, not to mention their running activites. 

I also recommend combining a great running shoe with a custom-molded orthotic, which is often covered by health insurance. If you can't get a custom-molded orthotic, I recommend an over-the-counter insert such as Footsteps or Powerstep. If you are recovering from a Lisfranc's injury or any foot or ankle injury and you are trying to return to running, I would recommend talking to your Podiatrist about possible bracing and physical therapy as you ease back into running activites. 

I recently returned to light jogging and I am wearing the Hoka One One, which I purchased from the Runner's Den, located at 6505 North 16th Street in Phoenix. Scott was very helpful and advised me that if you have a history of Achilles Tendonitis, it is important that you stretch before running in the Hoka One One. The shoe has so much shock absorption that it can cause some added 'play' in the  Achilles tendon, which can cause issues if you have ever had Achilles tendonitis. 

Scott also told me that the shoe that gives them the least amount of returns are the Brooks Beast. He stated that people who get the Brooks Beast periodically return and simply request a new pair. 

I have been recommending the NB 1540 for years and it has roll-bar technology with heel cushioning and is a great choice for anyone having heel pain or Hallux Limitus. 

I hope this was helpful! 

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy



LostInStyle said...

I'm glad to see this post. For some reason your blog is not updating in Feedly. I thought you had stopped blogging. Glad I checked the website. Can you recommend a flat, ballet style shoe with arch support, cushioning and good heel control? i have very high arches and narrow heels. Most narrow sizes are too narrow for me but it's hard to find a medium that runs narrow.

loe lemeo said...

perfect blog.top running shoes..my store has great running shoes,if you love it,visit my store to get them..the westscarp brand shoes.


Linda S. said...

Dr. McCarthy, are these shoes good for walking too, or are there better ones to wear? Thanks.


Anonymous said...

I love your blog thank you so very much! I now have a pair of Keen Newport H2 so will be able to enjoy kayaking and taking my kids to the beach again!

I pronate and wear custom orthotics, and am most comfortable in my NB stability runners, and Naots for work. However, I find my runners aren't great for hiking, and my Kenn Toyah casual shoes don't have enough support for so much walking.

Would something like the Merrell Siren/Kenn targhee II hiking shoe have enough pronation control, or should I still with runners for hiking?

Thanks so much

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Anonymous,
The best hiking shoe I've found is the 5-10 Camp Four. If you get a Merrell's or Keens's - just make sure that is has as little bend and flex as possible. Happy Hiking!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Linda S,
The best walking shoe that I know about is New Balance 928. Also, the NB 1540, even though it is a running shoe, can work well as a walking shoe. For older, more sedentary patients, I recommend the NB 812.
Have a great day!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi LostInStyle,

That's a tough one! The closest I can think of is either a Earthies brand shoe or a Doc Martin's ballet flat (Christina?). I would recommend that you add a custom-molded dress insert or a heat-molded insert to the shoes.

Don't forget that if you can take a shoe with a leather sole to a Cobbler and ask him or her to add a full length shank with a sole buildup on the bottom of the shoe, which will make the shoe much more comfortable.

Hope this was helpful and sorry about the feed problem!

Angela Killpack said...

These are great recommendations for people that have foot problems! I need arch support in my shoes. No way would I be going to a minimalist shoe! I recently got a foot pain after walking around in flip flops and it's only started to feel better after wearing my pair of trail shoes that has more support. http://www.chicagofeet.com/

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Angela,
Check out my article 'My feet hurt, top 10 things to do to relieve foot pain today' for more info on this subject. Glad to hear that you are feeling better!
Thanks for reading,

Mia said...

Hi Dr McCarthy I love your blog. Thank you so much for taking the time to inform people like me with foot problems but have no clue what shoes to wear. I wish you were in my area NYC so I could schedule an appointment to meet in person and ask my question. But here goes, I am aproximately 80 lbs over weight and I work as a teacher's assistant for children with special needs. I spend most of my day standing a lot, walking and I need to run skip and do other exercises with the children during gym. I also occasionally have to run after a child when they get wanderlust and run away from the class. As of late my feet, have been swollen and hurting. Also my ankles, calves and knees hurt. What shoes can you suggest for me or anyone in my line of work being overweight and having to do what I do? Thank you in advance for your time.

Sal Wesson said...

Thanks for this post! My podiatrist recently told me I have to change my running shoes, but I didn't really know where to start. These look like some great options.

Sal Wesson | http://www.chicagofeet.com/

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Mia,
I'm sorry for the delayed response!
I would get the New Balance 928's with an excellent insert like Powerstep or a custom-molded orthotic. Make sure you are wearing RX Crocs with the strap to the back in the house as a dress shoe. Please check out my article MY FEET HURT: TOP 10 THINGS TO DO TO ALLEVIATE FOOT PAIN TODAY for more information. If your foot pain is not resolving quickly with these recommendations, follow up with a podiatrist for further evaluation and x-rays.
Let me know how you are doing!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Sal,
Thanks for reading and please let me know how the running shoes work out for you!

Andre Franklin said...

I wish that I had seen this article sooner. My last job had me walking, pushing and lifting every day, and it was very difficult to find shoes that would keep my feet from hurting. Had I known about podiatrists before, I probably would have met with one to help solve the problem.
Andre Franklin | http://thefootandanklecarecenter.com/

Anand Aggarwal said...

I'm a shoe designer with an obsession for shoes, life and love.
Women's Shoes

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Edmond Vandergraff said...

I have done my fair share of running in my day, and I can agree that good shoes really make a difference. I used to use shoes with almost no arch. I began having foot, ankle, and even knee problems. Trust what your podiatrist says, and get a nice pair of shoes, even if it costs a little bit more.
Edmond Vandergraff | http://gregpoundfootanklelegspecialist.com/services.html

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Thanks for the kind words, Edmond!
Good shoes are an investment and good shoes will keep runners running!
Have a great day,

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Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog.. Great stuff! I noticed you mention the Brooks Beast but not the Brooks Arial (women's version) in your list. What's your take on the Arial vs the NB 1540?

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Anonymous,
The NB 1540 is better than the Brooks Ariel because the NB has a wider base through the midfoot area and it has roll-bar techonology. The men's Brooks Beast is as good as the NB 1540, but the women's Brooks aren't as good as the NB.
Thank you for reading the blog!

Unknown said...

I have been wearing Hoka Stinson Tarmac and Stinson EVO Trail shoes for two years. I fractured my foot(3rd. Metatarsal)running on a trail. I also use Sole brand insoles in the Hoka Shoes. I wear Crocs in the house. I rarely went barefoot. I am not sure why or how I fractured my foot. It just started hurting like a bad cramp. I thought I was doing everything 'right' to take care of my legs, joints; and feet during my training. I was running varying distances three times a week training for a 50K. I completed the event and took a two week break from running. I had built up distance and was on a 7 mile run when my foot begin hurting resulting in the fracture. So, I'm not sure the structured shoes are that helpful in preventing fractures. I wore Brooks and New Balance shoes prior to switching to Hoka shoes. I have been running for 18 years. This was the first time I had a foot fracture.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Unknown,
Sorry to hear about the 3rd met fracture. Did you mean 50K? Or did you mean 5K?

There are so many variable factors as to why you developed a fracture. I hope that you have a good Pod or Ortho that is treating you for the fracture. Have you had a Bone Density test recently to see if you have decreased bone density, which can lead to increased risk of fractures? Make sure that you are following up with your PCP for at least an annual exam to make sure that you don't have an underlying systemic disease that increases your risk of fractures.

Unfortunately, you can do everything 'right' and still develop foot problems and injuries. The motion control running shoes will help decrease the chance of injury. If you had been running in a minimalist shoe, you most likely would have developed the stress fracture much sooner. Think about it this way, to heal the 3rd met fracture, your doctor placed you in a boot that allows no motion through the fractured bone so that your body can heal the fracture. When you return to running, you will need a running shoe with a thick, rigid sole to decrease motion through the fracture area so that it does not reoccur. The last thing you want to do is return to running in a slimsy shoe!
I would also talk to your Pod about custom-molded orthotics, which will help decrease mechanical strain as you return to running activites.

Good luck!

liffey said...

Hello! A friend just recommended your blog as I am looking for a pair of sandals that I can wear with no socks and maybe get wet on a water ride at an amusement park. I need to wear custom orthotics for most of the time that I am walking (hypermobile, feet are not stable and missing a bone landmark, inward rotation) and I hurt from the mid back down if I don't wear my orthotics. I am looking over your list of sandals now, but I'm wondering how to get orthotics meant for sandals for any of those. Thanks so much.

Thiago daLuz said...

Getting podiatrist recommendations for running shoes is great. My brother is getting some soon, so he'll appreciate these suggestions. I'm sure he'll have some from his own podiatrist, too. Thiago | http://galleriapodiatry.com.au

B said...

Have you heard of Insolia inserts for high heels?
I typically wear "good for you" shoes but still have a few pairs of heels that I just can't part with.
I came across these while looking up insoles and was wondering if you have ever heard of them and if so your thoughts.
Do they actually work and is it beneficial for the weight to be shifted from the ball to the heel?
I'm assuming it is an insert designed to work like an Earthies heel but I could be wrong.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this. :)

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Liffey,
Sorry for the delayed response! For water parks, beaches and pools, I usually recommend getting the Keen's Newport H2, which you can find at REI. However, they do not accommodate orthotics. The only sandal I know that accommodates orthotics that is also good for water is the Bite Sandals. The problem with Bite sandals is that you usually have to have the orthotic made to fit the Bite sandal, which can get costly - especially if you are getting it wet.
Sorry I don't have a better answer for you. If you do get the Keen's - make sure you get the one with the least flexible sole. Quality varies greatly from shoe to shoe so double check that the sandal is as rigid as possible.
Thank you for reading!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi B,
Sorry for the delayed response!

I have not ever actually seen the Insolia inserts, but I did some research online and they look okay. They certainly aren't going to do any harm. When it comes to adding arch support to a dress shoe or heels, the key is to start with a good dress shoe.
Look for wedge heels with a wide toebox and rearfoot strapping.

The Insolia insert should help, but you can maximize comfort by putting them into dress shoes that meet the criteria for what you need in a good shoe (thick, rigid sole that does not flex or bend at all, wide toebox and rearfoot control).

Think of Insolia as icing on the cake - but the shoe is the cake.

Good luck!

Pavlos Lombardi said...

Thanks for the post! Those shoes look like they're really comfortable, and I'll probably end up picking up a pair pretty soon here. I just love the concept of this blog, and I'll defiantly show this to some of my friends that suffer the same problem that I do.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Thank you Pavlos!
Thank you for reading and thank you for your kind words.

James Clarkson said...

There are many things that can cause orthodontic problems for runners. I think the first is switching to a new type of shoe with drastic changes in heel to toe drop such as: minimalist movement and many moving to Kinvara and other low heel to toe drop shoes. The other is running mechanics. Many people have a leg turnover rate that is much too slow or don't land under their body softly (over striding). I think some people can resolve these pains with the right shoes and proper running mechanics.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi James,
I agree! You've made some excellent points and my goal as a Podiatrist is to keep my runners running for as long as possible with as few injuries as possible.
Thanks for reading the blog!

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Laura said...

I have moderate hallux limitus and have had success wearing the NB 928. However the shoe has been redesigned and is not functioning as well.

Laura said...

Oh very sorry! I meant to say the NB 1540 not the 928!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Laura,
Yes, they redesigned the NB 1540 to the NB 1540-V2, which is not nearly as good - and costs more! You are better off trying to find the old NB 1540 online (since they don't carry them in stores anymore) or just upgrading to the NB 928, which isn't as cute but MUCH better for your feet. You can also try the Hoka-One-One Stinsen and - for sandals for the summer, the Wolky Jewel, Tulip or Ruby or the New Balance Katy are perfect for Hallux Limitus.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

Pauline Patrick said...

I'm planning to buy this kind of running shoes this coming month. Thank you for sharing this good choice of running shoes. I'll be back for more updates.


Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Pauline,
Thank you for reading the blog and thank you for your kind words!
Happy running!

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