Dr. Saxena's Shoe List
Dr. Amol Saxena's Top Recommended Running Shoes for 2010 (note: these shoes are not in rank-order. Most models come in widths)
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Department of Sports Medicine
795 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Theories and evidence for shoe recommendations are emerging. Flat feet no longer necessarily need a "motion control/stability" shoe. More experienced runners who have proper foot strike and strength can use less supportive shoes. Those new to running, especially if overweight, may benefit from more supportive shoes. Arthritic knees tend to do better with more cushioned shoes. Those with knee cap problems (patello-femoral) tend to do better with lower heel to toe ratio, whereas those with Achilles issues do best with a higher heel. Shoes with a rocker sole are better for forefoot problems, especially big toe arthritis (Hallux Rigidus), neuromas and midfoot arthritis. Research has shown the most critical factor in choosing the "right" shoe is perceived fit/comfort, so make sure you try the shoe on, using your usual running socks, and the end of the day so your feet are as "swollen/spread out" as they can be.
(note: these shoes are not in rank-order. Some models come in widths)
For Cushioning (for high-arched feet & those with joint problems)
Adidas Supernova Glide
Nike Vomero (widths)
Hoka Bondi or Stinson 3(widths)
Asics Nimbus (widths)
New Balance 1080 (widths)
For Stability (for mild to moderate over-pronation)
Adidas Supernova Sequence
Brooks Adrenaline GTS
Nike Air Structure Triax(widths)
Hoka Constant 2
New Balance 860(widths)
For Motion Control (severe over-pronators, heavier individuals, posterior tibial dysfunction)
ASICS Gel 3000
Adidas Glide Boost ATR
Altra Torin 2.0 (widths)
ASICS GT 2000 Trail
Hoka Conquest 2, Mafate Speed, Stinson ATR
Note: for runners in High School, College and those with no injury history consider:
ASICS 2000 & Cumulus
Nike Lunar Glide & Pegasus
More shoes listed on www.aapsm.org website
How to Select the Right Shoe
This article first appeared in the Peninsula Times Tribune.
People can lace up the same shoe but call it different names—such as running shoe, sneaker or tennis—depending on the occasion. They could be playing a game of tennis, getting set to jog or walk, or setting off to tour the Eiffel Tower.
Two things are important about athletic-type shoes, according to Amol Saxena, a podiatrist in the Department of Sports Medicine at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Shoes should be suited for a particular activity or sport, and they should be suited to the type of foot, he said.
"People with high arched feet tend to have more curved feet, and people with flatter feet tend to have straighter feet.
"The difference between a running shoe, court shoe or aerobic shoe is that the running shoe is designed for forward motion and has no lateral support," said Dr. Saxena, who is the podiatrist for several Stanford University athletic teams and Olympic marathon runners.
In all shoes, the midsole, which is the layer between the upper and the outsole, basically is a platform for the shoe, he said.
"If you need lateral support, then the outsole will be cupped, so that when you move from side to side, as in tennis, aerobics or basketball, the upper doesn't get stretched," he said.
As for fit, the running shoe should have half an inch between the end of the shoe and the longest toe.
Court shoes do not need as much room because the quick stops of tennis players cause sliding and may encourage a blackened toe condition called "tennis toe," he said.
When shopping for shoes, most consumers focus on length, but construction is critical, said Dr. Saxena, who ran on the Gunn High School and Washington University (Mo.) track teams.
Shoppers should look inside at the midsole—the place where a lot of companies use their high-tech cushioning and support compounds, such as Nike (air), Asics (gel), Puma and Reebok (honeycomb pads).
"The midsole, not the outside or the tread, is the life of the shoe, but people look at the tread," Saxena said. "The tread will last longer than the midsole."
Consumers should look inside the shoe to verify construction. The innersole may include a fiberboard or cardboard lining called "board lasting" that provides better support. If there is stitching inside and no board, it is called "slip lasting" and is designed for the greater flexibility and lighter weight needed for activities such as track or basketball. Often, running shoes will combine both features.
"If you are just getting the shoe to walk for fitness or to be comfortable on your vacation, don't get it loaded with too many extras," Dr. Saxena advised.
"In walking, you don't pronate (flatten foot to ground) as much and you don't generate as much shock," he said.
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