Do Corrective Running Shoes work?

EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman discusses why corrective running shoes are based on a myth and do nothing to prevent injuries in runners, OCR competitors, and other athletes.

Video Transcription:

Do Running Shoes That Correct Overpronation And Supination Prevent Injuries In Runners?

Good morning, family of fast. Matt Mossman, the Chief Endurance Officer over at EndurElite,. Here, today, to piss a lot of people off, because today, I'm gonna bring you the truth, if you can handle the truth, about corrective running shoes and if they can prevent injuries.

The Theory Behind Corrective Running Shoes And Injury Prevention

So, for those of you who don't know the theory behind corrective running shoes, I'm gonna give you the quick and dirty right here. So, as a runner, your foot is gonna do one of three things as it goes through the gait of cycle. It's either gonna be heel strike, your foot rotates in or pronates before you toe off. It's gonna be heel strike, your foot stays neutral before you toe off or it's gonna be heel strike, foot rotates outward or supinates before you toe off.

Now, you go in to any running store or you go to a website of a company that sells running shoes, and they're gonna tell you, "You need a corrective running shoe to prevent the over pronation or the supination from happening." Essentially, what they're saying is we wanna keep your foot in the neutral gait at all times. So companies have design shoes to correct this that will either be built up on the medial side of the shoe with a harder denser foam or the opposite. They'll be built up on the outside with a harder denser foam to basically stop you from over pronating or supinating, and they'll say, "If you don't correct this, you're more than likely gonna have a higher chance of getting injured."

Does The Science Support Corrective Running Shoes?

So the real question is though does the science support the use of corrective running shoes when it comes to injury prevention? And that's what I'm gonna bring to you today, right now. And again, I apologize to some people ahead of time because you're not gonna like what I'm about ready to say. So, the first study was done in Denmark. And this study took 927 novice runners who all had different gait patterns, so some over pronated, some were neutral, and some supinated. And the researchers gave all these people a pair of neutral cushioned running shoes, no corrective features built into them to correct for over pronation or supination.

What the researchers did is they followed these runners throughout the course of a year. And I think the combined total of miles ran between all the runners were over 100,000. And at the end of the year, they collected the data and they wanted to see how many of those runners got injured and then if that correlated to whether they were a neutral runner, an over pronator, or a supinator. So the scientist did their sciency type things. They calculated all the data and they found that a total of 252 runners were injured throughout the year.

Now, here's the real kick in the nut to everybody that works in a running shoe store or these running shoe companies that design corrective running shoes. The scientists found that the highest rate of injuries actually occurred in the runners with a neutral gait pattern, which you would not totally expect at all. You would expect the over pronators or under pronators who were running in a neutral running shoe to have the higher rates of injuries, but this was not the case. The neutral runners got injured more. So, there is the first strike against corrective running shoes.

Study #2 On Corrective Running Shoes

Now, another study was done very similar where the researchers took, I think this time, it was close to 200 runners who all had different gait patterns again, so again, over pronator, neutral runners, and supinators. But this time, they tried to put them in the appropriate corrective running shoes. So for an example, the over pronators got a shoe that was built up on the medial side to correct the over pronation. And the scientist kind of did the same thing they did in the previous study I just mentioned. They monitored the runners, I think, over the course of six to eight months. And they analyzed the data again looking to see what runners were injured the most during that time period. And they found out the runners who had the corrective running shoes were more likely to get injured. So, there is strike two against corrective running shoes.

Now, I could go on to more studies and I could give you more strike three, strike four, strike five, strike six, and on, and on, and on. But I don't wanna make all you runny store employees or running shoe companies feel too bad, and let me know that corrective running shoes is just a marketing ploy, and it's a waste of money for any runner to spend more money on them when a neutral cushion running shoe that's probably least or are less expensive is just as good.

Should Runners Buy Corrective Running Shoes?

So, really, there's two take-home points here and the one I just mentioned. Corrective running shoes, the science does not support their use in terms of preventing injuries. Second point, if these runners are getting injured and it's not due to the over pronation or the supination, then why are these runners getting injured, and more than likely is just the repetitive nature of running. Think about going on a 10-mile run and how many foot strikes you're taking and the impact you're putting on with each foot strike on your body, in your joints, and your feet. That is more than likely the reason runners get injured, the repetitive movement. There might be some biomechanical issues too that, you know, lead to some runners getting injured more. But corrective running shoes aren't gonna fix that.

Now, in a rehab setting, maybe a corrective running shoe may help, but that is a video for another day. So, my endurance friends, that is about all I have for today. If you have a buddy who believes in corrective running shoes, please share this video with them. If you want other videos like this on endurance training, nutrition, and supplementation, subscribe to our EndurElite YouTube channel or head on over to the EndurElite blog at Get social with us on Instagram and our EndurElite Facebook training and nutrition club page. And until next time, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and stay informed.