There has been a lot of debate over whether gait analysis still has a place in the running shoe industry or if it’s merely hokum cooked up by brands to sell more products. We don’t use gait analysis prescriptively but believe it plays a crucial role in helping runners make an informed choice. If you require an analysis because of injury concerns we would always recommend consulting a running specific physio.
Biomechanically, no two runners are the same. Your running style is formed by, and can alter due to, a variety of factors. We are fortunate to have a wide variety of footwear choices meaning we’re not forced into a ‘one-style-fits-all’ scenario because quite simply, one style does not fit everyone.
For example, some shoes are broad in the toe-box while others are tapered. Some brands offer slim-fitting styles while others suit a broader foot.
We often meet runners who have bought shoes online because they were on sale / recommended by a friend, only to take them out for a spin and be disappointed and unable to return them. Making ‘blind’ choices can be a waste of time and money so it makes good sense to try out a shoe before making the investment.
When guiding you through gait analysis our goal is simple. To help you find comfortable shoes that fit well, and help you understand the process without blinding you with jargon.
We recommend opting for analysis at least once a year for the following reasons:
- Our bodies change over time which may lead to a shoe that previously worked for you no longer being comfortable. You may have benefited from a shoe with supportive technology when you started running but, as you become stronger, that support is no longer necessary. Similarly, factors such as injury could mean that, whilst you rehabilitate, any incurred weaknesses could benefit from some support.
- As brands evolve shoe models, different fabrication techniques or updated technologies can change the fit and feel of a shoe. If the model number of a shoe has changed it means that some part of that shoe has been updated, one which may affect your running experience.
We are not here to tell you what to buy, to sell you something you don’t need or even tell you how to run. Our goal is to find the shoe that feels like an extension of you and that you can forget about while you run.
The Running Works team has a combined experience in running retail spanning over two decades. Shop manager David uses his degree in biomechanics to ensure that his team has the relevant knowledge to guide you through the shoe fitting process:
When we welcome a customer into the shop for gait analysis, first and foremost for me is helping that person achieve a greater understanding of their body and what type of sensation they’re seeking in a running shoe. Although I can empathise with the feedback a person gives me, I’m not able to experience the shoes for them and so the process is a two way street.
We’ll do what we can but do ask for some things in return so the customer has the best experience possible.
Allow plenty of time for your analysis.
It’s not a procedure that should be rushed. Running shoes are an investment and we don’t want you to leave with products you’re not 100% happy with. Happy customer = happy runner.
Come with an open mind.
All runners are unique and what you’ve read online or in a magazine may not be the solution for you. Comfort is subjective to the individual; how a shoe feels to one person is unlikely to match your own experience.
Bring your kit if you can and your current running shoes.
We’ll be the first to admit that running on a treadmill is not comparable to running outdoors. Watching you run in the most natural state possible will help us understand your needs better. We can also tell a lot from the wear pattern on your current shoes.
Tell us about yourself.
Everything you tell us will help us understand you better as a runner. Even something that might seem mundane can give us an insight into helping improve your running experience.
Are you new to running? Do you have upcoming races? What terrain do you train on? How do you get on with your current running shoes? Do you suffer with bruised toes, blisters or black nails? We meet a lot of runners who think that black toenails are a badge of honour among runners. To me it’s a hint that a person is wearing shoes that are too small.
There are also a lot of people who are confused about the term pronation. It’s our job to dispel myths and educate our community so that they can continue to enjoy running for as long as possible.
Be honest with us.
We’ll ask you a lot of questions and will be guided by your answers. We can’t experience the shoe for you so if something doesn’t feel right then let us know. If you don’t understand something we’ve said we’d rather take the time to explain than leave you feeling unsure. Likewise, if you’ve never run a treadmill before or feel uncomfortable doing so we can make other arrangements.
Be honest with yourself.
You’ve come in with a particular shoe in mind and maybe it doesn’t quite feel how you expected it to. It pinches in uncomfortable places. The arch is a bit too high. Little things that you’re aware of in the store will become amplified during a run. If you have doubts, try some other options until you find the right fit. Your running shoes should be something you have to endure.
I bought some trainers on the advice of a local running shop after gait analysis.
Running in the shoes caused me pain in my right shin so I returned to the shop. They gave me a second analysis but the chap couldn’t decide between more support or none but plumped for a shoe with very high support.
I started running with The Running Works run club. The team were concerned about the amount of pain I was in so, as well as giving me tips on how to treat shin pain, they popped me on their running machine to watch me run for themselves.
They were surprised that I had been recommended such rigid shoes. We went through some options and I found a really comfy pair from the neutral category. Bliss! It took a while for the pain to go completely but I’m now running pain free.
come and see us
Our gait analysis appointments are free and there is no need to book. The shop is in Houndsditch, central London and we’re open Monday to Friday from 8am until 7pm.