Running: If The Shoe Fits


Dedicated running man, Stephen Boylan gets the measure of Life Style Sports new free gait analysis system and finds the perfect shoes.


It’s not an exaggeration to say that running has lately become a phenomenon in Ireland. We’re more conscious than ever about not only looking healthier but feeling healthier too, and spurred on by initiatives such as RTE’s Operation Transformation and Today FM’s Ray for 5k, thousands of us have taken to the roads or to our local gym to help us fight the flab.

What makes running especially attractive in these more straitened times is its accessibility – there are no racquets, balls, knee-pads, bats, or other fancy equipment required. All you need to get started is a pair of shorts, a good pair of socks, and a t-shirt. However, what quickly becomes essential is a good pair of running shoes, and once you’ve made that decision to give running a go, it’s really important to take some time to find a pair of shoes that will not only make your regular runs as comfortable as possible, but will also ensure you remain injury-free.

In order to help you choose the perfect shoe for you, Life Style Sports has recently introduced a free gait analysis system in eight of their stores nationwide. The system’s sophisticated technology records your individual running style and, based on how your foot interacts with the ground, recommends the right shoe for you. It’s a very quick and easy process that can yield some fascinating results. Given that the feet absorb two to three times your body weight while running, the potential for serious physical damage is huge. Although I’ve been running for over eight years, I only now realise how lucky I’ve been to have escaped serious injury in that time.

On arriving at Life Style’s Dundrum store, I ran at a reasonable pace for about 30 seconds on the shop’s treadmill. The treadmill’s foot-level camera recorded how my foot hit the ground, and I then consulted the footage with the shop’s expert and got my diagnosis.

There are three types of common gait amongst runners: the underpronating gait (where pressure is applied to the outside of the foot), the overpronating gait (where pressure is applied to the inside of the foot), and the neutral gait. An undetected underpronated gait can lead to serious problems such as stress fractures, whereas an undiagnosed overpronated gait can lead to a number of painful issues involving your knee or hip. Wearing the wrong type of shoe could result in costly trips to the physio, so investing in a good pair of trainers is definitely worthwhile.

All major sporting brands now design trainers that accommodate every type of running style, but buying the right pair of shoes needn’t break the bank. Whether you require a stability shoe for your overpronation, or a cushioning trainer for your underpronation, you can expect to pay as little as €55 or as much as €175 across Lifestyle’s extensive range. It’s money well spent if you’re serious about getting started on the right road and staying there.

Lifestyle Sports gait analysis is available in Life Style Spots stores across the country, and is free of charge. 


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