Picking the Right Shoe: It is all about you
Newtons first law of physics states Force= mass x acceleration. The forces our bodies must undergo while running can increase two to three fold when compared to walking. Running shoes were designed to disperse some of this force evenly throughout your feet and legs.
Understanding The Running Gait CycleThere are three stages to the running gait cycle:
Within the stance phase there are 3 sub-phases.
Stance Phase:Initial Contact
During initial contact your heel or your midfoot has come in contact with the ground and your foot/ankle will roll inward towards the arch (pronation) in an effort to absorb the ground reaction force.
Stance Phase: Midstance
During midstance your foot has finished rolling inward and now your foot is flat, your ankles, knees and hips are at their maximum flexion, stabilizing your body on one leg. Your leg has absorbed the ground reaction force and is preparing for recoil.
Stance Phase: Toe Off Propulsion
Finally, you start to push off the ground with your toes, thrusting your body into the air for the flight phase as your other leg swings forward towards the beginning of the next stance phase.
For choosing shoes we are concerned with the initial contact phase and how much our feet pronate to absorb the ground reaction force. If our feet/ankles roll too far inward or over-pronate, this indicates our body is not absorbing the forces in the most efficient manner, and these twisting forces can cause injuries any where along our bodies kinetic chain. In the ankles, achilles, calves, knees, or hips. If one has neutral pronation they are at less risk for injuries. A support shoe, or a stability shoe helps over-pronators run "neutral". This is why going to a specialty running store to get fitted for shoes, where individuals are trained to watch you run and detect if you over-pronate, is important.
Also, keep in mind that every brand will have their version of a neutral or a stability shoe. It is up to you to try on each brand and see which one you prefer. They will all have different cushioning systems and feels of "snugness" which will affect the "ride" of the shoe.
Below are some pictures of what the trained shoe specialist will be looking for, when you run, to fit you into the right shoe: