Shoes play a vital role in running and have previously been associated with both improved running performance, as well as management of running related injuries. There are variety of different factors that should be considered when selecting running footwear, the most basic ones being the correct size and shape. However, the more you run, the more aware you will become of the importance of differences in shoe design, support and weight for your performance and injury risk. These factors will heavily depend on your individual biomechanics and running style and will make a particular shoe fit you better than others!
How can NURVV help you select your next shoe?
Footwear that you run in can directly affect several metrics that are crucial for your running, mainly pronation, cadence and footstrike. Therefore, if you are looking to improve or experiment with any of these parameters with an aim of boosting performance or managing injuries, it is important that you find shoes that bring about positive changes to your running form.
NURVV Run can help you find the perfect shoe regardless of whether you have had a gait analysis done before - having pressure-sensitive insoles placed underneath both feet makes it possible to provide you with very detailed and accurate information on what type of motion both of your feet exhibit without a visual analysis. Our smart insoles are also sensitive enough to pick up the subtle changes which happen to your running mechanics brought about by different running shoes.
Shoe support, shoe drop, and shoe weight have been associated with foot pronation, footstrike patterns, and cadence, respectively. NURVV Run analyses each of these metrics and can tell you which shoe is most beneficial for you in trying to keep these technique factors within optimal ranges. Why is this important? Because every runner is different, so what might work for one person might not work as well for another. Often, even data for your left and right foot might be different!
**Quick check – single run performance data
If you are just getting into running or are particularly interested in a quick analysis of how certain shoes affect your performance data in a single run to help you decide which shoes to buy, NURVV Run offers post–workout analysis for individual runs completed either indoors or outdoors. This is a great tool when in–store, trying to choose between a number of pairs recommended by a retail assistant.
Simply complete single or multiple short runs wearing trainers that you want to analyse and tap on History and select that run from a list and examine your pronation, footstrike and cadence data from the Run Summary. Then swap to different trainers and repeat the same session/s. What you should be looking for is whether out of the box, a certain shoe provides you with better percentage of neutral pronation, a more balanced footstrike type between left and right foot and if one shoe promotes higher cadence values.
Remember, if you are trying out a number of shoes with the aim of identifying which pair benefits your technique the most, stick to running at almost an identical pace, on a treadmill or at least on the same course and type of terrain.
Long term analysis – making use of your Running Health feature
If you are looking for more insights into your technique and performance over time, Nurvv Run will provide you with the most personalised advice on how your current footwear affects your running. It will give you the most accurate outlook on your footwear-related metrics just after you unlock the Running Health feature (which requires four different runs and an overall distance of 10 km).
With this ‘long term’ analysis approach, you will be able to compare the effect that different shoes have on a single run performance (if you tend to use multiple shoes and swap between them) and also track any major changes to your form within the last 28 days.
Within Running Health, for example, you will be able to you determine if your pronation degrades due to your current shoes wearing down. Or, if coming back from a lower leg injury, whether there is a need to change your trainers post - injury to a different type or consider using custom insoles in your current shoes.
Below, we have put together a detailed guide to help you analyse NURVV Run metrics to help you find your next pair of running shoes.
How to use NURVV Run pronation metric for future footwear selection
This metric is crucial when deciding on your next running shoe and simply relates to the inward rolling motion of the foot from when it makes initial contact with the ground and progresses to a full foot ground contact during a single step.
1. Start by analysing data from single runs via Run History to see what ranges of pronation are most common for you across different sessions. For each of your runs, you will be shown a line graph for the left and right foot to illustrate trends in your pronation values and how they change as you cover more distance during a single run.
2. Then navigate to Running Health and analyse the Breakdown. At this point, it won’t matter if you are using a Neutral, Guidance or a Motion Stability running shoe – what you should be looking at on the screen is how high your neutral pronation percentage is. The higher the value of your neutral pronation, the more likely you are to be in a correct type of shoe for you!
3. To go into more detail and analyse the exact movement of your left and right foot, press Pronation tab. In this part of the app you will be given specific percentages and ranges of pronation for both feet based on your runs within the last 28 days. Using this data, you will be able to establish if you need more or less support in your trainers.
When and why should I consider changing the type of trainers I currently run in?
If you have high percentages of neutral pronation with your current shoes and do not suffer from any running – related injuries and pain, it is best to stick with the same type of running shoes as you currently run in.
If your pronation levels fall outside neutral pronation regardless of the type of shoe you are wearing, start working on your foot mobility and single leg strength before you decide on changing to a different type of running footwear. Often, a subtle change in the firmness/softness of the forefoot, trying a shoe with a forefoot rocker, running with a slightly lower drop or adding a set of off-the- shelf/custom insoles might significantly improve running data without moving into different shoe category.
It is, however, worth considering a change in footwear if you have suffered from a running – related injury in the past or are experiencing pain or discomfort when running.
Read the section below to understand how NURVV can help you find the identify how a change in footwear could benefit you.
If wearing a neutral shoe:
- If your levels of pronation are identified by NURVV Run as within neutral range, this means that the type of your current running shoe is correct for you! Always try and buy shoes from a neutral range and avoid changing to motion–control shoes.
- If your levels of pronation are identified by NURVV Run as in Over Pronation range, this means that your current shoes are not controlling the excessing pronation motion of the foot inside your shoe. You should consider changing to shoes that are firmer in the forefoot or offer some external support on the inside of the arch/heel.
- If your levels of pronation determined by NURVV Run are identified as Under Pronation, this means that your current shoes are too supportive, and this results in you are relying on the outside of your foot too much when you run. To manage it, still buy for shoes within neutral range but consider trainers that are slightly softer, both in the forefoot and rearfoot.
If wearing a guidance/light-support shoe:
- If your levels of pronation identified by NURVV Run are within neutral range, you are running with the right type of shoe for you! Always try and buy shoes that are in the same ‘light-support’ category – you clearly benefit from some medial support but do not require a ‘heavy support’ shoe.
- If your levels of pronation are identified by NURVV Run as Over Pronation, this means that even though your running shoes offer some medial support, it is not enough to control the excessive motion of the foot inwards during each step. You should consider changing you shoes to a type that offers more medial support, has a varus in the heel, or is slightly firmer and more robust.
- If your levels of pronation determined by NURVV Run are identified as Under Pronation, this means that your current shoes are too supportive for you and your foot is being pushed out too much to the outside when you run. To address this, look for shoes that are in a neutral category and that don’t offer any medial support in the heel and arch.
If wearing a motion control shoe:
- If your levels of pronation are determined by NURVV Run to be within neutral range, this means that you require running shoes that offer external support to correct the motion of your foot and minimise Over Pronation.
- If your levels of pronation are identified by NURVV Run as Over Pronation, this means that even though your shoes offer external support and motion control, it is not enough to limit the motion of the foot inside your shoe. In this case, you should seriously consider changing you shoes to a type that offers more support or invest in custom or off-shelf insoles for running.
- If your levels of pronation determined by NURVV Run are identified as Under Pronation, this means that you do not require a lot of medial support in your running shoes. Wearing supporting trainers when you don’t exhibit high pronation levels will result in too much pressure on the outside part of your feet. You should consider changing shoes to either something within the neutral range or with only minor support.
How much change can a different pair of running shoes make to your pronation metric?
Over the past few months, we have come to recognise how sensitive NURVV metrics are to footwear changes. When switching between relatively different pairs of running shoes you often will be able to notice differences in your pronation values after a single run. This will give you a detailed picture on how cushioned versus lightweight or neutral versus support shoe may be impacting your Pronation metrics during the course of a run.
In the case study below one of our runners has completed two runs in different footwear to see whether one of the two shoes he is using for running might be better for his performance and injury prevention. To get the best view on the effect of shoe on pronation metric, the user tested both pairs of shoes on the exact same course and running at a similar pace.
Our user is a fast runner who likes a relatively lightweight, neutral shoe. After some research he decided to purchase On Cloudrush - a relatively flexible yet quite firm and neutral ‘race-type’ running shoe and analysed it with NURVV during a 5km run. In this pair of shoes, the runner demonstrated relatively low levels of Neutral Pronation (63%) and a tendency towards Over Pronation (37%), which was mainly seen in his left foot. Interestingly, this trend seemed to worsen as the runner covered more distance (split 2-5) during the run, suggesting a lot of instability of the foot.
To get the best view on the effect of shoe on pronation metric, our user decided to test another pair of shoes on the exact same course, running at similar pace but covering slightly greater distance than in previous shoes.
He decided to try a pair which was slightly different to the On’s – a very cushioned and soft model from New Balance - Zante v4. This model also fits into the neutral running shoe category, but in contrast to On Cloudrush which are generally quite robust and firm, they were much lighter and offered slightly more cushioning under his feet.
In the second pair of shoes, almost immediately, the runner showed a much more balanced and constant trends in his pronation metric (see below). High percentage of Neutral Pronation was seen across both feet (87%), with the right foot still being more within the neutral zone than the left. Interestingly, in this pair, no deterioration was observed in pronation values as the runner covered more distance, suggesting that the shoe provided the feet with a lot of structure and control!
Overall, data from this quick test indicated that the New Balance Zante v4 is a better choice for this runner as it promotes higher levels of Neutral Pronation and a more balanced trend in movement of both feet. Understanding the potential benefit of one shoe over the other, NURVV would recommend the runner to use this pair of shoes for some period of time across variety of runs and further analyse his pronation metric to ensure further improvements and ability to maintain a good metric balance.
NURVV comment: This is a great start for improving long-term pronation levels. We highly recommend incorporating foot and lower leg mobility exercises to further strengthen the feet and minimise any instability.
What other NURVV Run metrics should you consider when choosing your next shoe?
Footstrike: Another important metric related to footwear which NURVV can analyse for you to help you make a decision on what type of shoes to buy next is Footstrike.
If you have a lot of experience in buying running footwear, you might be aware that some shoes feel slightly more ‘natural’ or comfortable to run in that others.
Often, a forefoot or a midfoot strike runner will have a significant preference for a shoe that feels relatively flat and does not have a lot of stack/height at the back. However, if shoes weren’t properly fitted in the first place, it often happens that forefoot strikers end up running with shoes that have a lot of foam underneath the heel which most time, isn’t very comfortable or useful for them and might increase injury risk. In those situations, shoes that offer relatively low drops – a minimal difference between the front and the back of the shoe – are more beneficial for them in maintaining a midfoot or a forefoot strike (4-6mm).
Simultaneously, shoes with a relatively high drop (>8mm) often feel more comfortable for those who heavily heel strike as it offers a lot of padding under the heel and helps to reduce initial impact forces associated with landing.
NURVV Run can accurately identify your footstrike pattern for each step, providing you with specific percentages or rear, mid and forefoot strikes during (Footstrike Trainer) and after each run (navigate via Run Summary). This is key when considering adopting a different footstrike pattern or undergoing a gait retraining programme. Therefore, NURVV Run is an essential tool in helping you find a shoe that will promote a specific footstrike, whatever it might be.
Cadence: Running with an optimal cadence has been linked both to high performance levels in running and lower risks of running-related injuries. If you would like to focus on your pace and therefore work on your cadence, it is worth finding a shoe which will promote a quick turnover of your feet and not feel too heavy when you run.
Often, shoes in the neutral category are the lightest. This is because they do not have any of the external support added on the medial side (inside) of the shoe, so if your pronation ranges are within high neutral percentages, consider trying relatively responsive and lightweight types of shoes with a medium drop (between 4mm-6mm). Because different brands currently use variety of materials such as carbon, plastic and foam in shoe design, you can still find lightweight shoes which will offer some structure to the foot. If you require some external support within the shoe, NURVV Run can still help you find a pair which will be the most appropriate within the Guidance and Motion Control shoe range.