Welcome to the Podiatry Arena forums

You are currently viewing our podiatry forum as a guest which gives you limited access to view all podiatry discussions and access our other features. By joining our free global community of Podiatrists and other interested foot health care professionals you will have access to post podiatry topics (answer and ask questions), communicate privately with other members, upload content, view attachments, receive a weekly email update of new discussions, access other special features. Registered users do not get displayed the advertisements in posted messages. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our global Podiatry community today!

  1. Everything that you are ever going to want to know about running shoes: Running Shoes Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Have you considered the Critical Thinking and Skeptical Boot Camp, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
Dismiss Notice
Have you liked us on Facebook to get our updates? Please do. Click here for our Facebook page.
Dismiss Notice
Do you get the weekly newsletter that Podiatry Arena sends out to update everybody? If not, click here to organise this.

Use of Video Gait Analysis in Running Shoe Stores

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Craig Payne, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator


    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    When a running shoe retail store uses a treadmill and video for gait analysis, does anyone actually have any idea what they are looking for and how that information is then translated into a specific shoe recommendation? How do they recommend one shoe over another on the basis of the video gait analysis?

    It can’t really be just to decide if they are a “supinators”, “neutral” or “pronator”, as you can do that just by looking at a foot.
  2. posalafin

    posalafin Active Member

    I would suggest that it is just a very good sales gimmick.
  3. as for what there looking for - If you ask them it would be the changes in biomechanics from shoe to shoe and the help them decide what shoe is best for the person buying the shoe.

    But what the treadmill brings is marketing hype and better sales figures.

    We run different on a treadmill v´s overground , I´ve seen where they get someone to run barefoot on a treadmill and then pick out a shoe from that. So then you have barefoot, treadmill running which is ment to give a good idea on shod running - go figure ??

    So sales figures and marketing, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing !
  4. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    They seem to go from a video of the gait, through some sort of black box, to a shoe recommendation. I really want to know what goes on in that black box if its not a gimmick.
  5. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I have been puzzling over this one for a while and would really like to know. What spured me on to ask this today was this video that just turned up You Tube:

    I was mildly interested in it until it got to the bit near the end on the "wet footprint test" :bang: :sinking: :deadhorse: :craig:
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  6. That's a lot of emoticons Craig!!

    I think it is exactly what you descibe. Functional foot typing with three types.

    That said, very few podiatrists I know in real life appreciate the difference between kinetics and kinematics so we can't really be surprised that the shoe shops arn't there yet!

    Truth be told, this is probably not so different to how many podiatrists, certainly in the UK, prescribe orthoses.

    We can but try to educate. The problem, I think, is the breadth of the gulf which has formed between the leaders in the field and the workers in the trenches.
  7. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    What I trying to work out is why do they need a video of treadmill gait to do this, when you can get that information by just looking at someone standing.
  8. pgcarter

    pgcarter Well-Known Member

    Hi Craig,
    When I was retailing bushwalking boots and ski boots I had a black box process in my head, which must be a bit what you are asking about. We had knowledge of the static fit shapes of shoes, knowledge of the static dimensions of feet, knowledge of the dynamic functional nature of each boot, knowledge of the basic dynamic nature of the foot, knowledge of the intended use of the footwear, such as walking, skiing Alpine or XC or XC skating all of which are different. The black box process was where having taken in all the info you could get your head around you try to find the best match up to the foot. No real way to explain except to say that after 10 yrs of measuring feet(and keeping records), feeling feet and boots, watching feet and considering the uses our ability to fit boots with less returns and problems seemed to go up. We offered a money back guarranty even after outdoor use and from hundreds and hundreds of prs a year we probably only took 3 or 4 a year back
    I have always thought the ability resides in the ability to visualise the nature of foot and boot as a bit of an overlay.....and lots of learning by trial and error.
    regards Phill

  9. "Its a bit bare in here today!"

    "Yes. "
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  10. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I wish someone could really explain to me what they think they are doing. For example what do they base the decision on to give someone, for example, a Asics Gel Kayano, a Nike Equalon or a Brooks Beast ... all good shoes, so how is the decision made? What goes on in that black box?
  11. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Craig, let's assume that by looking at the person standing, watching them run on the tmill for a few minutes or even running around the parking lot, and asking a few key questions like, "do you experience any pain before, during or after you run" ? If so, where? The salesperson looks for wear patterns on the current pair of shoes, asks if those shoes work. Given your example, the salesperson adds all this information together and concludes that a stability shoe is probably a good choice. Given that, the store carries 3 possible shoes in the persons size, the Kayano, Equalon and Beast.

    Starting with the Beast, kind of the standard for motion control. Unless the person really has big issues and other stability shoes haven't worked, I would use this as a last resort type of shoe. The reason is that these shoes weigh a ton, well they weigh 14 OZ for a men's size 9. That is just really heavy to run in, especially long runs. If you can get away with less shoe, why would anyone want to wear big heavy shoes? Why would a sales person even recommend them unless as a last resort? Good shoes, if you need them but only if you need them.

    Now we are down to two pairs of good stability shoes. A key factor that hasn't been discussed is fit. The shoes are made on different lasts and will fit the same foot differently. It is now time for the runner to try on both pairs. I would ask the runner which shoe feels the most supportive and the most comfortable. If it is a toss up at this point, I would recommend the Equalon over the Asics for two reasons. 1) The Asics is still a heavy shoe, not as heavy as the Beast but at 12.7 OZ's it is still on the heavy, clunky side for doing long runs. The Nike on the other hand weighs 11.8 OZ which is the perfect balance of weight and support and makes a great all around shoe. If you can get away with an 11.8 OZ stability shoe, I would go with it every time. 2) The second reason I would select Nike over Asics is that from my point of view and experience, Nike shoes have always proven far more durable than Asics. The blown rubber in the forefoot in Asics just doesn't last that long.

    So, my "black box" would be to first determine if a stability shoe is in order, then start with the Nike Equalon assuming your example. I would go through the same thought process for cushioned shoes, performance shoes and trail shoes. Another word to describe a "black box" would be a simple decision tree to get you quickly to the right shoe.

    As far as the treadmill goes, if it helps get the customer in the door, why not? Frankly I think if the salesperson knows what they are looking for, they can send the person out for a few strides in the parking lot to see what they need to see.

  12. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Part of my reason for asking this is the data we have comparing a wide range of shoes from several companies and looking at the subject specific response of each runner to the different shoes (its what I presented at WCB in Singapore) ... it was clear that each runner had a better reponse to a few of the shoes and a bad response to a few of the shoes -- but it was not consistently the same shoes .... one runner may have had a -ve response to the Equalon, but the next runner had a +ve response ... it was all over the place - it was the same pattern for all the shoes tested. I am keen to know more about what happens at the retail level regarding the "decision tree", but my experiences to date tell me is really is a "magical black box".
  13. pgcarter

    pgcarter Well-Known Member

    The decision tree is another name, lets not debate semantics Craig. I agree that for relatively young and inexperienced fitters it is a monkey see monkey do thing
    (we never let our staff fit boots until they had been around for at least a couple of years and they were closely supervised)with very little insight into the factors that should influence the shoe buyer. It took us 5 plus years to get to the point where our confidence in our fit ability became high enough to stop offering the choice to the customer. In most stores including Athletes Foot it is really about identifying a few basic points and then giving the customer three shoes to choose from, their policy tends to be that more is too confusing. The individual reaction to a shoe can be influenced by loads of factors including footwear history, foot anatomy and nature, intended use of shoe blah blah blah, it's probably impossible to list everything.
    The end resuly is as you say really idiosyncratic. In our business between 1984 and 1989 we realized that at least with ski and bushwalking boots the experience we had developed made it more likely that our decision would be better than the relatively inexperienced customer so we went to the extent of offering a money back guarranty if they bought what we said to buy....not what they wanted to buy, if the two were not the same.
    This is an area I can blather on about for ever, I don't want to bore anybody, and of course for all the years of doing it we have not one double blind study.....Running shoes are not necessarily the same because the consequences of a poor choice are not necessarily as severe, the shoes are softer and more forgiving in the first place and the use duration by most users is much shorter on any given day.
    regards Phill Carter
  14. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Craig, just to make sure, -ve response and +ve response are referring to ventilation? If so, does that correlate to metabolic cost? I would imagine, ve and metabolic cost go beyond the scope of what a retail store can deal with.

    My impression of a typical retail store is that they will be doing great if they can at least assess a runner and get them into the right class of shoes. In other words stability shoes, ANY STABILITY shoes if that is what is needed, cushioned shoes for neutral runners, performance shoes for racing IF the runner can handle them and so on. Expecting the retail store to dial it in further than that and I'm sure they'll need to pull out the magical black box.

    Given that a certain class of shoe has been determined appropriate. A typical retail store might only have 2 or 3 models to chose from. I really don't know how much of a black box they need. With only 2 or 3 models, it then comes down to shoe weight, comfort, price and possible prior history. For example, the runner may say that whenever they've run in Asics, their left knee hurts. Well if that's the case, then the other option, the Nikes for example might be the better choice. In this example does a -ve response or a + ve response matter? By default, if it comes down to a coin toss between one pair of shoes over another, without access to experimental equipment, I would always recommend going with the lighter pair of shoes.

    Now if the runner has a choice of every single shoe that is on the market, for example, they buy their shoes on the internet, the need for a really good magical black box becomes very important. I know I personally have had 40 years of trial and error with my running shoes. Without the use of experimental equipment, my own shoe selection comes down to a few factors, fit, weight, shoe stiffness and durability.

  15. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    My interest is how they assess runners and deem what class of shoe is needed. How do they decide a stability shoe would be the most appropriate? When an individual who is new to running and knows nothing about shoes enters the store - how do they decide what shoe that individual walks out with?

    My guess is they do it based purely on an old, outdated, non validated kinematic based system. Or to put it another way they look at the alignment of the rearfoot and put them into one of 3 groups. Rocket science it aint.

    No idea what a neutral runner is Dana.

  16. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    The parameter we measured was the timing of load coming off the heel. This is based on a number fo assumption - we clinically see delays in a number of pathologies; an earlier heel unweightig could be considered a sign of a more efficient gait. ie if the running shoe/orthotic/whatever combination is right, the CoP and CoM should presumably progress ahead faster or sooner.
    When in comes to foot orthotics we have moved on from that paradigm (or at least those who are up with play have), but the running shoe industry is lagging behind. Robert and Ian hit the nail on the head:
    Every "clinical" study that has looked at the current running shoe prescribing paradigm has shown it is wrong. eg
    Effect of three levels of footwear stability on pain outcomes in runners
    Plantar foot shape, choice of running shoes and injury prevention

    If we accept the methodology of these two studies (and they both have some non-fatal issues), then the conclusion means one of two things:

    1. Running shoes are crap; or
    2. The current running shoe paradigm is wrong

    My reason for starting this thread was to work out how to move this forward. I do have a meeting later this week and this is the topic of the meeting...
  17. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    I know what I would do for a new runner, have them run in the parking lot or on a treadmill while I'm watching what is going on with their feet and ankles. If they are rotating inward in grotesque proportions, I would consider a stability / motion control shoe. I would also look at whatever shoes they are wearing to see if I can see any compression of the medial side of the midsole, excessive wear of the medial side of the outer sole or excessive deformation of the medial upper. Not a lot of rocket science there with no specific measurement of how much grotesque proportion is, how much compression or wear is too much or what excessive means.

    What I mean by a neutral runner is that they exhibit little pronation or supination. In otherwords, when landing, the runner doesn't need any external devise that limits movement. Little is not defined specifically because we are talking about a retail store.

  18. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    If you Really want to know what they look for Craig, there is an easy answer to this.

    Go in as a client and get an assessment done and see what they supply you and why, or get one of your students to apply for a job in one of these stores.:D
  19. Or get Cam White to tell us - He owns a running shoe shop, sells shoes for a living and seems pretty switched on. He should be able to tell us whats in the magic black box.
  20. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    So what you're saying Dana is that you would recommend shoes based on kinematic measures/visual alignment? ;)

    I think the question we need to be asking is whether stability/motion control shoes predictively alter kinematic patterns in every individual (which they don't in my opinion), and even if they did are these changes always going to be beneficial?? If the answer to either of these questions isn't a firm yes (which I think it isn't), then the current way that running shoes are prescribed needs reviewing.

    The big issue is that at present we probably don't have much better. Look forward to Craig's thoughts on this following his meeting.
  21. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Ian, thanks for your help. :drinks

    Often when I am in running events that involve a lot of people such as marathons, I like to latch on to people ahead of me and let them "pull" me along. When I'm doing this, my attention will eventually make it's way down to their feet. I have found it quite interesting to watch the movement of the foot while it hits the ground, rolls forward and pushes off. Sometimes I'm shocked by the amount of medial rotation I'll see. I have to wonder how some people can run even 10 minutes without injury. Usually I'll see the medial part of the midsole all squished and compressed. You would think that a pair of stability shoes would help. Even if they didn't help, I'm not sure they would hurt. I don't know how they could possibly be worse than a pair of shoes with highly cushioned midsoles.

    I have one pair of stability shoes that someone gave me as a gift. I hate wearing those shoes. There is a very firm medial post that feels like I'm running with a block of wood under my arch. Because of this, I feel the shoes are making it difficult for my feet to naturally roll from the anterior portion of my heel after landing to the big toe and second toe for push off. I don't think the shoes will cause injury but I do think the shoes are getting in the way of natural foot mechanics.

    If someone who doesn't need stability shoes feels that type of shoe is more of a detriment than a help, how can stability shoes really allow for proper foot movement with someone who does have issues? Is it possible that a better shoe for people with pronation pathology be something that simply contains a thinner, firmer midsole? (I'm thinking of a good trail shoe)

  22. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I used to think that too, but that is where our understanding is changing. It does not seem to matter how much or how bad they pronate (kinematics), its the force that is driving that motion or needed to stop that motion (kinetics) that is important. If those forces are high --> tissue damage. If those forces a low, it may not be a problem how much you pronate. (and vitually all of the prospective overuse injury risk studies have shown that the amount of pronation is not a risk factor for injury).

    Even the foot with next to no "pronation" or even the theoretical normal amount may be a problem if the magintude of the forces needed to stop it are high.

    Theorectically, the motion control shoes should be resevered for those with the high forces pronating the foot and not how much the foot pronates.

    This is why I highlighted the quotes from Roberts and Ian's posts:
    .... watch this space for more
  23. Jeremy Long

    Jeremy Long Active Member

    Perhaps this dialog can be expanded into the ever-growing threads on the site regarding running shoes vs. barefoot running. Is there logic in the possibility that running injuries are not coming specifically from the use of shoes themselves, but perhaps in being improperly being assigned/recommended shoes that could lead to injury in a particular consumer's gait type? That would seem to bring greater credence to Craig's initial post. How are they making their observations, and extrapolating those observations into their shoe recommendations?
  24. ackers

    ackers Member

    In my experience the majority of times the runners are looked at to get the best STJ neutral looking shoe. In the stores that run (for example) Silicon Coach, the customer is viewed in bare feet, then again using the same parameters in a number of different brands of similar control.
    For example a moderately pronated foot type would be chosen an Asics 2100 series, brooks adrenaline, structure triax etc

    The shoe videos and bare foot video would be brought onscreen together and the shoe that brings the leg into the "best looking position" would be the one recommended in terms of control.

    The customer would 90% of the time get that shoe unless a different shoe felt much better to the customer, or was a better colour!
  25. Here's a young man, 21 years of age. He plays football, squash, tennis, surfs, does yoga and runs once a week for approx. 30 mins. Here are a couple of stills: of his feet and of him running in a pair of relatively cheap neutral Adidas shoes. What shoes would you put him in and why?

    Attached Files:

  26. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    Easy... Vibram Five Fingers ;)
  27. Shut up you tart and ask the right question...... P.S. i think he could deal with a bit more knee flexion, let's stick him in some vibrams and see what happens......... err no.
  28. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    What's his pathology/symptoms?
  29. Is the right question. None, is the answer.

    So what kind of shoe would you prescribe on the spectrum: neutral.........motion control?
  30. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    So Ackers (or any one else), do you know what is the cost of such a service is?

    The entire job including, bare foot run, consult, measure, fit, consult, then the test run in the first shoe, consult and another of all the above for another pair, cost of equipment and the extra floor space?

    l am going to guess that each shoe, if done properly, would cost 45 min to 1 hour of the sales persons time at least and if they try three pair on that would have to be 3 hrs(?) plus cost of shoes, does that sound right?
  31. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    Sorry Simon - think I missed the second sentence at the first time of reading.

    So he is performing a reasonably high amount of activity, in his current footwear choice, and doing so asymptomatically (thereby leading us to assume his tissues are within their zones of optimal stress thresholds)... Dare I say that there is no need to change his footwear at all?

    Out of interest what brought him through your door? (Who told him he had 'flat feet'?) What are his future plans/training goals?
  32. He was referred to me via a local running shop, who wanted my opinion before they sold him running shoes. His future goals are to continue playing sport at his current level. I, rightly or wrongly suggested he may try something with a bit more "support", but suggested that comfort was key.
  33. JB1973

    JB1973 Active Member

    it depends what the boy wants to do as well. if he wants to continue doing what he's doing and he is asymptomatic then its a no brainer for me - buy a new pair of what you've already got ( does he wear sports specific shoes for the football, squash and tennis? or the same pair for all 3). He only runs 30 mins a week just now though so if his goals changed and he wanted to start training for half marathons/marathons for example, then time would tell if he would beging to develop any symptoms and then it would be an opportunity to look at things in more detail.
  34. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    You've said it before and it rings true: 'Comfort is king'

    Is he coming back to you post shoe purchase? Be interested to hear what he went for and see the difference.
  35. James Welch

    James Welch Active Member

    Simon, I'd be the last person to try and teach you to suck eggs - but why did you suggest this? :D
  36. It was a tricky one, although this lad currently has no pathologies, anecdotal experience dictates that people with this type of foot structure generally perform better in a more structured shoe, he may or may not, there are always exceptions to the rule as long as he stays within his ZOOS, he'll function asymptomatically. I gave him the evidence and he made an informed choice, as I said before I merely suggested that he may wish to try something with more support but while he was performing injury free he could also stick with the kind of shoe he is currently wearing; I didn't frog march him into the shop and demand that he put straight into a pair of Brook's Beasts! In fact experience also dictated that he wouldn't get on very well with said Beasts. I just spoke to the shop and apparently he went out with Mizuno Inspire because it felt more comfortable than the other shoes he tried ranging from "neutral" shoes, through to full on "motion control" shoes- I'm not surprised.

    So, if we are to better understand how the design of running footwear alters the kinetics at the foot shoe interface: if we looked at his kinetics running in neutral shoes and then running in a more structured shoe, what changes to the kinetics might we predict? Indeed, what does the published research tell us?
  37. James Welch

    James Welch Active Member

    Result with the Inspires!

    It's always fascinating to see the reasoning as to why people would recommend 1 shoe type over another, with the endless smorgasboard of trainers's out there all of which seem to be being recommended for different reasons. Thankyou for your answer. :drinks

    I would presume that in the more structured trainers the density of the sole materials would be higher, which would lead to an increase in force (medially) therefore increasing the pronatory moment.
  38. Not quite, James. Re-read what you have said above.
  39. James Welch

    James Welch Active Member

    Whoopsy! Ya Freudian ....increasing the supinatory moment. :drinks

Share This Page