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What trainers are best for me?

I get asked regularly by the runners I treat as to what trainers I would recommend for them to run in. People seem to be very aware of terminology used in Running shops and in clinic such as “over pronator”, “under pronator” or “neutral”. The emphasis being on needing a matching trainer to help reduce injuries. Although still used in the retail world this classification model has been proven troublesome. So much so that Nike have abandoned this model and Runners World Testing Lab have stopped using this classification when reviewing trainers in their magazine.

A highly respected study in 2010 found that “over pronating” athletes prescribed trainers recommended for them by the sports companies had no benefit at all in terms of injury levels and concluded that matching foot type to trainers was also not possible. Simply put trainers for “over pronators” failed to control pronation. While a more recent (2017) high-quality study showed that there was benefit in pronators in having trainers offering “motion control” to help reduce injury likelihood. They found no such value in matching neutral or under pronators to specific footwear. All a bit confusing isn’t it!!

Prior to this new study coming out the expert consensus seemed to be for runners to try as many trainers as possible and make their own choice based on comfort……it was as simple as that! Although there is now some weight behind those who over pronate seeking trainers with “motion control”.

I believe that if you have found a comfortable trainer I wouldn’t rush out to change anything too dramatically and of course the trainer you use is only one part of the picture when it comes to injury risk reduction and performance Other possibly more important factors should be considered first. For any advice regarding Running injuries and rehab please get in touch.

Ceri Jones

Physiotherapist Bsc, Msc

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