Our Shoe Categories Explained
Structured, Cushioned, Natural, Barefoot, Trail & Junior all explained below
Possibly the biggest miss-sold area in the running shoe industry. The category Structured covers motion control through to mild support. This category is suitable for people who require extra support from the shoe to help guide them through the landing and stance phase of gait. Many people with excessive amounts of pronation welcome this sector as it allows them to start training with an aim to becoming stronger and allowing their own muscle to support their weight.
With the growth of Natural running this area is becoming less popular with our customers due to the realisation they do not actually need the level of support offered in this category. When coached it is very easy to transfer someone with a structured cushioned shoe into something much lighter and with a livelier feel. Also a very good category for rehab from injury. The configuration has traditionally been a stack height of 22-24mm at the heel and dropping to 12-14mm at the forefoot referred to as a 12mm Drop
For many years this category has been ignored by many running shoe stores due to the ease of selling a Structured shoe to virtually anyone. It takes a trained eye to assess the requirement for neutral cushioned shoes. Alas most people would gain from using this type of shoe as it should allow the foot to move through its normal range of motion. The configuration has traditionally been stack height of 22-24mm at the heel and dropping to 12-14mm at the forefoot referred to as a 12mm Drop. We now have a number of shoes with both 8mm & 6mm drop. Many runners like this type of shoe as it is perceived to offer high levels of cushioning and will offer only a small amount of control.
This is a new area which has been mislabelled as Minimalist by the running shoe media & manufacturers. The minimalist classification was originally for shoes which were not mainstream but carried less weight and had lowered heel heights. The true classification of minimalist is difficult to define as there is a clear difference between a, so called, "minimalist" shoe and a barefoot shoe. Unfortunately the industry is now packing more into the Minimalist shoe and because some of the so called minimalist shoes actually have a stack height greater than some cushioned shoes we thought it would be easier to follow the lead of Asics and label many of the shoes we select to stock under the "Natural" Label. Natural running is quite simple as it entails the freedom of the foot to move through its natural range. The natural range of a foot's motion is controlled by the individual's foot placement relative to their body mass. The skilled "natural runner" will land the foot closer to their own centre of mass and by doing this they reduce the leverage on the connecting limbs and joints. A natural runner will also minimise the deceleration zone caused by the striking of the heel first or overstriding beyond the knee joint. (taking the ankle too far forward of the knee) A natural running shoe will have a lighter weight heel counter, no support, full flexibility and a heel to toe drop of 6mm or less. The shoes in this range are ideal for starting out along with some coaching to make sure the foot placement is correct. They are also much more fun due to the lighter weight and more dynamic loading of the Achilles tendon.
As it says a barefoot shoe offers no cushioning and mimics the full natural motion of the foot. A barefoot shoe should not hold the toes together and should allow them to spread fully as if in the open. Barefoot footwear is becoming increasingly popular due to a number of health benefits in strengthening the foot and the stabilisation muscles of the body. The most important feature of making a barefoot purchase is to obtain advice on whether they may be suitable for the type of running you are currently doing. Most folks don't realise the dangers in venturing off on a long run for the first time in a barefoot style shoe. Barefoot / natural running is a skill and it takes time to develop the technique to ensure you are doing it correctly. There may be many benefits in running barefoot style but done incorrectly without the necessary skill can be more harmful than running in a normal protective structured cushioned shoe incorrectly. We have running coaches instore who will advise you on the correct footwear for your style of running or as we like to call it your "Signature Stride"
Trail shoes are another minefield area for the uninformed. You need to look at what you are actually trying to achieve from your off road running. A shoe which works well on a trail may not be ideal on a steep, slippery, muddy slope and as such the level of aggression on the outersole of the trail shoe differs according to the designed purpose. Most trail shoes from the big main manufacturers are designed for all round use and some can even double up as a shoe for occasional use on tarmac. Once you get into the specialist manufacturers the speciality areas become more evident. Inov8, Altra, Vivobarefoot, Luna and Vibram fivefingers all make specialist shoes as do many other makers but these are the ones we choose for this speciality area. There are many hard core fell runners who will have their own opinions of the footwear they choose to wear and like most people they hold these opinions through self experiment and experience, so always find out what type of terrain someone is running on before you take the advice of a mate, so to speak. Trail covers every type of shoe that's been designed to work off road.
Junior shoes are part of a growing question mark area. My theory is, if we can keep kids in barefeet they will grow very strong stabilisation muscles and strong feet. However in the increasingly dangerous environment of the urban runner, barefeet are not always the best solution. So this leaves us with a dilemma of what to put them into. Asics, Nike, Adidas, Saucony and so on all produce junior footwear which raises the heel and dulls the senses with excessive amounts of cushioning. If we can even keep the feet at a zero drop we will be doing our children a massive favour for later in life. My favourite kids shoes have to be Vivobarefoot as they have no cushioning and are zero drop with big roomy toe boxes. The toes need to spread. The main issue we are faced with is fashion trend, and kids always want what their peers are wearing. Lets get a natural barefoot shoe trend started and see how it affects the future health of our nation. We have experts instore to advise parents on foot health and the benefits of a strong foot, so come in and talk, your siblings will thank you for it in later life. Its important to develop the correct muscle memory from the beginning.
Run Group Meets Every Sun & Thursday All Year
Footworks Free Run Group
Footworks organise FREE Running sessions for all abilities on Thursday evenings at 7pm and Sundays at 9.30am-ish. Sunday runs are confirmed on the Facebook page "Footworks Colin McPhail" Register at Footworks 14/17 Bruntsfield Place on the day.
All participants do so at their own risk and should clearly understand that Footworks at Snowlines accepts no liability for any accident or injury incurred whilst attending this FREE running group. Running is a safe sport, but please remember to look both ways when crossing the road.
We now incorporate a barefoot / minimalist running section within the group who are able to advise on techniques and ways to becoming a "more natural runner". This is the exciting future of running, training ourselves to slowly adapt into running as we were designed to run, without shoes.
But we all know that shoes are comfortable and they protect our delicate feet so footwear is changing and we are one of the few shops to recognise this, which is why we are introducing barefoot running technique to our groups. Its there for the taking
As a benchmark we suggest most people are able to run for a minimum of 40 minutes non-stop before joining the group. Our Thursday sessions are from 4 miles to 9 miles depending on weather and numbers. Sunday sessions are from 5 - 6 miles brisk, up to 15 miles steady, and beyond. The only way to find out which level of performance group suits your pace is to turn up and run.
These events are "FREE" to those who turn up.
Checkout OUR FACEBOOK INFO PAGE for confirmation of the runs.
Newly Introduced Monday Night Running Fitness Session:
Plyometric Fitness class aimed specifically at running. Coach Donnie Campbell of Get Active Running will put you through your paces on a Monday Night at 7.00pm These classes are £5.00 each or £25.00 for 6 sessions.
Barefootworks The Natural Running Centre
Footworks/barefootworks is a specialist store with possibly the largest selection of barefoot and minimalist shoes in Scotland if not the UK.
We are commited to the natural barefoot cause and have adapted our analysis equipment to suit natural . Traditional methods of instore gait analysis have been done by shop staff trained only to look at the coronal plane from the rear. Our system is different we have highly trained staff and coaches who will show you from every angle why there is always room for improvement. The Sagittal Plane (from the side) shows so much more information about the runners overall form. Once you have seen this you are able to make adjustments that you understand, this in turn allows you to make a much more informed choice into the footwear you choose for running. Not everyone is going to run in a barefoot shoe or a minimalist shoe but getting to know where you are in the grand scheme is a major bonus for your future enjoyment.
Rest assured we have NOT forgotten that many of you may have run for years in a way that you find comfortable, we have the footwear to accomodate you, as we still carry all the traditional models even though we are getting the accolade of BAREFOOTERS.
By learning about barefoot running we have become much more informed about running on the whole. Natural running is what the worlds top athletes all use to achieve their goals. There are very few, if any, exceptions. No other store can give you the information as honestly and informed as we can, which means you get to choose your footwear with confidence.