What type of running shoe is best for avoiding injuries?

There's no good evidence that shoe type matters, so choose something comfortable.

Motion control, heel-toe-drop, responsiveness, flexion—shopping for running shoes sounds very scientific. But it isn't. There's no reliable evidence that choosing one type of shoe over another will reduce the risk of running injuries.

Let's start with a common myth: that runners who overpronate, or roll their feet inward, need corrective "motion control" shoes. In theory, motion control shoes prevent injuries to knees, ankles and feet by improving pronators' biomechanics. In practice, there's some evidence motion control shoes reduce injury; limited evidence they cause lower-limb pain; and quite a bit of evidence suggesting they make no difference. In one large trial, military recruits were given footwear matched to their foot shape during basic training. They were just as likely to report injuries as recruits who got standard-issue footwear.

When it comes to other shoe attributes, the research is likewise flimsy.

Small randomized trials show that shock absorption, cushioning softness and heel-toe-drop have no impact on runners' overall risk of injury.

The best approach: just pick a shoe that's comfortable. When military recruits were allowed to choose from six different insoles during basic training, they were significantly less likely to report related injuries than their peers without insoles. While the evidence linking comfort to injury prevention is still thin, there's reason to think people naturally choose the footwear that works best for their foot shape and gait.

And to be safe, buy two pairs. Alternating between running shoes seems to reduce injury risk by varying musculoskeletal load.

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