Stability Shoes

Stability Shoes – Do You Really Need Them?

by Sara on January 18, 2016

For years I have been trying to convince myself that stability shoes were a lie.  Something that the shoe companies dreamed up to sell more merchandise; something that the general public didn’t really need to pay attention to.  Still, there are other people who believe that modern day running shoes have “ruined” our feet and have “caused” heel striking.  Well, that I actually do believe is a lie, but the whole deal about the necessity of a “stability” shoe… that one just might turn out to be true.

A while back I wrote about transitioning into a more neutral shoe.  I slowly {and at times not so slowly} made the shift into some new brands and models, for no other reason than there were just too many options out there.  When I first started running, facebook was brand new and social media had yet to invade our lives to the extent it has today.  I had no idea what other people were running in and frankly I didn’t care.  Flash forward a few years and suddenly I was overwhelmed with options.  So many colors!  I knew the fundamentals about what I would need to do to swich shoes but had only grazed the surface – I didn’t actually know how hard of a task it is to do.

While I’m not saying that everything in that previous post was wrong, what I want to add is that I did not realize just how much work it takes to actually get strong enough to be able to switch shoes.  I learned that the hard way after 2+ years of nagging injuries and tight muscles that were only resolved once I finally sought some professional help & realized it takes a heck of a lot more work to get stronger than I ever realized.

So where does that leave me today?

I sucked up all my pride of saying how easy it is to “just switch shoes” and I’m going back to what I know works – a stability shoe.  And you know what?  I’ve run 3 weeks in a row and felt great.

Why does this work?

Think of it like a tool, but not a crutch.  I used to think of stability shoes, arch support, insoles and all those things as “crutches”.  Things that were there to keep you from reaching your true potential.  Then I realized, those types of things are there to support you while you get stronger, and if you shed them too soon, that’s when you end up in trouble.  So my problem isn’t that I tried to make a transition, it’s not that I tried to chance shoes, it’s that I didn’t understand that it was too soon.

I didn’t understand just how strong my other muscles needed to be to support the rest of my body.  A few crunches here and there?  A few squats every now and then?  Not.  Going.  To cut it.

I have had to face facts that if I want to get back into shape I am going to have to get stronger {strength exercises every.  freaking.  day} and get my endurance back {run more}.  This means a more stable shoe to support my feet so I can at least start running again.  This does not mean that I am resorting back to my old ways and it does not mean that I have regressed backwards.  It means my body isn’t strong enough {yet} and could’t take anymore and since I want to keep running I’m going to do what it takes to get stronger.

So if you are in the same boat as me and have had a bunch of nagging injuries after having shoe A-D-D, take a hard look at your body and your shoes. You might just need those good ole stability shoes to fall back on while you strengthen your imbalances.

Afterall, tools are meant to be used right?

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Greg Caringi January 18, 2016 at 10:19 am

Hi Sara,

I saw Tish’s “like” on FB and it directed me to your most interesting blog. I am not an athlete, but I have been in practice over 30 years and treated many overuse injuries with good success. Concerning shoes and inserts, I think the question is simple. It does have to do with neutral. For any individual, there is one neutral position for most efficient foot function. In this position, you will run your best and be at lowest risk for injury, A quality shoe that provides stability and good lateral support is the best platform for the use of a foot orthotic that positions your foot in its individual, neutral position. This will allow normal and desirable foot motion throughout your gait cycle. If there are specific needs or an extreme foot type (low or high arch), custom orthotics are desirable, just like prescription eyeware/contacts work better than reading glasses for most people. I always start my patients with a properly fit and well-constructed preformed orthotic from either PowerStep or SuperFeet. This is good test and may be all the control that a patient needs. The best running stores will carry one or both of these brands. Many years ago, we got away from modifying children’s shoes and instead used a neutral shoe with good lateral stability and added an appropriate orthotic. In the right hands, this approach works for runners as well and has worked for many years.

Sara January 19, 2016 at 9:36 am

Thanks for the comment! Yes my physical therapist recommended I try SuperFeet, and while I know that is the right decision it felt like a step backwards and was hard to deal with at the time. I am doing much better now that I understand more about what they really do.

Kristen January 21, 2016 at 3:07 am

Love this! I’m a stability shoe wearer and I’ll never stop – my PT said that I seriously need them to align my bones correctly for pain-free running and working out. I know that without them I’d be injuring myself all over the place. I hope they continue to work out for you!

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