I used to be a heel striker when I started running at the age of 15, I couldn’t run more than 7km due to my knee pain. I’ve always thought that runners with bigger stride run faster so I overstride without me realizing. My leading foot will be too far in front of my body and foot slightly rotated in the air before landing on my heel to absorb the impact. Because of my overstriding running style, I needed extra cushioning to minimize the impact in my knees. I didn’t know that I ran wrongly. My shoes wore out pretty fast; I just got rid of my old running shoes without even observing the wear pattern.
Taking pictures of the wear pattern of your running shoes provide important clues for runners to assess running gait if you know how to read them. There are a few sections of the sole for us to observe, which are the heel section, sole and the midsole area. For instance, heel strikers will have more significant heel wear, over pronators have excessive wear along the inner side of the sole, and under pronators have excessive wear along the outer side of the sole. By identifying the wear pattern, you can start to figure out drills and gears needed to minimize the risks of getting running-related-injuries.
Picture of my Skechers GoRunSpeed.
Here is a simple example of my case. I learned to run midfoot after my first Ironman because I knew the importance of correcting my running gait to last longer in competitive racing. If I keep heel striking, my whole body weight will impact my knees every single stride I make, and the shoes sole will be my evidence. Other than having a camera to record my strides, I can observe the wear pattern to be sure that I land midfoot. Different running shoes brand have different level of sole hardness due the material difference. Softer sole tend to wear faster hence you get the result of this “experiment” faster. This important information will be a good guidance for you to pick your next pair of new running shoes