Motion Control Shoes May Help Some Runners

Last updated: 10-14-2020

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Motion Control Shoes May Help Some Runners

New research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that certain runners may benefit from motion control running shoes.

According to researchers, athletes with flat feet or whose feet naturally roll inward when running may be less likely to suffer injuries if they invest in motion control shoes.

“Our study is the first to compare shoe models with and without motion control system in regular runners with the aim to investigate their impact on injury risk,” said lead author Laurent Malisoux, of the Luxembourg Institute of Health.
Motion Controlled Shoe Study

As you may have guessed by the name, motion control shoes are designed to limit foot movement, in this case the natural inward roll of some people’s feet, with each step they take. The motion control technology is actually just a rigid piece of plastic near the middle and a harder piece of foam on the inward side of the sole to prevent inward rolling.

In order to see if this technology could be beneficial to people who overpronate when running, researchers conducted a large scale running study. Researchers asked 386 recreational runners to wear either normal running shoes or the same shoes with motion control technology when running over the course of six months. During that time, participants went on 12,558 collective runs covering over 72,000 miles. Participants were asked to document any injuries or instances of pain.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers uncovered that about 32 percent of participants with regular shoes had suffered an injury, while only 18 percent of those in motion control shoes had suffered an injury.

“This seems to indicate that, in general, a minimal amount of motion control is better than no motion control at all in our modern cushioned shoes,” said Malisoux.

Interestingly, motion control shoes didn’t appear to reduce injury likelihood across all types of runners. When studying runner biomechanics, researchers noted that the benefit of motion control was confined to runners who overpronated.

“If you don’t fall into that category, you likely won’t benefit and you don’t need motion control shoes,” said Dr. Rahul Kapur, an expert in sports medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “[Those who don’t overpronate] should go with something more neutral or something more cushiony as opposed to a motion control shoe.”

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