Shoe fittings could prevent running injuries

Specialty shoe stores like Phoenixville’s All Kinds of Fast and the North Wales Running Company analyze customers’ movement to determine the best shoe for them.

Alycia Geary, store manager of the North Wales store at 111 North Main St., said they do several tests during shoe fittings to determine the gait cycle and body build of customers.

“Footwear is key, it’s one of the easiest ways to prevent injury when you start running,” she said.

Geary said during the shoe fitting, a customer’s foot movement is analyzed. She said extra weight is applied to your foot when you run or walk so your feet move in a different way. She said sometimes these positions can be good and sometimes not good so the right shoe will help with comfort and safety.

Customers are first instructed to take off their shoes so both the foot and ankle can be seen. Crystal Burnick of All Kinds of Fast at 214 Bridge St. in Phoenixville said it’s important to look at the whole foot during a shoe fitting.

“We are looking to see how the foot falls in and how the ankle reacts because that’s important support-wise,” she said.

Burnick said they ask customers to stand on one foot at a time.

“When you run you’re pretty much doing a single leg squat every single time you step,” she said.

Burnick then ask customers to stand shoulder-width apart and squat down. She said this test determines if the feet are falling in as you move and also determines the arch of the foot.

Customers are then asked to walk for a short distance so their foot movement technique is analyzed. Then the customer’s foot is measured. Burnick said it’s important for customers to put weight on their foot when measured so the correct shoe size is determined. Burnick said customers are also asked about any previous injuries that could influence their walk or run.

After the shoe fitting tests, customers are given several shoe options to try on.

Burnick said it’s important for customers give feedback and tell employees if a shoe is comfortable or not. She said if the store doesn’t have a customer’s shoe needs they can place a special order.

Geary said they recommend getting new running shoes about every six months but said it depends on the individual and their activity.

She also said both stores hold shoe molds that can be used for extra support and the modes differ depending on the shoe’s use. She said there are molds for running, walking and working shoes.

For more information about either store location or about shoe fittings, visit the website

You can follow Michilea Patterson on Twitter @MichileaP. Patterson is the Fit for Life reporter and is funded in part by the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation.

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