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running gait analysis

Analyze this: Gait analysis for shoe selection

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Running is perhaps the most natural exercise for a human being — we are simply built to run. But many haven’t been at it all of our lives, so when we do get the running bug, we need to go about things carefully.

Our anatomy affects they way we move, our biomechanics dictate how we move, and more specifically how we run. Finding a shoe that will best accommodate these elements is a smart way to hit the ground, well, running.

We visited Brett Sublet, owner of The Durango Running Company in running mecca Durango, Colorado, to hear how he helps people find the right shoes.

“We take several elements into account when a customer comes in here to make sure we get them into the right shoes,” Sublet said.

Here’s how he does it:

1) Getting started

Sublet starts with a conversation about a runner’s habits.

“What kind of running they are doing and what their needs are,” he said. “Are they on roads, are they running trail? Are they running a hundred-mile ultra marathon, are they running a 5K? Do they just want to stay in shape?”

2) Creatures of habit

He follows that with a talk about health.

“A big part of it is their personal history with running, he said. Do they have a history with injuries? Over use injuries or any acute injuries that we need to be aware of?

3) On the run

At this point it’s time to get moving. Sublet captures video of the runner running on a treadmill in a neutral shoe – one that is suitable for all types of foot anatomy.

“We look for some cues to keep them running healthy,” he said. He can use the data to analyze the runner’s gait and form and that information is used to select a few specific types of shoe targeted to the runner’s needs.

4) If the shoe fits

With new information, Sublet can work with the runner on which shoes feel best on their feet. “We can let the customer give us some feedback on how they feel and what they like,” Sublet said.

5) Happy trails

With some educated insight about anatomy and biomechanics, plus the appropriate footwear, runners can reduce the risk of injury and enhance the quality of their running experience.

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