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Hiking: Proper Foot Care

Suitable footwear for hiking/running

There are hundreds of different models of running and hiking shoes on the market. The optimum shoe for a runner must match the runner’s specific mechanical features. There are several features of a shoe that may affect its function.

The Heel:

Starting at the upper- rear of the shoe is the heel counter. The heel counter should be made of rigid, firm plastic to assist hind foot stability. Moving forward the forefoot must be adequate to allow easy motion of the foot plantarflexing during toe-off. Without this flexibility the triceps surae may be over-worked during propulsion.

The Midsole:

The midsole of the shoe is probably the most important feature. Midsoles are usually made of high density foam which acts and a shock absorber. The most important feature of the midsole is that it should not be too hard or too soft. Midsoles that are too soft permit excessive mobility.

Runners requiring control of excessive motion should use a midsole of dual density that is harder on the medial aspect of the foot. Runners requiring extra shock absorption should choose a shoe with a soft midsole that still provides lateral stability.

Last (Sole) Construction:

Last (sole) construction refers to the method used to join the upper of the shoe to the midsole. Shoes are generally slip lasted where the upper is sewn together and glued directly to the sole. This promotes shoe flexibility but may reduce stability. In combination lasting, the rear of the upper shoe is glued to a fiber board which may promote stability, while the front of the shoe is slip lasted maintaining forefoot flexility.

Sole shape (straight or curved may assist in increasing comfort to different foot types. It must be remembered there is no optimal running shoe however being fitted by a professional will help avoid stress on your feet.

Reference :1.Brukner. P, Khan, K, Clinical Sports Medicine. 2nd Edition. 2003