Shoes: Fashion v’s Function

Fashion v’s function: Why the difference between running shoes and casual shoes matters.

Lately here at Mullins podiatry we have seen the emergence of casual shoes being worn for the wrong purpose. Both children and adults have presented with conditions that can in part be attributed to the wearing of the wrong shoe for the wrong purpose.

If you pick your sports footwear based solely on it matching your latest active wear colour, sitting well with your jeans or looking good with shorts, you could be setting yourself up for stress fractures, knee problems and back pain.

Whilst it use to be easy to distinguish the difference between a street shoe and a purpose built running or cross training shoe, these days the differences to the average purchaser or recreational athlete can be less obvious.

Many shoe companies including Nike, Adidas, Sketchers, Asics and NB make both performance shoes and sports-styled street wear sneakers, and while the latter are great for getting out and about, they’re not suited for running, cross training or specific gym work. The difference in the mid-sole, the outer sole and the upper can lead to injury.

Essentially whilst the mid sole of a street shoe is fine for fashion or walking casually, it will not provide sufficient cushioning for the demands of running or sports. The lack of support and cushioning may lead to impact related stress to bones, joints and soft tissue.

Some examples of casual shoes and running shoes:

Fashion:                                                                              Function:

Adidas ZX Flux                                                                    Adidas Boost

Nike Roshe                                                                           Nike Pegausus

NB 574                                                                                   NB Zante

Asics made Onitsuka Tiger                                                Asics Kayano

The good news however is that if you find a shoe from the function column that suits your aesthetic demands and can be paired with your active wear look or chinos then you are less chance of causing injury.

If you need help choosing the right tool for the right job, are concerned your shoes are causing pain or aren’t sure what shoe you need, contact us at Mullins Podiatry at one of our 3 locations for a consultation. We will look at your foot type, your biomechanics/kinematics and review the purpose of your footwear.