Many people complain to me about the outside of their shoe being worn excessively. They say they aren’t experiencing any exceptional amounts of foot pain, but they are concerned that something is wrong. They often report that it doesn’t wear unevenly anywhere else on the shoe. The truth is, the outside of everyone’s shoe wears faster and if they pay closer attention it probably is worn out differently on different parts of the shoe. That is 100% normal. This will explain, for both walking and running, why the outside of the shoe wears faster.
Gait (a fancy word for walking) is divided into two major phases with sub-phases. The gait cycle refers to one side of the body’s rotation from the time the heel hits the ground, rolls forward comes of the ground and then hits again. This is referred to as one gait cycle. The main difference between walking and running gait cycles is the addition of the “float” phase in running. This is when neither right nor left foot are in contact with the ground.
phases of the gait cycle: 1. Stance phase (foot on the ground) 2. Swing phase (foot off the ground)
Stance phase (60% of cycle)-This is any time one foot is in contact with the ground. Remember that gait cycle only refers to one limb. While one limb is in one part of the gait cycle, the other limb is in the exact opposite part. When the right foot is in the middle of stance phase, the left foot should roughly be in the middle of swing phase.
Stance phase sub-categories:
The blue line represents where the body’s center of gravity and pressure falls along the shoe surface.
Foot Motion during Stance
Swing phase (40% of cycle)-The goal of swing phase is to clear the foot and leg from the ground, swing it forward over the contralateral (other) limb and catch your momentum coming down.
Important foot anatomy
Here are some other points to remember about the foot. The foot is divided into a medial (inside) and lateral (outside) column. The medial column is a “flexible adaptor” with more motion and flexibility. The lateral column is a “rigid lever” which allows the aforementioned gait cycle to propulse from lateral to medial and out through the big toe.
The medial arch acts like a shock absorber, bowing and flexing when needed. When running on a sandy beach or soft grass, the position and balance receptors in your body will communicate this surface with your noggin. The foot will automatically adapt to the soft, uneven terrain and without intention you will use more of the inside of your foot. Try jogging 6 miles on a beach then see where your feet are most sore. Overpronators or flat-footed individuals naturally put more pressure on the inside of their arch leading to arch fatigue and plantar fasciitis (heel pain).
The bones of the lateral arch have significantly less motion than the medial arch. They are meant to lock and give you a solid surface from which to spring forward. Individuals with a high-arch or supinated foot type often put excessive pressure and strain on this part of their foot.
When I first studied biomechanics I paid more attention to my gait when running. I started to try and adapt; invert more at heel strike, feel the leg turn outward and propulse through my medial column. The best way to run is as natural and comfortable as possible. You can pay a running coach a lot of money to strengthen certain muscles, and use certain form but for the non-elite, amateurs and “fun-runners” out there, just be yourself when you run! You will do more damage trying to change the way that you run, than just staying loose and allowing your body to move how it is meant to.
For more questions about walking, running, foot types, foot pains and foot and ankle problems contact
Dr. Marcin N. Vaclaw
Foot and Ankle Specialists of The Woodlands
9191 Pinecroft Dr #225
The Woodlands, TX 77380