Neutral training shoes is a kind of footwear that caters to people with normal foot pronation. It does not have any specialized structures to correct the foot movement. These shoes usually feature a straight last seeing that the person who wears them does not need to correct the way their foot transitions from the heel to the toes.
Are neutral training shoes right for you?
Best neutral training shoes - November 2018
A vast majority of training shoes on the market are neutral training shoes. There are very few brands that offer stability or motion control trainers because it is rather difficult to correct pronation when the foot performs fast multi-directional movements. That’s why arch support and other stability features are mostly found in walking shoes and running footwear
You can find out your arch type by conducting a simple “wet test” as shown in this video. If you have normal or high arches, then neutral training shoes are the right gear for you. You can also benefit from this type of trainers if you have slightly low arches. However, if you happen to have flat feet, there is a chance that you might encounter discomfort or feel like your training footwear lacks support. In this case, consider trying a pair of stability or motion control shoes. Another option is to purchase a customized orthotic insole to accommodate your individual preferences.
What is pronation?
Pronation is a slight inward rolling of the foot that occurs as the weight of a person shifts from the heel to the toes during the walking gait cycle. This motion is made possible by the unique complexes of bones, tendons, and ligaments that are known as the arches of the foot.
There are different types of foot arches: high, low, and those that fall somewhere in between. The height of the arch directly influences the way a person walks. People with low arches (or flat feet) tend to excessively roll their foot inward during the heel-to-toe transition, while those with high arches tend to roll their feet outwards. Thus, there are three types of pronation: normal pronation, overpronation, and underpronation (supination).
The weight of the person is evenly distributed on the planes of the foot as it rolls from the heel to the toes. There is a slight inward roll of the foot as the weight shifts from the heel to the ball, spreading across the toes. It is often observed that the soles of neutral training shoes used by people with normal pronation are evenly worn out on both lateral and medial sides.
People with low arches, or flat feet, tend to overpronate, or excessively roll their foot inwards when they walk. What this means is that the medial side of the heel hits the ground first and most of the weight remains at the medial side of the foot during the heel-to-toe transition. Looking at the wear pattern on their neutral training shoes, you'll see that the inner side of the heel is more worn out compared to the outer side. Also, weight is not evenly distributed amongst the toes and the big and second toes do all of the push-off.
Those who underpronate place most of their weight on the lateral side of the foot. Individuals with high arches are more inclined to walk using the outside of their foot. When you examine their neutral training shoes, the lateral side of the heel is overused since that’s the side that often hits the ground first and takes the brunt of the weight. The last two toes, the smaller of the group, bear the weight of the toe-off for underpronators.
Things to consider when purchasing neutral training shoes
When searching for a pair of neutral training shoes, or any shoes for that matter, there are several things to consider: function, comfort, style, durability, and price.
Function: What activities will you be using the neutral training shoes for? CrossFit, HIIT, running, dance, weightlifting, yoga, Pilates - these are just some of the fitness regimens a person can choose from and using the right shoes has a direct impact on a person’s performance. Weightlifting shoes are known to facilitate deeper squats and provide a stable base. Trainers for CrossFit feature components that make some moves easier such as rope guards for rope climbs or bumpers at the heel for smoother handstand wall push-ups.
Comfort: Some people work out 1-2 hours a day, three times a week; others workout 4 hours a day, seven days a week. Finding a comfortable shoe to workout in allows users to endure long training sessions. Those who feel any discomfort in their feet, knees, or hips would be most likely take more and longer breaks compared to those who are using comfortable training shoes.
Durability: neutral training shoes are intended to be replaced every six months, though this is not a strict rule. It still depends on how long, how often, and where the shoes are used. Those who can use their footgear for longer than six months are most likely to purchase the same pair of neutral training shoes or another one from the same brand.
Price: The cost of neutral training shoes differs from brand to brand. You can purchase a decent model for $60 to $150 with higher priced ones going for $200 to $300. The difference between reasonably priced neutral training shoes and expensive ones are the technologies used on them. As a general rule, the higher the price, the more advanced features or luxurious materials are used in it, while low-priced shoes use basic shoe technologies. A high price tag does not directly equate to better durability, comfort, and performance. Some athletes are satisfied working out in $60 neutral training shoes because the sole unit feels more grounded; others prefer higher-priced shoes because the midsole is more cushiony.
Style: there are some consumers who solely base their purchase on the style. If they like its color or how it looks, regardless of the price or how comfortable it is to wear, they’ll buy it. Others prefer a training shoe that also doubles as a casual sneaker. And then there are those who want to be able to go from the streets to working out in gyms without changing their footgear. Though there are a lot of cool designs for neutral training shoes, choosing which pair of training shoes to get relies on a user’s preferences.
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