Running Shoe Wiki

Content overview

1.structure of running shoe

2.running shoe categories

  • Neutral shoes
  • Stable shoes
  • Trail running shoes
  • Cushioning shoes
  • Natural running shoes
  • Competition shoes

3.running styles

  • Forefoot running
  • Midfoot running
  • Heelfoot running

4.foot type / malpositions

  • Normal foot
  • flat foot
  • High arch
  • Splayfoot
  • Pronation
  • Overpronation
  • Supination

5.what is a compression?

6.running shoes for women

1.structure of a running shoe

A modern running shoe is mostly composed of the following basic elements:


The last is the basic structure of any running shoe: the shoe is made around the last, so to speak. It is a molded piece of wood or plastic that is modeled on the human foot. With its length, height and width, the last determines the fit of the running shoe, and its curvature has a significant influence on the rolling behavior. Straight lasts offer a high degree of support and are mainly used for stability shoes. Curved lasts are mainly used in the manufacture of natural running and competition shoes, as they offer a particularly high degree of flexibility and enable a fast rolling motion.

Upper material

The upper material forms the upper of the running shoe and is intended to protect and guide the foot. Mostly synthetic materials such as mesh, microfiber or nylon are used here, which are both breathable and elastic. Reinforcements made of firmer material, e.g. synthetic leather, provide additional stability in sensitive areas such as the toe box and midfoot. Incorporated padding in the tongue and ankle area increases running comfort and improves the fit of the running shoe. The design of the heel cap also makes a significant contribution to good foot guidance. It is mostly made of more stable materials such as TPU, PVC or carbon and encloses the heel for optimal support. Many trail running models also feature a waterproof, breathable membrane incorporated into the upper of the running shoe.


The insole is designed to further improve the fit of the running shoe by creating optimal contact between the foot and the midsole. In most cases, it is made up of several layers: The upper layer is often made of moisture-absorbing materials that wick away sweat and moisture, while the lower layers have a cushioning and supportive function.


The midsole or midsole is the heart of a running shoe and contains varying degrees of cushioning materials depending on the type and function of the shoe. Special cushioning elements made of silicone gel, carbon fibers, foamed EVA or polyurethane are designed to provide a soft landing, while harder materials on the inner and outer sides act as pronation or supination support. Natural running and competition shoes forgo voluminous cushioning in favor of weight and flexibility.


The outer sole or outsole has the task of protecting the foot from injury and at the same time providing good grip. It should be as grippy as possible, but still flexible. The sole profile and the material used play a decisive role here. Depending on the intended use, the outsole is made of hard or carbon rubber or an EVA rubber compound. Particularly abrasion-resistant and durable rubber compounds are used in the contact area of the sole, while strategically placed flex grooves in the forefoot area increase the flexibility of the sole.

2.running shoe categories

Neutral Shoes

The name of this type of running shoe is due to the neutral sole construction of the running shoe. A neutral shoe has hardly any stabilizing or guiding elements; in particular, it does without pronation supports. The semi-curved last allows the foot to roll naturally. Although the cushioning elements are only slightly developed, they still provide sufficient protection for the joints and allow for a good perception of the ground. The ligaments, vision and foot muscles are challenged more during running, but thus also trained better.

Stability shoes

As the name of the shoe suggests, this running shoe is designed to give the foot stability and protect it from buckling inward. This is ensured by a pronation support, which is incorporated at the inner edge in the midsole of the shoe. These shoes are particularly interesting for runners with a flat foot or overpronation, as long as the overpronation is not due to too little movement and untrained feet.

Trail running shoes

Trail running means running in rough terrain, away from roads. Forest and field paths are preferred, but a cross-country run is also called a trail run. This type of terrain places special demands on the runner. The athlete must concentrate more and the muscles and tendons are strengthened more holistically compared to road running. Strength, coordination, endurance and mobility are effectively trained.

As a result of these requirements, trail running shoes differ in construction from conventional running shoes. The upper shoe is equipped with robust, often water-repellent material. The midsole is flatter, so the foot is closer to the ground and the runner has a direct feel for the ground. Usually, the midsole's drop is kept low, which increases surefootedness. Often, the upper of the shoe is reinforced to prevent twisting.

But what is striking about trail running shoes is the robust and profiled outsole. It is particularly grippy and provides sufficient grip on uneven terrain and also on snow. In winter, trail shoes are a good alternative to conventional running shoes due to their robust outer material and grippy sole.

Cushioning shoes

Cushioning shoes offer increased cushioning to absorb the impact forces on hard surfaces and thus protect the joints. Depending on the manufacturer, different cushioning systems (usually in the form of gel and silicone cushions or foam mixtures) are used in the midsole of these running shoes to help conserve energy and reduce force. They are especially suitable for long-distance runs, runs on hard surfaces, and untrained and heavy runners.

Natural Running Shoes/Barefoot Shoes

Natural running shoes, also called barefoot shoes, are designed to support the innate running behavior and allow direct contact with the ground, similar to barefoot running. Therefore, this type of running shoes has the following features to be highlighted:

The outsole is very thin and is often processed without or only with very low cushioning. Due to the resulting direct contact with the ground, the running style is usually faster. The outsole is very flexible, which is particularly interesting for forefoot runners. A Natural Running shoe does without pronation supports and stabilizing elements. Stabilization is provided by the runner's trained muscles.

Competition shoes

Competition shoes are very light running shoes and are suitable for experienced runners who do fast training sessions and train for competitions. The lightness of these running shoes is due to the lack of cushioning and supports. The shoe construction is particularly flat and light. Competition shoes have a curved last. Due to the fact that particularly light and thin materials are processed here, the durability of competition shoes is limited. A rule of thumb here is 400 km. Normal running shoes can be run about 800 km.

3.running styles

Forefoot running

In forefoot running, the foot first touches the ground with the ball of the big toe. This is followed by a rolling motion of the midfoot to the heel. Finally, the foot is pushed off again over the ball of the big toe. Since barefoot humans also walk this way, forefoot running is considered the most natural gait for humans.

Midfoot running

Midfoot running is a compromise between forefoot and rearfoot running. Here, the advantages of both running styles are combined and the dangers are tried to be minimized.

In midfoot running, the entire sole of the foot is placed on the ground. The foot touches the ground equally with a flat angle in the rearfoot and midfoot area and then rolls over the toes.

Midfoot running is less forceful and, compared to rearfoot running, is easier on the joints.

Heel-foot running

Heel-foot running is also known as rearfoot running. In this style of running, the outside of the heel of the foot touches the ground first. The foot is then bent slightly inward until the entire sole is then in contact. Finally, the foot rolls over the ball of the foot at the big toe and is pushed off again.

Heel-toe running is the running style that is most common.

4.foot type / deformities

Normal foot

The healthy foot is the normal foot and only about a quarter of runners have a normal foot.

The footprint shows a clear imprint of the forefoot, midfoot and hindfoot. It can also be seen that the entire sole of the foot is in contact with the ground. In the middle area of the foot, the inner arch leaves no impression; only the narrow outer edge of the foot touches the ground.

When running, the ground is first touched with the outer edge of the hindfoot area, then the foot bends inward.(natural pronation)

Drop foot

Compared to the normal foot, the footprint of a flat foot changes so that the arch of the sole touches the ground. This is referred to as overpronation, i.e. an excessive inward buckling of the foot.

High arch

Compared to the normal foot, the hollow foot has a very high arch and when running, the outer edge of the foot only partially touches the ground.

During the running movement, the outer edge of the heel hits the ground first, and the foot bends inward only slightly or not at all. This is also called supination.


While a fallen foot or a flat foot is due to a lack of movement, a foot changes to a splayfoot because (mostly women) wear unsuitable footwear. In very rare cases, however, it can also be congenital. When wearing heeled shoes, the pelvis tilts forward and the leg axis lengthens, thus shifting the body weight to the forefoot area and causing an incorrect load on the foot muscles. Gradually, the transverse arch flattens and the forefoot spreads. As a result, the elasticity in the forefoot area also decreases and the load on the metatarsal bones increases. Conclusion: do not wear heels too often!


Natural pronation is the natural buckling of the feet in the ankle joint. This lowering of the inner edge of the foot results in the raising of the outer edge of the foot and is the body's natural cushioning. With normally trained foot muscles and elastic tendons, the stress of walking or running is cushioned and the direct impact load on the joints is reduced.

Whether pronation is considered natural or overpronation depends on the angle at which the foot bends inward.


If a foot bends inward too much beyond the natural pronation, it is called overpronation. This puts a lot of stress on tendons, joints and ligaments.

Overpronation can be due to various causes:

  • Foot malposition (flat foot)
  • fatigue
  • insufficiently trained muscles of the supporting apparatus
  • Excessive wear in the inner part of the shoe.


Supination is the lifting of the inner edge of the foot, while the outer edge of the foot lowers, which leads to greater stress on the ligaments, joints and tendons in the foot. The foot comes up on the outer edge when running. The causes can vary.

  • Disposition
  • Injuries or malpositions
  • Hollow foot or bow legs

The natural cushioning function of the feet is severely compromised, which can result in severe foot, knee, hip joint and spine damage.

The soles of the running shoes show greater wear on the outside of the shoes.

5.What is a drop?

The difference in height between the forefoot and heel is called a sprint. Or, to put it simply, the drop means the slope of the sole. In many running shoes, cushioning elements are built into the heel area to minimize impact forces. The elevation in the heel area allows the shoe to roll better. For forefoot runners, however, a raised heel is rather annoying, because it hinders the running technique.

6.running shoes for women

When choosing a running shoe, women should consider anatomical differences from men and choose women-only models.

The differences between men's and women's feet are clear. The causes are due to natural and also behavioral conditions.

The main differences are:

  • narrower and flatter feet, especially in the midfoot and heel area
  • low lying ankle joint
  • different angular position(pronation) of the feet, due to wider hips
  • different rolling pattern

Due to the narrower heel, a woman's shoe should also be cut narrower to prevent the heel from slipping in the shoe.

The average woman's foot is also more mobile and flexible than a man's foot, and at the same time the connective tissue is weaker. In general, women are usually lighter than men at the same height, which plays a not insignificant role in the cushioning of the shoe. For this reason, the midsole of women's running shoes is usually somewhat thinner and more flexible, and the overall cushioning is softer than in running shoes for men.