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Experts say the best choice of running shoe depends on a person's body weight

Photo: Lightweight shoes a risk to heavy runners
Exercise science experts say the best choice of running shoe depends on a person's body weight.

Lightweight or minimalist running shoes have become popular but they may cause more harm than good for people weighing over 70 kilos.

Australian research conducted at the University of South Australia has shown these style of joggers are associated with an increased risk of injury in heavier runners.

In fact, a 26-week study of 61 trained runners found those who weighed more than 85 kilos were three times more likely to sustain an injury when training in lightweight runners compared to conventional shoes.

"We found the best shoe choice depended on your body weight," said Dr Joel Fuller at the Sansom Institute for Health Research.

Co-researcher, Professor Jon Buckley says minimalist shoes can help people run faster but heavier runners should think twice about using them.
"Weight produces higher impact forces that increase injury, regardless if this is the result of being a taller and possibly even heavier person, or a person carrying a little more weight than average.

"So it's not the BMI to be concerned about, it's the actual weight," said Prof Buckley.

Sydney-based podiatrist Nicole Reilly says the wrong shoes for a person's foot type can be detrimental to their health.

Incorrect footwear can cause heel and ankle pain, knee issues and even lower back pain.

"If you are not trained properly to run in these more minimalist shoes your risk of injury is greater," Ms Reilly told AAP

"Joggers won't hurt your feet but it depends on what shoes you are running in," Ms Reilly, a member of the Australian Podiatry Association, said.

Knowing your foot type, she says, is really important when it comes to choosing the correct shoes for running.

While some shoes may look cool they may be no good for the foot, Mr Reilly said.

"Every single foot is so different, so its very broad to say this shoe is going fit 99.9 per cent of the population and you are not going to end up with heel pain."


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