Gait Analysis for Running Shoes

About the Author

Doug Adams PT, DPT, SCS, OCS, CSCS Dr. Doug Adams is a Physical Therapist who has published and spoken at an international level on all things related to running. Doug has taught thousands of professionals his systematic approach to providing personalized plans for runners through the Certified Running Gait Analyst and Endurance Running Coaching courses. He also designed and created a portable 3D Motion Analysis system called Helix 3D for analyzing and categorizing running form that is used widely throughout the Department of Defense, professional sports, and commercial sectors.

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Running can transform lives, lifting moods, boosting fitness, and providing a sense of freedom. Yet, the wrong shoes can turn this joyous activity into a painful experience, which is what makes gait analysis for running shoes so important. It’s all about making your footwear unique to your running style, for better comfort, health, and overall running performance. Here, we’ll explore what gait analysis is, how it helps you choose the best running shoes, and the long-term impact on your running.

Gait Analysis and Running Shoes – How They Make You A Better Runner

Essential for Runners

Running offers a path to joy, fitness, and mental clarity. The right shoes amplify this experience, while the wrong ones bring discomfort and injury. Gait analysis reveals the perfect shoes, fitted to your unique running style, delivering a host of benefits.

Improved Comfort and Fit

Imagine running with shoes that feel like an extension of your feet. Gait analysis matches your shoes to your stride, providing unparalleled comfort. No more blisters or pinched toes—just pure, unadulterated comfort on every run.

Better Support and Stability

Proper support prevents unwanted motion, keeping your feet stable. This means fewer rolled ankles and less strain on your joints. Shoes recommended through gait analysis offer targeted support, reducing the risk of injuries and promoting a balanced stride.

Enhanced Performance and Efficiency

Every runner dreams of smoother, faster, and more efficient strides. Gait analysis identifies the perfect shoes to make this dream a reality. With footwear that complements your natural movement, each step propels you forward effortlessly, unlocking new levels of performance.

Reduced Risk of Injury

Running should never involve pain. Gait analysis helps identify shoes that align with your biomechanics, minimizing the risk of common injuries like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures. Fewer injuries mean more consistent training and better long-term results.

How Gait Analysis is Performed

Illustration of the gait analysis process with three steps: high-speed camera capture, pressure mat analysis, and professional review.

Imagine stepping onto a high-tech treadmill, every stride meticulously recorded by an array of sensors and cameras. This isn’t an ordinary run. It’s a deep dive into the mechanics of your movement. Gait analysis employs sophisticated technology to paint a comprehensive picture of your running style.

Under a Watchful Eye

As you run, cameras capture every angle, slowing time to reveal each phase of your gait. These cameras don’t miss a beat, scrutinizing your foot strike, midstance, and push-off. Motion sensors add another layer, tracking the dynamic shifts in your body’s alignment and motion.

Under Pressure

Pressure mats and insoles provide a different perspective. They whisper secrets about the interaction between your foot and the running surface, identifying pressure points and weight distribution patterns. This data unveils the hidden forces at play during your run, pinpointing inefficiencies and potential problem areas.

Under Review

Professionals approach this analysis with a scientific mindset. The environment remains controlled, so that external factors don’t interfere with the results. This contrasts sharply with DIY methods, which often rely on limited tools and subjective judgment. In a professional setting, the process becomes a true science, where each piece of data contributes to a holistic understanding of your gait.

Experts interpret the data with precision, identifying subtle imbalances and deviations. They look beyond the obvious, seeking patterns that might explain discomfort or inefficiency. Their goal? To match you with the perfect shoes, boosting your natural stride and reducing the risk of injury.

Common Gait Issues Identified

Diagram of common gait issues: overpronation, underpronation, and neutral gait, with visual foot illustrations.


Overpronation, where the foot rolls inward excessively with each step, often leads to problems like shin splints and knee pain. Symptoms frequently include flat feet or a collapsing arch. For this condition, experts recommend shoes with strong arch support and stability features. Brands such as Asics Gel-Kayano, Brooks Adrenaline GTS, and New Balance 860 offer excellent options. These shoes incorporate dual-density midsoles and medial posts to provide extra support and prevent the excessive inward roll.

Underpronation (Supination)

Underpronation, or supination, occurs when the foot rolls outward, putting extra strain on the outer edge. This can cause ankle injuries and stress fractures, with high arches and rigid feet typically indicating this condition. Cushioned shoes with flexible midsoles offer the needed relief and support. Top picks for supinators include Nike Air Zoom Pegasus, Saucony Triumph, and Hoka One One Clifton. These shoes feature soft midsoles and extra cushioning to absorb impact, reducing the strain on the outer foot.

Neutral Gait

A neutral gait, characterized by the foot rolling inward slightly to absorb shock, represents the ideal motion. Runners with a neutral gait enjoy a wide range of shoe options. Standard running shoes often suffice, but slight adjustments can optimize performance. Recommended shoes for neutral runners include the Adidas Ultraboost, Mizuno Wave Rider, and New Balance Fresh Foam 1080. These shoes provide balanced cushioning and support, catering to the natural stride of neutral runners.

How to Get a Gait Analysis

Finding a Professional Service

Seek out specialty running stores, sports clinics, or physiotherapists. These experts possess the equipment and knowledge to conduct a thorough gait analysis. Each step brings you closer to understanding your unique stride and the shoes that suit you best.

What to Expect During the Session

A typical gait analysis session involves running on a treadmill while cameras and sensors capture your every move. Experts analyze this data, looking at foot strike, body alignment, and pressure distribution. Expect detailed feedback on your running style and personalized shoe recommendations.

Cost Considerations

Investing in gait analysis often leads to long-term savings. Avoiding injuries and buying the right shoes from the start can prevent costly mistakes. While prices vary, the benefits far outweigh the initial cost, making it a wise investment for any serious runner.

Selecting the Right Running Shoes Based on Gait Analysis

Choosing the right shoes involves more than picking the latest model. It’s about matching shoes to your unique gait. Here’s what to look for.

Guide to selecting the right running shoes based on gait analysis, highlighting cushioning, support, and flexibility features.

The Importance of Matching Shoes to Gait Type

Matching shoes to your gait type prevents discomfort and boosts performance. Overpronators need stability, underpronators require cushioning, and neutral runners benefit from balanced support. The right gait analysis tool provides the insights needed to make the right choice.

Features to Look for in Running Shoes

  • Cushioning: Absorbs impact, protecting joints and reducing fatigue. Ideal for long-distance runners and those with high arches.
  • Support: Maintains proper foot alignment, crucial for overpronators. Look for shoes with reinforced midsoles and arch supports.
  • Flexibility: Allows natural foot movement, essential for neutral runners. Flexible shoes adapt to your stride, providing a smooth, comfortable run.

Schedule a Gait Analysis Session Today

Why wait? Transform your running experience with a gait analysis session at RunDNA. Discover the comfort, support, and performance gains that come with perfectly matched shoes. Step into a future where every run feels effortless and injury-free. Find a gait analysis provider near you today and unlock the full potential of your running journey.