QT: Non-Running Shoes Can (and Do!) Contribute to Running Injuries (Best Of-ish)

Can we talk about the elephant in the room?

Elephant in the Room

When it comes to runners and their shoes, there are no shortage of arguments about which shoes are the best.

If you’ve been around these parts for more than a minute, you know that I’m a huge believer in Altras and their zero-drop platform.

But this quick tip isn’t about why I think Altras rule and other shoes drool.

No, this quick tip is about what you’re putting on your feet when you’re not running.

Because believe it or not, those shoes matter too. A lot.

Shoes & Running Injuries

What role do running shoes play in preventing, or causing, running related injuries?

(And for the purpose of this post, by running related injuries I’m talking predominately about shin splints and plantar fasciitis.)

Some, but probably less than you think.

Provided your shoe fits properly, in terms of plantar fasciitis and shin splints your running shoes aren’t that big of a deal.


For real though.

You know what shoes are much more likely to lead to some serious plantar fasciitis and/or shin splints?

The shoes you wear when you’re not running.

Audit Your Non-Running Shoes

How much time do you spend in your running shoes compared to your non-running shoes?

We wear our running shoes for a few hours each week and then we spend the rest of the time in something else. Could be dress shoes, could be casual shoes, could be shoeless.

But the point I’m trying to make is that we get so worked up in what shoes we wear when we run, and their ability to keep us healthy and free from many running-related injuries, that we seldom even think about the shoes we wear when we aren’t running.

And that is a problem.

Heels are the Devil

High Heels are the Devil

You can’t do much worse for yourself than to wear a shoe with a heel.

And I’m not talking about crazy high heels only either. I mean any shoe with a heel.

Work boots. Boat shoes. Loafers. Many casual shoes.

Heel. Heel. Heel. Heel.

Walking in heels causes your Achilles tendon to be in a shortened position.

Do it once in a while? Honestly, not a big deal.

Do it day in day out, for hours at a time.

Big deal.

When your Achilles is repeatedly shortened that new length can become the new normal. And then when you step down without a heel on, you risk a strain of your Achilles and/or your calf muscle.

But that’s not the only possible issue you may face. A tight Achilles can create increased pressure on your calcaneal bursa which may lead to bursitis, and it puts an increased amount of tension on your calcaneus which puts extra stress on your plantar fascia, which may lead to a case of the plantar fasciitis.

No Support, No Bueno

No Bueno

Another issue with a  lot of non-running shoes is the lack of support that the shoes provide, specifically in the arch.

And a non-supported arch, especially if the muscles in your foot are weak, is a recipe for shin splints.

Many casual shoes, flats, and sandals are at the top of the list of shoes that have no arch support at all.

And that means that every step you take your arch is collapsing. Do that enough times and you can develop a nasty bout of shin splints.

Step Up the Quality of Your Non-Running Shoes

If you seem to be always struggling with plantar fasciitis or shin splints, instead of obsessing over your choice of running shoes you need to step up your non-running shoe game.

And I fully appreciate that that can be difficult.

Depending on where you work and what your dress code is, certain shoes have to be worn and finding ones with adequate arch support and/or no heels can be next to impossible.

If that sounds like your situation, I feel for you. But you can still do better.

What are you wearing when you’re not at work? What are you wearing when you’re walking around the house or working in the yard?

Every opportunity you have to support your arch and wear shoes that promote you Achilles tendon to properly stretch and flex, do it!

Do It

Or just keep dealing with the plantar fasciitis and the shin splints.

Your choice…

Can your non-running shoes be a major factor in whether or not you develop certain running injuries? In a word, yes. #runnerprobs Click To Tweet
How Much do You Think About Your Non-Running Shoes and the Impact They May Have on Your Running Injuries? 

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