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What Are Motion Control Running Shoes?

Shoe insoles.
A woman wearing motion control running shoes.
Motion control running shoes are intended to minimize the stress to certain areas of the body that occurs when running.
Motion control running shoes.
Article Details
  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2014
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Motion control running shoes are a type of athletic footwear designed to regulate the foot’s range of motion during running to minimize injury. These shoes are intended for runners who unintentionally roll their feet inward as they run, a tendency which can cause stress in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. While many motion control running shoes are virtually indistinguishable from normal running shoes, they feature an inbuilt support system that provides stability and limits excessive rolling of the feet. Some medical professionals advise against this type of shoe, recommending removable orthotic insoles as a better choice for sustained foot support.

Many joggers have a natural tendency to roll their feet and ankles inward as they run, a condition known as overpronation. This tendency causes the inner edges of the feet to bear much of the work of running, supporting the body weight and absorbing the shock of every footfall. Over time, this condition can lead to pain and injury in the feet and ankles as well as the knees, hips, and lower back.

Athletic footwear designers created motion control running shoes to limit this overpronation and, by extension, reduce injury. In most cases, the motion control features are built into these shoes and are thus undetectable to the casual observer. Many of the most popular running shoe manufacturers offer one or more motion control models.

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Perhaps the central component of this type of shoe is the medial post, a support structure which runs along the length of the inner foot and discourages inward rolling. Overpronation can cause the inner edge of a shoe’s outsole to wear away, further promoting rolling. Thus many motion control running shoes also feature extremely durable outsoles which prevent this type of wear as well as providing additional foot support.

Some medical professionals advise against the use of motion control running shoes. They argue that while the shoes may control foot rolling during exercise, overpronation is a problem that extends beyond running. Thus the body is protected from injury while the shoes are worn, but unprotected at all other times. Additionally, the constant readjustment from corrective to non-corrective shoes can put stress on the lower body and thus potentially increase susceptibility to injury. As an alternative to motion control running shoes, these professionals recommend removable orthotic insoles, which are custom-molded to an individual’s foot and can be transferred from one pair of shoes to another.

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