What is a Gait Analysis?
By analyzing your running mechanics, you can get matched up with a pair of running shoes to help keep you comfortable and optimize your performance.
Finding the right running shoe for you can make a world of difference. And that can all start with a gait analysis. This process helps discover your unique movement pattern when running, jogging and walking to match you with the best fit.
“Gait analysis is key to finding a shoe that will help you run happy and successfully and, hopefully, without incurring an injury,” says Ian Schreckengast of Brooks Running.
No matter if you are replacing an old pair of running shoes or starting from square one, a gait analysis is a great first step. Your body movements when you’re running are unique to you. So choosing a shoe at random can mean your footwear could work against your natural running style. It could even impact your running experience.
“If you are running in the wrong category of shoe, you run a risk of injury and general discomfort,” Schreckengast says. “Even if you are not at an injury risk, you want to feel good.”
HOW GAIT ANALYSIS WORKS
There’s different ways to analyze your gait, but here’s what to expect when you get a gait analysis from one of our Store Services running PROS.
You’ll start by running on a treadmill at a slow pace for under a minute. Your lower legs and feet are being recorded on video. The PROS will then slow down the video and analyze it to see how your body moves.
This process can shed a light on your gait type. So, what is gait? Your gait is based on how your feet make contact with the ground and how they react when they leave the ground and are in motion. There are three types of foot strikes:
- Pronation: The outside of your heel strikes the ground first and rolls inward excessively. This can hamper your ability to absorb shock or stabilize.
- Supination: The outside of your heel strikes first and your heel stays rotated outward. This can cause the impact of your foot strike to be placed on the outside of your foot and can reduce shock absorption.
- Neutral: The outside of your heel hits the ground first. Your foot rolls inward slightly and pushes off the ground evenly.
Pro Tips can help you match your gait style to your new running shoes with this guide on How to Buy Running Shoes. You don’t want to fight nature. Rather than try to use your shoes to correct your gait, you should determine your style and, well, run with it.
“We want to focus on your run signature,” Schreckengast says. “The way you move is fine. We want to complement that. So finding a good running shoe is important to match your body’s mechanics and not fight those mechanics.”
It’s important to remember that your body and running mechanics can change. The results of your previous gait analysis might not apply to your current running style.
“I would get it done multiple times, but not every time,” Schreckengast says. “Maybe every few years or after an injury or body change, like weight gain. That can all affect the body. It is good to get a check up with a gait analysis to make sure you have the right shoe for your movement.”
Getting a gait analysis can be a huge step in the right direction when you’re searching for the best running shoe. Stop in to a DICK’S Sporting Goods store to get a gait analysis from our Running PROS to start your next run on the right foot.