Where the rubber meets the road

What your shoe sole wear pattern can reveal about your running health

My coaching philosophy is rooted in smart, sustainable training. I want to provide knowledge and tools for long-term, healthy movement.

One of the tools I utilize with athletes focuses on shoe soles.

Why examine the soles of your running shoes?

Examination of your sole wear pattern provides insight to muscle imbalances, running gait, and a potential progression of discomfort < pain < injury elsewhere in the body.

A wear pattern that is symmetrical between feet isn’t a problem. When one shoe has significant wear, action must be taken to correct the issue. A posture assessment – questionnaire and video upload of static and dynamic movement – used in conjunction with shoe sole pictures, allows me to create a pre-hab strength program to correct muscle imbalances and decrease the risk of injury.

Because the last thing I want for my athletes is to experience preventable injuries. The area of discomfort < pain < injury is rarely the site of the problem. Knee pain is likely the result of hip or foot movement or muscle dysfunction.

Client Intake Form: Wear Pattern
Client Intake Form: Posture Assessment
How you can track wear pattern
  1. Create an album on your phone for every running shoe you own. Include the brand, model, and size in the album description.
  2. Snap multiple photos: the heel, the entire sole, the heel, the forefoot, and the upper.
  3. Create a calendar reminder to snap photos of the soles on the first of each month. Organize the new photos in the appropriate shoe album.
  4. Review the photo set. Identify any unusual wear, paying special attention to asymmetrical wear patterns between the left and right shoe.
  5. Repeat the monthly photos and album review until the shoe is no longer used for training.

Not only does this process heighten your own awareness of your running gait, but allows you to quickly identify areas that need to be addressed through a pre-hab or strength training program.

Stephanie Harboe is a RRCA-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer.

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