Most brands of trail running shoes are only offered in medium widths, and this makes fitting a narrow foot extremely difficult. Asics GT-2000 and Brooks Adrenaline ASR are my current favorites in this category, offering medium width trail running shoes which run narrow.
Both brands are excellent in terms of design and support. However Asics GT-2000 takes a slight lead in the narrow-shallow department, whereas Brooks takes a slight lead in the support department.
An added bonus — both brands offer Gore-Tex, waterproof versions of the above models.
If you’re a basketball player, then you know how difficult it is to find supportive, well-designed basketball shoes. The Nike Kobe VII has been a favorite of mine — and now I have Ektio to add to the list.
Ektio is a unique new brand of basketball shoe that offers unparalleled ankle support. Ektio was kind enough to send me a pair to evaluate — and FDFAC staff member (and former WNBA and professional basketball player) Brooke Smith gave the shoes a rigorous court workout. The Result: Ektio passed with flying colors.
This shoe is designed to support the ankle and prevent inversion sprains, which it accomplishes by utilizing the following features.
- High Top Design — Supports and stabilizes excessive ankle motion
- Two Strap System — Secures and cinches to the ankle to provide leverage against lateral inversion motion
- Lateral Forefoot Flare and Graphite Outsole — Makes the shoe torsionally stable and less prone to twist
Overall, this is a terrific shoe — especially if you have a history of ankle sprains, or if you routinely wear an ankle brace for added support. You can also wear orthotics with this shoe, making this shoe my new favorite. Best of all, this shoe is reasonably priced at $129.95.
If you play basketball and haven’t tried Ektio, you will want to check them out!
JC came in with a pair of DZR shoes today to be worn with his new custom orthotics, and I’ve got to say I’m impressed. Designed as an Urban Cycling Shoe, DZR is hip enough to wear even if you don’t cycle.
DZR has the style of a skater shoe, without added forefoot flexibility — which is great for hallux limitus, sesamoiditis and metatarsalgia. For cycling, the outsole can be modified to accept Shimano SPD cleats for a clipless pedal ride, as the following video shows. Ingenious.
Finding a tennis/court shoe to accommodate a wide foot with a bunion, is no easy task. Fortunately, Nike Zoom Vapor 9, is just that shoe. Although sized for the male foot, it will work for women, size 7 and beyond. If you are a woman with a size 7 foot, order size 6 men’s which is the equivalent size. Now, on to the features that make this such an outstanding shoe.
- Mesh near the bump — Most tennis-specific shoes have an entirely leather upper with reinforced trim and/or stitching over the bunion area. Zoom Vapor 9 has mesh, which allows for a wide forefoot and expansion over the bunion area.
- Not only does this feature help to decrease pressure along the bunion, it also helps for those players having hammertoes. Beyond that, mesh makes this shoe lightweight and more responsive for being on your toes.
- Wide waist — Tennis players with a wide forefoot, arch collapse and excessive pronation need support, especially mid-arch. Zoom Vapor 9 doesn’t hourglass in at the waist — and that provides stability and maximum support.
- Torsional stability — Tennis is a sport with lots of side-to-side motion, primarily on the forefoot. Because of this, the shoe needs to be stable lengthwise, which Zoom Vapor 9 is.
All in all, this is a terrific shoe. If you have a wide foot — with or without a bunion and/or hammertoes — then you will want to check this model out.
I recently helped a modern dancer who was experiencing bunion pain whenever she danced barefoot — which was all the time. Although her bunions were significantly enlarged, she was pain free as long as she wore shoes.
The solution was to find her an appropriate shoe to dance in — finding dance shoes which can accommodate a wide foot with a bunion can be challenging, but Capezio’s Canvas Dance Sneaker does just that.
The upper is canvas, which — in addition to being lightweight and breathable — expands in the area of the bunion allowing for better fit. Lacing to the forefoot also allows for adjustments, an important feature for the wide forefoot.
This shoe also provides structure, which helps with alignment and promotes better function and less pain at the bunion site. Lastly, the thick, cushioned, forefoot and heel provide excellent shock absorption for not only the feet but the lower extremities in general.
I previously posted a review on Altra Instinct and was contacted by AltraZeroDrop as follows:
“Interesting review. A couple of things as I consider what is being said here. First, The Instinct is a neutral shoe and is sold as such. The Brooks Adrenaline is a motion control shoe. To compare the two with a pronator is not a fair comparison. To look at an Altra shoe that offers some pronation support please check out The Provision. This runner obviously needs some medial support and thus The Instinct may not be the best option right off the bat. As they strengthen their feet over time maybe.”
My reviews are based on the shoes that runners wear in, and the Instinct is the only shoe I’ve seen from Altra. In this runner’s case, he purchased the Instinct based on it’s “wider,” more supportive appearance, only to develop forefoot pain.
Altra’s website promotes Altra zero-drop footwear as “reducing forefoot pain, excessive pronation, IT Band pain, runners knee and shin-splints.” These claims are made independent of Altra model or style, but are instead specific to the zero-drop platform. So, based on these general design claims, this particular shoe should have worked for this particular runner.
My primary goal for doing shoe reviews is to reduce injury by educating runners about their foot type and alignment, and teaching them how to apply this to their shoe purchases. I agree that runners need to match their foot type (pronated, wide, etc.) to their shoes and I’m pleased that Altra offers a stability model.
I have asked Altra to send me a pair for review. I’ll keep you posted.
I have had several runners in my office asking me to evaluate to evaluate their Altra™ running shoes. As much as I want to recommend this shoe, I just can’t. There are too many runners for whom the fit and structure of this shoe is incompatible, as the following video shows.
Adidas Supernova Sequence 4 is essentially the same as version 3 — with features like a firm heel counter, inflexible forefoot and non-hourglass midsole/outsole that remain the same.
Good for the rectangle shaped foot, that doesn’t pronate excessively and is not too deep as the following field review video shows.
One of my favorite trail running shoes for the high volume foot as the following field review video shows.
Although the Gel Trabuco is only available in a medium width, it runs wider and deeper than many other brands of trail shoes. In addition to more volume, Gel Trabuco 14 also provides a lot of support, which is important for running on irregular trail terrain.
Asics Gel Noosa Tri 7 is a racing flat that features a non-collapsible heel counter, an inflexible forefoot, and torsional stability. Although these features are not typically found in racing flats, they can really make a difference for the midfoot and forefoot striker.
The only issue with this shoe is the shape (last) is more C-shaped than rectangular. The last shape — coupled with a waist that hourglasses in — can cause excessive pronation in certain foot types, as the following field review video shows.
A trail running shoe I like a lot. Features include a wide forefoot, firm heel counter, and torsional stability. Many running shoes that are wider in the forefoot are correspondingly wide in the midfoot and heel, but the Solomon XR Mission is not.
This XR Mission also has a firm, thick midsole, which helps with shock absorption, as the following field review video shows.
I have previously blogged about top of the foot bumps, Part 1 and Part 2. Prior posts addressed bony prominences (exostosis) causing bumps, but there can also be fluid filled cysts which arise from tendons or joints called ganglions, causing a bump.
Differentiation between the two can be determined by physical examination, x-rays, ultrasound and/or MRI. Typically, ganglions move beneath the skin whereas an exostosis does not. Fortunately, both conditions are benign, but if you have a bump on the top of your foot, you will still want to have it evaluated by a podiatrist.
Treatment for a ganglion include extracting the cyst fluid contents with a syringe, followed by steroid infiltration or surgical excision.
The following video shows an in-office surgical excision of a ganglion by my colleague, Dr. Anthony Nguyen.
Let me first say that I am not a fan of minimalist running for the majority of my patients. Having said that, “just don’t do it” is not an acceptable directive to runners who are going to run in minimalist shoes in spite of what I recommend. Due to this, I have reluctantly learned to evaluate minimalist running shoes. Not surprisingly, the best way to do this utilizes some of the same principles I use when evaluating non-minimalist styles.
First and foremost, does the shoe match the runner’s foot type? Unfortunately, most minimalist shoes only come in medium widths and none are available in narrow widths. This excludes up to 50 percent of the runners who need a narrow or wide width running shoe. Second, does the shoe make the runner’s stride, shock absorption and/or pathology better or, at the very least, not worse?
Armed with the answers to these simple questions, my colleague Samantha Gibson, Bsc(Hon) and I have evaluated over 50 models of minimalist running shoes on hundreds of runners with differing biomechanics, pathologies and foot types. Based on this, we have created a minimalist shoe list to give to patients to use as a guide and educational tool. It’s not a perfect list but at least these shoes have our preliminary seal of approval, which is important, given the constraints we are forced to deal with when recommending minimalist shoes.
Minimalist Shoe List
Once a minimalist shoe has been selected, I will evaluate the patient running barefoot, running in the minimalist shoe and running in an appropriately structured shoe. Based on this analysis, I will recommend whether someone is a candidate to wear minimalist running shoes or not.
Additional blog posts on barefoot and minimalist running are as follows and provide more of my thoughts about minimalist running:
New Balance 813 is a lightweight cross training shoe, as the following field review video shows.
I generally recommend a good running shoe for cross training — however, if you do not excessively pronate and need expandable forefoot volume, then this shoe might just work for you. New Balance 813 has minimal “hourglass” in the waist, is torsionally stable and has a firm heel counter which increases overall support.
Mizuno Wave Creation 13 is a stable, well-structured shoe as the following field review video shows.
This shoe is torsionally stable, has a firm heel counter and an inflexible forefoot making it a perfect choice for those runners who excessively pronate. The generous use of mesh throughout the forefoot makes this shoe lightweight and forgiving where runners need it most.
The only problem with this shoe is it runs 1/2 size long based on heel-to-ball length with a correspondingly short toe box, so you will want to be careful when evaluating size. Other than that, Wave Creation 13 is a great shoe.
Mizuno Wave Enigma is categorized as a neutral running shoe, but has much more structure than a typical neutral shoe.
Important features include torsional stability and a firm heel counter, both of which help prevent excessive pronation. The forefoot is moderately flexible, but sufficiently cushioned to aid shock absorption. The waist of the Enigma is also wide and doesn’t “hourglass” in, making this one of my favorite Mizuno’s this season, as the following field review shows.
One of my least favorite shoes this season. Although Wave Inspire 8 provides great support and structure, it’s oddly narrow in the forefoot and wide in the rearfoot. This design makes Wave Inspire 8 incompatible with a normal foot type, as the following field research video highlights.
I recently compared Asics Gel Foundation 10 to version 9.
As the following field review of Asics Gel Foundation 10 highlights, this is one of my favorite shoes this season. It’s lightweight, yet structured and although it is no longer offered in narrow — medium and wide widths still provide a great fit.
I previously reviewed Asics GT-2170 and compared it to Asics GT-2160. The following video is a field review of Asics GT-2170, which has changed significantly from Asics GT-2160. Although GT-2170 fits the same volume-wise as GT-2160, structure-wise, it no longer supports the excessively pronated foot.
Asics Gel-1170 is a great shoe for those runners having a shallow foot, who need maximum support. Although this shoe is also available in medium and wide widths, it’s most compatible with the narrow foot. It is also a viable replacement for Asics GT-2160, narrow width, as the following field research video shows.