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I think that a very high per centage of runners (expecially, but not certainly not exclusively) wear their shoes too small and tie them too tight. I believe that the there may be a misconception that if you can get your foot into the shoe, it fits. Tight fitting and short fit shoes may very well block normal and desireable function, particularly the first ray's inability to both plantarflex and move proximally, then dorsiflex and relax distally. I will very often take the laces out of a runner's/walker's shoes and began re-lacing them at the 2nd or 3rd eyelet. A tight lace across the bottom can effectivley work like a retinaculum hindering the first ray function. I will tell the patients to tie the shoes quite loosely, run or walk for 10 minutes , then decide if the shoe needs further tightening. The various circulatory and muscosketal demands on the foot may well increase the volume of the foot such that the loose fitting shoe, now fits and functions optimally. A major purpose of a shoe, is to provide protection against and injurious envirnonment, not block function.
I agree with what you are saying. However, I think cross country runners are a littlle different to other types of runners and walkers. Cross country runners wear their spikes tight so that they are not pulled off in the mud during competing. They would tend to train in regular fitting shoes.
The soccer boot (or slipper) was worn tight on the foot from the 30s onwards once the Uk soccer players were made aware of the faster more acrobatic game of Continental and South American play. Better ball control for dribbling and a more accurate sweet spot were irrististable. Many players including King Kenny Dalgliesh (Celtic , Man United and Scotland) were known to soak in a bath wearing his new boots in the hope they would shrink on the foot. He was not alone. The idea of a tight lasted boot is not so detrimental as it may appear when compared to a standard shoe fitting. As we all know the cycle of events in a sporting context are quite different to walking per se and provided the elastic memory and plasticity of the upper materials are appropriate then tight lasting does not disadvantage the foot, quite the contrary. For nearly two hundred years kanagaroo skin has been used as an upper material which has the necessary physical properties to encase the foot without restricting changes in foot dynamics. Kangaroo skin has special sequence of yellow elastic fibres which gives the hide incredible tenacity and an absence of sweat pores makes the skin almost indistructable. More recently new synthetics have been invented to meet and match the propreties of Kangaroo skin and now players can go with their conscience as to wearing animal products or not. Australia has done a lot more for the beautiful game than just qualifting for FIFA World Cup Germany 2006
Inferior boots are likely to include seems which may conflict with flexor surfaces, particulalry when worn tight and this is probably the reason why foot morbidity is associated. Several years ago it was well known the inclusion of sports logos on the boots themselves added rough surfaces which irrtated the players feet.
It is no surprise to learn other codes have adopted tight lasted footwear simply because the shoe functions as added traction to the foot and movement within the encased foot would increase friction on the skin and reduce the advantage of the shoe. Again history relates Olymic runners prior to becoming professionals would not choose their running shoes until minutes before their hete. The choice was dependent not on the manufacturer but how much money was placed in the shoe. No athlete would deliberately compromise their performance by wearing inferior shoes and subsequently we are left to conclude there was no difference beteen the shoes on offer other than the incentive to wear them. The leveler would be if the shoes were worn tight to the foot then this would obviate any quirkie difference in design.
Back to soccer the new generation of boot contains better structure within to help support the foot once the heel is off the ground. This helps stabilise the knee and gives added support for jumping and landing. True injury prevention.
To optomise this support the boot needs to fit the foot neatly. The philosophy that the foot needs to do what comes naturally supported by the boot has become the rally call of the major shoe retailers. The other revolution has been the addition of polymer cleats. The stud patterns have changed and the physical properties improved sufficient to alter rotational stresses passing to the knee with jumping and landing. This innovation came from Australian Rules Football and was quickly adopted into the footwear of other football codes. One down side of the new cleat generation is the alarming number of laceration injuries caused by wreckless play.
So to sum up sports shoes that require to deal with acceleration and rotation need to be worn tighter to the skin than normal footwear.
Probably the mostest tightest sports shoes you can wear are the boots/slippers associated with rock climbing. The legendary Scottish climber, Robin Smith, writing in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal of his exploits on Carn Dearg with Dougal Haston during the summer of 1959 (The Bat and the Wicked) explains:
Well I had stolen the lead, only some time before I had been to a place called Harrison's Rocks and some or other fellow out of London had made off with my PAs. Now PAs are the Achilles' Heel of all new men; they buckle your feet into claws and turn you into a tiger, but here I had only a flabby pair of Klettershühe with nails sticking out on both sides of the soles, so I worked on Dougal to change footwear at which he was not pleased because we stood on a steep slab with one little ledge for feet and a vision before us of retreating in our socks.
Sadly, Smith died in the Pamirs during the descent of Pic Garmo (with Wilfred Noyce) in 1962, but had he lived, he would have no doubt graduated to the new generation of rock boots which, if anything, are even more restrictive than the PAs he described. Having just finished a season with my Boreal's (size 12 whereas my normal shoe size is size 10) I can testify to the excruciating discomfort they manifest when worn any longer than an hour at a time - quite a problem on long, difficult leads when you're gripped at a particular problem and nipped beyond belief by the rubbers at the end of your pins!
Last edited by Mark Russell : 21st November 2005 at 12:25 PM.
Better ball control for dribbling and a more accurate sweet spot were irrististable. Many players including King Kenny Dalgliesh (Celtic , Man United and Scotland) were known to soak in a bath wearing his new boots in the hope they would shrink on the foot. He was not alone.
King Kenny Dalgliesh played for Liverpool!
Last edited by Admin : 29th January 2009 at 03:12 AM.
Reason: fixed quote
Dooh, so he did. I knew him through friends when he played for Celtic and was once asked to make a set of insoles with Morton's extension quickly as a favour to a mate. Turned out it was for King Kenny.
As a player he was always complaining but on his game he wuz the biz. If only Old Scotia had Kenny and the Quality Street squad, today
The AFL players do the same.
As Michael pointed out, it can stop the foot sliding inside the boot/shoe.
This is especially true for the player that has a narrow foot.
When a lot of these products dont come in multiple width fittings, going down a size or even two can help with the width fitting issues for the narrow foot
I think that a very high per centage of runners (expecially, but not certainly not exclusively) wear their shoes too small and tie them too tight.
The runner's here generally wear a size bigger for extra space in the toebox, unless they are beginners that have bought their shoes at a retail outlet with either uneducated sales personal or those that are only interested in making the sale.
Another sport that generally has tight footwear is cycling. especially popular in road and track cycling, where the tighter and stiffer the shoe the better for transfering the energy directly to the cranks.
I have a background including years of rock climbing and skiing and trekking, plus 10 yrs of competition squash and football (round and oval ball). Then I spent almost 20 yrs in retail, for some of this stuff. Tight footwear is a habit developed by some people in response to foot wear that does not fit well for the purpose for which it is used. Friction boots for climbing are really in a special class of their own, and some people destroy their feet by use of these fitted far too tight over years. There are all sorts of solutions to functional problems other than just making them tighter, but very few people bother to go to the trouble.