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Rule 1

A choice that mirrors client request


Beliefs held by clients are often based on their own experience, they are still frequently biased by commercial influences. Additionally, despite the importance of disseminating information that is easy to understand and reliable (from unbiased sources), it is important not to destroy such beliefs with unfounded arguments or with recommendations based upon our own beliefs. It is also paramount to respect any prescription that may have been issued previously by a specialist. If changes in practice occur, they must be implemented with caution. A runner who elects to use a new type of running shoes will have to ensure a progressive transition from the old to the new shoes.

Rule 2

A scientific and logical selection that supersedes marketing incentives


The concepts taught to any client must be centered on science-based evidence or, in the event of a lack of data in that regard, on evidence stemming from a clinical reasoning coupled with a rich professional experience. It is important to understand that the new technologies proposed every year by companies have no scientific basis and are designed for a simple objective, that is, to sell specific products. Retailers/salespeople must critically analyze the information conveyed by companies so as to ensure that the latter do not compromise the former’s professional independence, namely with regard to advice provided to clients. Commercial influences and profits related to the sale of a specific type of shoe should never influence salespeople in the choices they submit to clients.

Rule 3

A choice primarily based on ergonomics


Comfort is the single most important factor when purchasing a pair of running shoes. Comfort should not be defined as a feeling of envelopment and softness but rather as the absence of pressure points that could cause deformation or irritation of the foot. The criteria that are deemed essential in this regard thus concern the size, width and shape of the foot, including the shape of the forefoot and the toes (both when static and dynamic).

Rule 4

A choice geared toward ultra-minimalism for children


The elements that are essential in selecting a pair of shoes for children are relatively straightforward and widely accepted by all experts in this field. First, the main role of shoes is to protect the foot from injuries and infection. Second, the selection of a pair of shoes for children should be based on the “barefoot” model so that the foot develops in an optimal way. Stiff and tight shoes are not recommended. Finally, this is pretty simple, the more often are children barefoot, the better it is. Any good shoe salesperson should communicate such information to parents.

The social environment or the type of terrain encountered will often requires the child to wear shoes that are ULTRA minimalist: no heel or arch support, and a sole that is flexible and ultra-thin. Furthermore, there is no age when the child/teenager should start wearing maximalist running shoes (cushioned, elevated heel, relatively rigid). However, if a teenager has already grown accustomed to maximalist running shoes, there should be a progressive transition to minimalist shoes spread over a few weeks in order to allow the foot to adapt.

Rule 5

A minimalist selection for beginner


Beginners with no running experience are “virgins” in terms of their own biomechanical learning curve. In turn, this would explain the importance to integrate as early as possible shoes that interfere as little as possible with natural biomechanics as well as with the development of the feet. Minimalist running shoes will help runners develop more efficient impact-moderating behaviors. In other words, they will learn to run light.

There is limited scientific evidence concerning which of minimalism or maximalism is better. However, a retrospective study has found that the number of injuries for minimalist shoe wearers was considerably lower than for runners who use more modern “traditional” shoes. Moreover, no claimed benefit should justify the promotion of maximalist running shoes for runners who are not so adapted, regardless of an individual’s weight.

Rule 6

A choice not based on the arch of the foot


It is a well-known fact that recommending running shoes on the basis of the type of foot (flat, highor universal) constitutes an unjustified practice. In addition, the efficiency of pronation control systems in governing the movements of the feet and legs has been challenged. Nevertheless, it is important to guide runners to shoes that do not interfere with natural running movements. A shoe that increases the degree of pronation or supination observed in a natural barefoot setting is believed not to be ideal as it will alter the biomechanics to which the body has managed to adapt over time.

Rule 7

A choice not based on an individual’s weight


There is no scientific basis for justifying that relatively heavy people should wear thicker, more cushioned and more rigid shoes or shoes elevated at the heel. Durability is an additional criterion to consider when looking to select the right type of running shoes.