Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.046680

Is your prescription of distance running shoes evidence based?

  1. Craig E Richards (craig.richards{at}
  1. University of Newcastle, Australia
    1. Parker J Magin (parker.magin{at}
    1. University of Newcastle, Australia
      1. Robin Callister (robin.callister{at}
      1. University of Newcastle, Australia
        • Published Online First 18 April 2008


        Objectives: To determine whether the current practice of prescribing distance running shoes featuring elevated cushioned heels and pronation control systems tailored to the individual’s foot type is evidence based.

        Data sources: Medline (1950-May 2007), CINAHL (1982-May 2007), EMBASE (1980-May 2007), PsychInfo (1806-May 2007), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2nd Quarter 2007), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled trials (2nd Quarter 2007), SPORTSDiscus (1985-May 2007) and AMED (1985-May 2007)

        Review methods: English language articles were identified via keyword and MeSH searches of the above electronic databases. Via these searches and the subsequent review process, controlled trials or systematic reviews were sought where the study population included adult recreational or competitive distance runners, the exposure was distance running, the intervention evaluated was a running shoe with an elevated cushioned heel and pronation control systems individualised to the wearers foot type and the outcomes measured included either running injury rates, distance running performance, osteoarthritis risk, physical activity levels or overall health and wellbeing. The quality of these studies and their findings were then evaluated

        Results: No original research was identified either directly or via the findings of the six systematic reviews identified which met the study criteria.

        Conclusion: The prescription of this shoe type to distance runners is not evidence based.

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