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For the past 40 years, running shoes have been prescribed on the basis of matching shoe features to foot morphology to prevent running-related injuries (RRI). Yet, traditional shoe prescription has not prevented RRIs—consider five quality randomised controlled trials (RCT) and observational cohort studies.1–5 In contrast, a recent investigation6 found that motion control shoes protected against injury in experienced runners who had pronated feet. There are likely important methodological reasons for the discrepancies between these studies, such as differing definitions of RRI and various experience levels among runners. Nonetheless, there remains a lack of conclusive evidence to support traditional shoe prescription to prevent RRIs.7
Alternative shoe prescription paradigms have emerged. While minimalist shoes have historically received the most attention from researchers, clinicians and runners, the more recent paradigms of maximalism, zero-drop shoes and choosing a shoe based on comfort appear to be gaining in popularity (see figure 1 for examples).
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