So You Were Told To Get Dad Shoes?!?

Funny, as a doctor biomechanically treating adolescent patients suffering with so called “overuse injuries” or “growing pains,” I am keenly educated on the most current lingo.

So, what is the newest lingo I learned?  “Dad shoes!”  What??  The mother quickly interjected…those are the shoes that have those “big clunky soles.”   Oh, like the clunky soled running shoes and platforms?  “Yes,” she said.  They do not want to wear that type of shoe.  Oh, so rock n roll, tie dye shirts and bellbottoms are coming back in fashion but if I match it with a “dad shoe” then I’m like the anti-fashion dad!  Yip!!

These shoes are not only considered anti-fashion by todays youth but biomechanically, I would agree not to look like “Dad” with your shoes if you are doing a lot of heavy activity.

Cushioned Shoes May Not Be Best For Runners

Why? Researchers have found that shoes with those thick soles (actually it is the midsole- as there is an outsole, midsole and insole) actually increase the ground reactive forces!  This means that when you land on the ground with your foot in that type of shoe; you will hit the ground harder than with a “regular” shoe.

This is because there are nerve receptors in your feet monitoring your walk and run.  If your brain is sensing that you are about to land on an unstable surface (due to the softness of dad shoes) your body may respond by recruiting more muscles (tightening up) to stabilize your foot as it hits the ground.  Henceforth, you are landing on the ground harder in those Dad shoes.

This is further evidence that softer does not always equate to improved comfort and function.

So do not fall for those shoes!  It’s marketing.  What helps one runner, may not be best for you.

Till the next lingo lesson, have a fashionable comfortable day.

David J. Sables, D.P.M., C.Ped.