Pronation and running shoes: Time to conclude neither is important?

I wrote this a little while ago in relation to a blog post entitled "what causes running injuries?"

I think it's time for an update.

Very recently Physio Tom Goom posted on this topic on his excellent website, and he said a couple of things that made me sit up and pay attention.

Tom is a very balanced and educated blogger on all issues sports medicine, so I will not go too hard here. In particular, he points out that no-one knows for sure what causes overuse injury in runners, but that it seems sensible that training error, previous injury and high BMI are all very likely culprits.

I concur.

However, running injury is FAR more complex than this and Tom went on to say a couple of things that need a little more investigation.. if not challenge.

In particular, he made the following comments that raised the eyebrows somewhat:

"Recent research (Nielsen et al. 2014) found foot pronation was not associated with injury risk"


"It seems likely that marketing from shoe companies labeling pronation as harmful and providing a solution (in the shape of an expensive shoe) is to blame for this widely held belief. Shoe companies may claim their products reduce injury risk but there is no evidence to date that supports this."

So taking the latter statement first, I am going to disagree with Tom on this point. Having spent many years at the pointy end of running shoe design and research, I strongly disagree with this statement.

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical