06/21/2013 11:37 am ET Updated Aug 21, 2013

Ordinary Running Shoes Work Just Fine For New Runners, Study Finds


By Katherine Harmon
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Befuddled by buying running shoes for the first time? Zero-drop? Extra stability? Motion control? What shoes will ward off injuries? A new study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine says run-of-the-mill running shoes are probably just fine. [Rasmus Oestergaard Nielsen et al., Foot Pronation Is Not Associated With Increased Injury Risk In Novice Runners Wearing a Neutral Shoe: A 1-year prospective cohort study]

Researchers tracked 900 inactive but healthy adults who took up running. About a third had at least one foot that pronated--rolled inward when running--or supinated--rolled outward. These conditions are often cited as important factors in choosing shoes.

But for the study, all participants wore the same "neutral" running shoes, not meant to correct for any stride issues. And after these newbies hit the road regularly for a year, the results were, well, striking.

With more than 310 miles logged each, about three quarters of all runners remained injury free. There was no significant difference in injury rate for most of the foot-strike types. In fact, people whose feet pronated were actually less likely to have had an injury than those who had normal or supinated foot strikes. So, lace up some basic footwear. And save your sweat for the run.