Windsor: 01753 801000 | Chiswick: 0208 7478886 | Ealing: 0208 5791234

Gait Analysis Service

A specialised shoe fitting service to improve comfort and increase performance.

Everyone’s walking style, running style and feet are different. Whether you are just starting out or have an ultra-marathon under your belt, our in-store gait analysis service can help you find the perfect shoe.

Running, walking or an everyday gym trainer - we have got you covered.

How is the analysis done?

1.    Answer a few simple questions.
2.    Walk over our pressure pad sensor a few times, in socks or barefoot.
3.    And you are done!

No need to run in-store and the process takes under 10 minutes.

What will I get?

Our staff will give you a report detailing your feet force scan, cushioning needs, stability needs and more. We then cross reference requirements with our shoe inventory to help you find the perfect shoes.

The results are more detailed than a video replay ‘gait analysis’ service and more reliable.

Until the end of May our running gait analysis service is free of charge and available to all Daniel customers. No appointment is necessary.

FAQs

Why don't I have to run in-store?

Some gait analysis services - like at Runners Need - ask you to run on a treadmill and a member of staff will watch a slow motion replay of your feet. There are several problems with this method. Firstly, it is very subjective and requires a keen eye and good training to properly diagnose. A light pronation is natural and nothing to be concerned about. Some physiologists even argue that a light pronation is beneficial. However, if you pronate or supinate too much this can lead to injuries or niggles. Diagnosing a healthy pronation vs over-pronation by sight is unreliable and requires training that many staff members in other running stores do not have.

Secondly, this method is only looking at one variable: do you pronate/supinate or not. Our method considers all variables proven to be important when selecting a shoe. We put our confidence in science and technology based on a wealth of academic research. Our gait analysis service evaluates age, weight, running habits, knee and hip alignment, posture, natural stance, arch height, pronation/supination and comfort. We use this information to pick the correct shoe for you in terms of stability, cushioning, weight and running goals.

4,000 sensors measure the rolling of the foot on a platform at a rate 100 times per second. Walking at a normal pace gives the system the information it needs to select the appropriate shoe. It takes just three steps to reach your usual walking pace and the corresponding muscle stiffness of the lower extremities. Walking also allows the user to hit the pressure plate more accurately giving us a more accurate reading.

Conversely, running on the pad actually gives the machine less time to evaluate your normal walking stride and determine your centre of force, foot size and arch height etc. resulting in a less accurate gait reading.

 

Why do I need gait analysis when buying a running shoe?

The feet make up almost half of all the body’s bones, those little things work all day keeping us upright, allowing us to walk, run and jump! Our feet are highly complex and form the primary support structure of our bodies. They send signals from 70,000 nerve endings all day. Given their complexity, everyone’s feet are different and everyone’s walking style is different.

At Daniel Sports we understand this and have gone to great lengths to help customers find the perfect shoe for them. If you need extra stability, cushioning, support, responsiveness or go faster colours we have a shoe for you.

We perform a comprehensive biomechanical assessment. We start by assessing your foot shape, type and function before using state-of-the-art foot pressure pad technology to better understand your running movements and foot function and build a picture of your footwear and insole needs.

Can you fit insoles?

Yes! Our gait analysis service at Daniel Sports Department (@FitForWindsor) was designed by Currex a world leader in insole design. We can select the right insole for you based on your foot size and arch height.

All of our insoles:

1. Have extra shock absorption in the heals;
2. Provide anatomic support and dynamic stability in the foot arches;
3. Increase rebound push off with forefoot;
4. Have an anti-odour charcoal inner layer.

If you are flat footed the Currex insoles will support your arches giving you some extra spring in your step. If your arches are high the custom insole provides more surface area to your footprint, decreasing impact forces and foot rigidity.

Why do I need an insole?

Standard insoles are very thin and make of cheap foam, they do nothing good for your feet and are one-size-fits-all. 70% of adults have a foot malposition that can lead to pain in the feet, knees, hips, back and even the head. The most effective aid against this is insoles but only about 20% of adults use them.

Here are the ways in-soles help for running, walking and day to day life:
1.    With an insole, the gap between the foot and shoe is optimally reduced and the pressure on the foot due to body weight and movement is better distributed.
2.    They promote your foot muscles instead of weakening them.
3.    Prevent injuries with increased comfort and optimal fit.
4.    Insoles bolster the natural springiness of the foot arch, acting as a shock absorber when the foot hits the ground and a spring upon lift-off. 
5.    Fitted insoles support the natural movement of your foot instead of working against it.

At Daniel Sports Department (@FitForWindsor) we dynamically analyse your feet to find the correct in-sole for your foot type. We stock Currex insoles that have blind tested with 31 experienced runners to be the most comfortable over the counter insoles available on the market. The newest paradigm in running research suggests that comfort is the most important factor in avoiding injury.

Will the right shoe stop me from getting injured?

In short, no. There are many factors that can contribute towards injury including the amount you train, previous injury history, your weight, length of runs, how quickly you up the distances and intensity of your runs, genetics… the list goes on. That isn’t to say that shoe selection is not important.

If you have ever run a distance in a shoe that isn’t right for you will know about it. The right shoe will allow your body to run and move in the way it naturally wants to.

All professional runners care a great deal about their footwear, for good reason. Equally people that are new to running need to consider their footwear because their bodies have yet to adapt to running. More cushioning or extra stability could be the key to avoiding unwanted obstacles along the way. Especially if you are running on roads or hard surfaces that our bodies aren’t adapted to run on.

Either way the impact a good (or bad) shoe can have is unquestionable.

What is the most important factor when choosing a shoe?

Comfort. Comfort. Comfort. In a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine researchers concluded that the most important factor in running shoe selection is not corrective alignment based on your pronation or supernation, but, rather, which shoe is most comfortable. That is why in Windsor, our Gait Analysis service only looks at pronation and supination as a single factor out of many considered. Unlike the slow motion replay running analysis, which is done in many other running stores including chains such as Runners Need. Video replay assessments are based on an old theory of alignment that is too one-size-fits all.

Researchers led by Dr. Benno Nigg, professor of kinesiology at the University of Calgary in Canada concluded “It seems that shoe comfort is important for running injuries as well as running performance.” Researchers studied 1,000 runners with different levels of pronation, gave them all the same running shoes, and followed them for a year. Those with no or minimal pronation were injured at a higher rate than the runners with moderate to severe overpronation. Researchers determined there was no association between pronation and injury. In fact, according to the authors, “a pronated foot position is, if anything, an advantage with respect to running injuries.”

The more important factor is comfort. According to Dr. Nigg, our bodies are “very good judges” of what is best us and how we should move and run. “When we ignore or fight our bodies’ natural movement pattern.” By trying to control pronation too much the risk of injury rises.

After all, pain or discomfort is a signal coming from your nervous system to say that something is wrong. If the shoe hurts, don’t run in it! Just like if your knees are in pain from a 10-mile run, you need to rest! Listen to your body, listen to your nervous system. It is there to guide you.

At Daniel Sports Department (@FitForWindsor) we encourage you to take your time and try on multiple pairs of shoes for comfort comparison. Run around in-store in the shoes you’re trying and really get a feel for which shoe is right for you.

Is the gait analysis at Daniel Sports Department (@FitForWindsor) better or worse than having a running machine video replay Gait Analysis?

The old school slow motion replay running analysis, done in many other running stores is based on an old theory of alignment that we believe is too one-size-fits all. If you pronate you need a support shoe, if you don’t you need a neutral shoe. Our running analysis service includes many additional factors not just pronation.

Gone are the old theories of alignment: making your knees, ankles and legs follow a perfect straight line. We are all animals with unique biomechanical movements. If you have been running one way injury free for 40 years, we are not about to give you a shoe that changes any of that. We want to find the shoe that works with your natural running or walking movement.

The most important elements to consider when buying shoes are the three F’s: fit, feel, and function. All of these are taken into account during our gait analysis assessment to find the right shoe for you.

Plus when you are trying out shoes in our store, walking and running around in them is not only allowed but encouraged! Take your time, we know it is an important choice.

In addition, with the help of a professional our custom gait report can help identify feet abnormalities including leg length discrepancies, splayfoot, plantar fasciitis, diabetic foot, hallux valgus, joint instability and reliving movements

Do I need different shoes depending on the terrain?

Yes. A trail runner needs shoes that grip into the surface, have a larger surface area and keep your ankles more secure given the unpredictability and unevenness of the terrain. After all we do not want any twisted ankles.

Road running is the most common type of running. Most runners run on man-made paths and roads. The world’s biggest marathons are road running events and triathlons often feature a road running route. Even though road running is common, it’s a hard activity for the human body to handle naturally. The impact of running on hard artificial terrain can cause road runners more injuries than those that run on grass, trails and hills.

The shoes you choose for road running play a big role in keeping you injury free. That is why road running shoes tend to have larger heels and more cushioning that give road runners the protection they need.

Of course, injury prevention is just one, albeit important, aspect of choosing pair of road running shoes. It also has to deliver the performance to meet your goals too. It all comes down to finding the shoe that matches your needs. These questions and conversations are all part of our gait analysis service at Daniel Department Store in Windsor, Berkshire.

What are some common mistakes with running shoe buying?

Here are some answers we have learnt to be true from some big names in the running shoe industry.

Mistake #1: Buying for looks. “Some runners are too concerned with fashion, and we try and steer people away from that. Often, when they get a shoe that looks cool, they end up coming back in a few months and saying, ‘This shoe hurts me. I had a problem with it.’ When you buy, think feel and fit, not fashion.”—Bryan Mahon, Philadelphia Runner

Mistake #2: Buying shoes that are too small. “Tight-fitting shoes lead to blisters and black toenails and that kind of thing. Women in particular are used to wearing their shoes close-fitting. We like to say, ‘Play the piano with your toes,’ meaning the fit should be roomy enough in the forefoot—about half an inch—but not sloppy.”—Mike Johnson, Road Runner Sports

Mistake #3: Shopping at the wrong time of day. “A lot of times people come in the morning and say, ‘This is the shoe I need.’ Then they’ll come back the next day and say, ‘I wore them at 5 p.m. and they were too small.’ Your feet start swelling in the morning and they don’t stop until about 4 p.m. That’s as big as they’re going to get, so always buy your shoes in the evening.”—Tish Borgen, Running Room

Mistake #4: Assuming your size. “People assume that a size is a size—that an 8 in a Nike will be the same as an 8 in a New Balance. But sizes differ because of different foot shapes, the different shape of the upper, and the way the shoe is stitched together. Have your feet measured every time you buy, and always try the shoes on for fit.”—Johnny Halberstadt, cofounder of the Boulder Running Company

Mistake #5: Not buying new running shoes! Historically, running shoes have a lifespan of between 300 and 500 miles, but many runners either don’t keep track of mileage or they throw caution to the wind and wear out their pair. Some newer shoes with lighter foams my even break down sooner than 300 miles. You might notice the spring in your step decrease, this is the once soft and springy sole of your shoe being compressed over time. Or that your foot has more space inside the shoe than before, a sign that the top of the shoe has stretched over time.

Wearing our shoes can lead to injury for these two reasons. Your joints are taking more of the impact than previously and your feet are unstable within the shoe. A clear signal that your shoe needs replacing is when you get odd pains or aches in places you haven’t had them before. Some people don’t even think to question the age of a shoe, particularly if it has been their trusted pair for quite some time.

Are socks important when running?

Yes, yes, yes. Running shoes are only as good as the sock used! Well maybe that is a slight exaggeration but there is some truth to it. Blisters are caused by friction. Moisture and heat increase friction on the foot. Regular socks don’t regulate heat or remove moisture from the foot as much as running socks.

So although comfortable, we wouldn’t recommend wearing your usual cotton socks when running. Cotton in particular retains moisture and heat so you are likely to end up with blisters, calluses or hot spots on your feet. Plus regular socks do not grip tightly enough to your foot to prevent rubbing.

All of our instore running socks are anti-blister and anti-odour. They also have accented heels and ribbed elastic that hugs the midfoot. The only question you have to ask yourself is what length and thickness do I like for my running socks.

Pro tip: always ensure your socks are higher than the back of your running shoes otherwise they will slip down during your run causing friction hot spots on the back of your heel.

Lesson: Don’t spend £200 on a fresh new pair of running shoes just to ruin it with a bad pair of socks.

Why can’t I just run in my old comfy trainers?

Sure they might be comfy to walk around in but that is only because they have gradually moulded to your foot over time. Wearing old shoes can lead to injury for these two reasons:

1.    The heel has compressed and hardened so your joints are taking more of the impact than before.

2.    The top of the shoe has stretched so your feet are unstable within it.

A clear signal that your shoe needs replacing is when you get odd pains or aches in places you haven’t had them before. Some people don’t even think to question the age of a shoe particularly if it has been their trusted pair for quite some time.  But you should and you might be surprised at the extra bounce a new pair will give you. Especially as running shoe technology improves year on year.

Daniel Sports Department (@FitForWindsor) as part of our commitment to sustainable practices we will recycle your old running shoes for you. Also for each pair of shoes we sell our shop funds the planting of a tree the Albertine Rift forests of Uganda.

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