Big toe, foot, and ankle mechanics are mega important in runners. Your shoe should allow your foot and ankle to function normally and naturally like they do when barefoot. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to footwear:
A wide toe box is essential to allow your foot to splay. The foot naturally widens towards the toes, so a shoe that crams the toes together is working against you. The foot should be able to become mobile and buffer impact as it hits the ground, and the toes (big toe especially) must be free to move and push off each stride
Transitioning to a smaller heel is something to aim for as a runner. Most running shoes have heels in them, and many can have significant heels (as seen in the bottom picture). A heel like this will throw off our running mechanics and promote more of a heel strike. It will also modify how we use the calf/Achilles complex to spring us forward. A heel will play into ankle and calf stiffness by having the ankle work in a shortened ROM
Look for less of a drop in your shoe, and gradually reduce the heel height over time while working on ankle ROM and tissue health.
A shoe shouldn't modify how you run. Having a huge cushion in your heel is also a bad idea, as it will allow for a heel strike and ultimately send the impact forces elsewhere - upstream to the knee, hip and low back.
Choose your footwear wisely, and be smart about transitioning
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