Midsole cushioning, tread, toe box, heel counter, how do all these terms impact a women’s running shoe experience? If you’ve ever felt hip, knee, shin or a myriad of other types of pain in your body after running it could be from the shoes you’re wearing. Because each gait is unique and every woman interacts with her running shoe differently there is no systematic way to say that a specific type of women’s running shoe will affect your knees or hips in a certain way. Instead, it’s important to become familiar with the anatomy of a shoe to understand what features work well for you and which to avoid through your own trial and error.
The top part of the running shoe is called the upper which comes in a limitless variety of prints, patterns and colorways at adidas. Uppers are commonly constructed with a combination of synthetic leathers, mesh or knit fabric. The upper keeps the foot in place as you run, protecting it from flying gravel and dirt and is attached to the midsole.
This is where the action happens. The midsole is a lightweight supportive material that provides shock absorption with each foot strike. Common types of cushioning include:
-EVA—a foam based, lightweight material for soft support
-Polyurethane—heavier and more durable than EVA, it provides more stability
-adidas BOOST™ technology, which delivers maximum energy return and super lightweight cushioning support
Also known as the sock liner, the insole is usually removable. The contoured foam layer delivers additional arch support in the running shoe for women.
Typically a durable rubber material with tread is attached to the bottom of the women’s running shoe for traction and stability. Various types of outsoles are used for flexibility, speed, and light cushioning.
The rigid cup that holds your heel in place is the heel counter. It ensures your heel is stabilized and moves with your shoe, otherwise blisters could form.
This is that small bit that rises above the back of the heel of the women’s running shoe for stability; it sometimes has a cord loop to help you pull your shoe on or off.
Just as the name sounds, this is where the top of your foot and toes sit. A wider foot is more comfortable with a wider toe box.
Running injuries are common. Learn proper running techniques from Octavious Freeman in our latest How To Sprint Properly article.