Anatomy of a Running Shoe: The 7 Main Components — (2023)

The midsole? The tongue? Eve? What does all this mean? If you want to learn all about the anatomy of a running shoe, then you've come to the right place.

But why should you care?

Here's the basic premise: understanding basic shoe anatomy increases your chances of purchasing the right pair that meets your physiological needs and personal preferences.

Do you have Habla Runnerlese?

Hallways have their own language.

You can call it Runnerlese, Runnerlish or Runnerilian, whatever... And unlike, say, German or Japanese, the language of running isn't difficult to understand.

on aprevious post, I shared with my dear readers an exhaustive list of the most common terms that runners - of all levels and with different backgrounds - use to talk about and refer to their running experience.

You can check this postHere.

But today, dear reader, I decided to narrow my focus and talk about your footwear and its various components and parts.

Consider this post a helpful continuation of my previous The complete running encyclopedia.

Go through these two posts and never be left in the dark when it comes to running again.

These shoes are made for walking.

running shoesare designed to optimize training performance and make training as safe and comfortable as possible.

There are a variety of technical features for a pairrunning shoes- and the terminology can put off even the most well-meaning, serious and experienced novice.

But worry no more.

I've got you covered buddy.

Today I'm going to talk about the anatomy of running shoes.

I'll break down some of the key terms you should understand to further clarify the characteristics and construction of a specific running shoe.

essentially i willandYou walk through each part - what it is and why you should care - layer by layer, starting with the top part.

(Video) basic parts of a running shoe

Are you excited?

So let's go here.

Anatomy of a running shoe - The 7 main parts

In general, the anatomy of a running shoe consists of seven main parts: upper, midsole, outsole, tongue, heel counter, toe box, and shape.

Each part of the shoe performs a specific function and has different features and characteristics that you need to know about in order to make the right decision when buying running shoes.

Just don't feel overwhelmed by it all.

In this post, I'll go over each component and give you practical advice on what to look for when buying your next pair of running shoes.

1. The top

Let's start at the top.

Attached by the laces is the upper, the part of the shoe above the midsole that wraps around the foot, holds the shoe in place, and protects it from dirt, rocks, and the elements.

The upper is typically made from a variety of materials, including mesh for breathability, synthetic leather for durability, or mesh for a soft, smooth scrub- feeling free.

When choosing shoes, make sure that the material of the upper adapts well to the shape and size of your feet.

This can give your feet more stability.long term.

2. Tongue of the shoe

Under the laces is the tongue of the shoe.

This is the part of the shoe that sticks out of the shoe opening like a human tongue, hence the name.

The tongue is the separate strap on the upper that protects the top of the foot from the pressure of the laces and prevents them from rubbing against the instep. That's why it's an important part of a running shoe's anatomy.

The tongue also makes it easy to get the shoes on and off.

A proper tongue should be sized properly so as not to rub the foot just above the ankles and thick enough (or well padded) to protect the tops of the feet from the pressure of the laces.

Shoe manufacturers also use the tongue for various needs.

(Video) Anatomy of Running Shoe

For example,trail shoeTongues are sewn-in to protect against the elements.

So always keep this in mind when assessing the suitability of a particular pair of shoes.

3. The heel counter

On the back of the shoe, you'll find the heel, the exoskeleton made of inflexible materials that surrounds and surrounds the heel.

This rigid structure around the heel reduces Achilles tendon irritation, provides a more secure heel fit, excellent cushioning and rotational control.

The heel counter is made of rigid materials that protect against the impact forces your feet are subjected to while running.

4. The last

The latter refers to the three-dimensional shape, in the shape of a foot, which determines the contour of the shoe.

Think of it as the model of the foot on which a shoe is fitted.

Bars can be straight, curved or semi-curved.

The theory is that some shapes are better suited to a specific anatomical structure of the foot.

A straight shape tends to be heavier and provide more support under the arch of the foot, which can help control excessive inward movement after a foot strike.

That's why they are often recommended as overpronators - particularly runners with flat feet.

A curved shape is lighter and less supportive.

As such, they are typically recommended for supinators - typically runners with very high arches.

The semi-curved shape is a mixture of the two - not as thick as the straight, but still provides ample support under the arch of the foot.

Most running shoes on the market are made with a semi-curved shape, but as a general rule, the shape should suit the shape of your foot.

This provides better pronation control and comfort.

5. The toe box

The toe cap is the front platform of the shoes that houses the toes - the space that fits the widest part of the toes and toes.

(Video) The Anatomy of a Running Shoe

And by far the most important ingredient when looking for one is the toe cap.fits well.

A pair of legs should fit like a glove without feeling stuffy or constricted in the toe box.

The toes shouldn't touch the inside of the shoes and the feet shouldn't feel pinched.

If the toe cap is too tight or there is not enough space between the longer toe and the front of the toe cap, this can affect your movement mechanics as well asblack nails, discomfort and impaired performance.

When putting on a shoe, make sure you have enough space to accommodate your toes comfortably.

The toe box should have enough space to allow your toes to move freely and your feet to swell as you run.

Essentially, you should be able to play the piano with your toes.

Ideally, you should aim for a distance equal to the width of your thumb between your longest finger and the top of your finger box.

Also, make sure the height of the shoebox fits your toes comfortably.

6. The midsole

Moving down, you'll find the midsole, a thick layer of foam or rubber engineered between the upper and the sole.

More specifically, the midsole is the materials that sit over the sole and under the upper.

The midsoles are another important part of a running shoe's anatomy.

They provide cushioning while controlling excessive foot movement (pronation or supination).

Most of the shock absorption and cushioning is provided by the midsole.

Cushioning properties are usually attached or built into the midsole.

Most midsoles are typically constructed from a foam-like compound commonly known as EVA or polyurethane. EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate and is the most common mass-produced midsole foam used in running shoes.

In general, EVA is a softer material due to its light weight and softer feel. But it compresses and collapses quickly, losing rebound after constant impact.

On the other hand, polyurethane is heavier and more durable than Eva.

(Video) Anatomy of a Running Shoe: Beginner to Advance Things to Know

But some shoes have polyurethane as a midsole.

Additionally, some high-tech midsoles are made with foam-free technologies like airbags or GEL to increase protection and durability.

7. Alone

The sole is the layer of rubber threaded into the sole of the shoe - the part of the shoe that makes contact with the ground and provides traction and durability.

Therefore, this is the part of the shoe that wears out the most.

Most soles have treads for traction, multi-directional flex grooves for flexibility and offer protection from rocks, dirt, etc.

Fortrail runner, the sole is the most important layer to consider.

There is a wide variety of sole types to choose from.

Soles are typically made from carbon rubber, blown rubber or a combination of both, all offering varying degrees of durability and traction.

Runners looking for a durable pair should opt for carbon rubber soles (same material as the tires).

Carbon is more durable, but also stiffer and heavier than blown rubber.

However, if your priority is flexibility and a "softer" shoe, cellular rubber soles are what you need.

These are more padded, flexible but not as durable as carbon rubber.

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Anatomy of a running shoe - the conclusion

Here it is! If you're curious about the many parts that make up a running shoe, today's post has you covered. The rest are just details.

Feel free to leave your questions and comments in the section below.

(Video) The Ultimate Shoe Anatomy Guide

Have a great day


1. Basic Anatomy and Function of the Modern Running Shoe
(Kevin Kirby)
2. Anatomy of a Shoe (basic parts of shoe)
(Sukumar Mahata)
3. Running - 5 Key Elements of Selecting Running Shoes
(Practical Health)
4. Expanding Your Shoe Vocabulary: The Parts of Shoes
(Stephanie Hensley)
5. Anatomy of Running Shoes
(Be Jentel)
6. Bones: Structure and Types
(Professor Dave Explains)
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