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Do men and women run differently?

Do men and women run differently? NURVV (the smart insole people) took a look at their data to see if there was anything to indicate a different running style. As more people have taken up running during lockdown, the importance of wearing the right running shoes to match your running gait has never been more important. 

What NURVV found in terms of statistics from their user database around pronation and footstrike makes interesting reading.

What did the data show?

The data collected from their active user base suggested women are more likely to overpronate and have a rearfoot footstrike pattern than men. 

Pronation

The study showed that of NURVV’s male userbase 61% had neutral pronation when running versus 55% of women.

In terms of overpronating, 30% of men did so and 9% were under pronators. In comparison 36% of the females were over-pronators and 9% fell in the under-pronation category. 

Footstrike 

In terms of footstrike, for the males 12% were forefoot foot strikers, 39% had a midfoot footstrike and 49% were rearfoot footstrikers.

Data showed that of the female userbase 13% were forefoot foot strikers, 31% had a midfoot footstrike and 56% were rearfoot footstrikers.

pronation and foot strike

What are pronation and footstrike?

What is pronation?

Pronation is the inward rolling of the foot when it makes contact with the ground helping you push off with even distribution from the front of the foot at the end of the gait cycle. 

There are three main types of pronation:

  • Neutral pronation is where the foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls a little inward to absorb the shock and makes you less prone to injuries
  • Under pronation is when you land on the outside of the heel and your foot doesn’t roll inwards enough
  • Over pronation is when your foot rolls excessively inwards as you land on, transferring weight to the inner edge instead of the ball of the foot, and you are more likely prone to more injuries 

What is footstrike?

Footstrike describes which part of a runner’s foot – rearfoot, midfoot or forefoot – makes initial contact with the ground as they run. Everyone has a natural footstrike pattern. Factors such as technique, gradient, surface, running speed, and footwear can all change footstrike pattern.

So do men and women run differently?

So there you have it. In the sample of data in the case study men and women do seem to run differently. If you’re new to running Anna Kosciuk from NURVV looks at the basics of getting the right shoe here.

Find out more at their website here.