Rocker Bottom Shoes – The New Standard in Running Shoes

Rocker bottom shoes have become more and more commonplace. What started off as what we would call clunky clown shoes, now look relatively normal. With the amount and popularity of rocker bottom shoes on the increase in the last 1-2 years most running brands now have a shoe in their range that is designed to mimic a rocker bottom shoe.

What is a rocker bottom shoe?

A rocker bottom shoe is a type of shoe that usually has a thicker than a normal sole. The sole of the shoe is also usually curved in the heel and forefoot, this is designed to aid in a smooth transition from heel-strike to toe-off. Rocker bottom shoes have been around for decades, where they were originally used in the diabetic population to redistribute plantar pressures and prevent diabetic foot problems.

Why rocker bottom shoes?

Rocker bottom shoes have gained hype from a few recently successful shoes which have been used to try to decrease running-related injuries and increase running performance. A few stand out shoes that have sparked a lot of interest in this space include the Hoka One One range and the new Nike Vaporfly/ Alphafly range. As these shoes are relatively new in the running world, there is still some confusion on the benefit of rocker bottom shoes.

When to use rocker bottom shoes?

Rocker bottom shoes have been advised by some Podiatrists for years to alleviate certain foot conditions. By reducing the upwards bending movement at the toes, some joints can settle down nicely. Injury management is an important part of athletic performance. In the context of foot and ankle injury management, rocker bottom shoes can be a useful training tool to decrease injuries through problematic tissues. At TFC Podiatry we advise all patients with a foot or ankle injury to seek Podiatric advice on footwear and treatment. We tend to find runners with big toe arthritis or painful bunions can be good candidates for rocker bottom shoes to help with pain and big toe symptoms.

When not to use rocker bottom shoes?

The rocker bottom shoe is designed to help forwards movement, this can be great for forward-moving sports such as running and walking. Rocker bottom shoes should be used with some level of caution in regards to sports that involve side to side movement. The rocker bottom combined with a higher amount of foam under the forefoot and midfoot can amount to more instability in side to side or cutting movements. This can often lead to a higher chance of injury.