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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

Shoe rocker: what is it & who is it useful for?

Rockered soles are increasingly been used in shoes today, but what do they do, and who are they suited for?

What is it?

There are different types of rockered soles, but the most popular, & the one covered in this blog, are a forefoot rocker, also known as toe spring. This toe spring refers to the amount of upward curve of the sole underneath the toes or forefoot, and most shoes have on average 15 degrees toe spring angle. With the increasing thickness & stiffness of midsoles, shoe rockers are becoming more common.

How do they work?

  • Rockered soles assist the forefoot roll forward during the propulsive phase of running.

  • They work by mimicking & replacing the rockers of the foot & ankle with the curved midsole. (Sobani 2014)

Their use:

  • Decreases Achilles’ load in walking & running. (Siobhani 2015)

  • An increased toe spring angle decreased toe work & decreased range of movement of the toe joint (MTP) when walking. (Sichting 2020)

  • Decreases work required at the ankle & foot. (Ogsten 2019, Brown 2004)

Clinical uses:

Rockered soles can be useful in a number of circumstances including:

  • Plantar heel pain

  • Toe or forefoot pain

  • Loss of toe extension

  • Lack of ankle mobility

  • Achilles tendinopathy

  • Recurrent calf injuries

  • It feels good!

Potential risks?

  • With the rocker offloading the foot & toes, there could be a possibility of decreasing foot strength with prolonged use.

  • Shifting loads from the foot & ankle, could increase the load to the knee & hip & potentially lead to issues here.

If you are a runner needing help with your shoe selection, running injuries or performance, please don't hesitate to contact us!


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