The last 15 years have witnessed great changes in the design of the running shoe, which now comes in all styles and colors. Contemporary shoe designers focus on the anatomy and the movement of the foot. Using video cameras and computers, they analyze such factors as limb movement, the effect of different terrains on impact, and foot position on impact. Runners are labeled pronators if their feet roll inward or supinators if their feet roll to the outside. Along with pressure points, patterns, and force of impact, this information is fed into computers which calculate how best to accommodate these conditions. Designers next test and develop prototypes based on their studies of joggers and professional runners, readying a final design for mass production.
A running shoe may have as many as 20 parts to it, and the components listed below are the most basic. The shoe has two main parts: the upper, which covers the top and sides of the foot, and the bottom part, which makes contact with the surface.
As we work our way around the shoe clockwise, starting at the front on the upper part is the featherline, which forms the edge where the mudguard (or toeguard) tip meets the bottom of the shoe. Next is the vamp, usually a single piece of material that gives shape to the shoe and forms the toe box. The vamp also has attachments such as the throat, which contains the eyestay and lacing section. Beneath the lacing section is the tongue, protecting the foot from direct contact with the laces. Also attached to the vamp along the sides of the shoe are reinforcements. If sewn on the outside of the shoe these reinforcements are called a saddle; if sewn on the inside, they are called an arch bandage.
Shoemaking is a labor-intensive process, and the cost of producing the many components of the running shoe reflect the skilled labor necessary. Each phase of production requires precision and skills, and taking shortcuts to reduce costs can result in an inferior shoe. Some running shoes (known as sliplasted shoes) have no insole board. Instead, the single-layer upper is wrapped around both the top and the bottom portions of the foot. Most running shoes, however, consist of an insole board that is cemented to the upper with cement. This section will focus on cement-lasted shoes.