Step Length vs Stride Length – What Should You Know?
Often runners and walkers get confused between the meaning of step length and stride length. While they are somewhat similar, they are two different measurements.
So, for a runner or walker, which one is more important? Stride length or step length?
Both stride length and step length are important when it comes to gait analysis. For those that don’t know, gait analysis is the study of someone’s walking and running motion (how they walk and run).
Generally, gait analysis is used for diagnosing injuries or preventing them from happening. Many coaches also use analysis of someone’s stride and step length to gather information about their technique, which helps improve performance and choose the correct shoes.
In this article, we compare step length vs stride length together. We also explain why both measurements are vital and whether there are any accurate calculators available online. So, if you want to learn more about your step and stride, keep reading.
What is Stride Length?
Many people think that stride length is only one step. However, that is wrong. Stride length is actually the distance covered during two steps. Although it’s not uncommon for runners and walkers to think that it is only one stride.
That means the distance travel travelled during both the left and right step is called stride length. It is measured by measuring from the toe of your left foot (starting position) to the point where it passes the right foot again (ending position). However, to make things less complicated, it is the distance travelled from the starting point to the endpoint after taking two steps.
What is Step Length?
So, no you are probably wondering the difference between step length v stride length measurement. Step length is the measurement of the distance covered in one step.
The measurement is taken by measuring from the right toe to the left toe when both feet are on the ground. It can also be measured by measuring the left toe to the right toe if you are interested in looking at the difference in step length.
What is the Difference between Step Length vs Stride Length
As we have just explained the difference between step length vs stride length measurements you should have an understanding of what the difference is.
However, if you are still confused step length is a single step, while stride length is two steps.
So why does this matter?
For a runner one of the largest gains can be made by adjusting their technique. That means by increasing your stride rate and stride length your running performance can increase.
How to Measure Stride Length
There are many ways of how to measure stride length. One of the easiest ways is using a too like Runscribe. Subscribe can measure your stride length by using a small pod that connects to each shoe. Then each pod sends data back to its app. Showing your stride frequency, stride length, and numerous other important measurements.
If you don’t have access to a tool like Runscribe, you can also measure it by hand below. However, this is relatively inaccurate when it comes to running
1. Start with both feet together.
2. Move the left foot ahead of the right foot.
3. Place a mark on the floor in front of the toe of the left foot.
4. Then lift the right foot up and take a step past your left foot.
5. This then means your right foot is on the ground leading the left foot.
6. Make a mark in front of the right foot’s toe, and measure the two marks.
Another way to measure stride length is to get your gait analyzed on the treadmill. By doing so, the software used can help measure the stride length via video. This will also help analyze whether your stride length is too long.
It is important to realize your stride length will generally never be the same. Terrain, speed, and intensity can all play a part in how long your stride length is. However, taking an average of your stride length can help you make informed decisions about your technique or form.
How to Measure Step Length
Step length is much easier to measure. Since it is only a single step, you can measure it by doing the following:
1. Stand with two feet together
2. Make a mark in front of the left toe.
3. Take your left foot and step forward.
4. Make another mark in front of the left toe and measure the distance between both marks.
5. Just like we have discussed, this measurement can change often. Walking downhill, uphill, or offroad can all affect the length of your step.
Other tools like pedometers can help you calculate how many steps you have taken. You can then use that data to work out how far each step was. However, if you are calculating this way you are better using a step length calculator to work out your step length.
Stride Length Calculator
Luckily for people that can afford a gait analysis or a too like Runscribe, there is a stride length calculator available. While it may not give you real-world data like Runscribe, it can help you calculate your stride length by inputting your distance and how many steps you took.
One of the most popular stride length calculators is the Omni calculator. It provides an easy-to-use interface and plenty of instructions on how to measure your stride.
Step Length Calculator
If you don’t want to use a pedometer or a smartwatch to measure the length of your step, there are numerous step length calculators online.
However, if you want to calculate your length yourself, you can use the equation below:
Women = height x .413 equals the length of your step.
Men = height x .415 equals the length of your step.
However, this is just an estimate as the calculation is based on an average of 2.2 feet for females and 2.5 feet for males.
Alternatively, you can measure the length of your step by dividing the distance in feet by the number of steps you took. for example, if you took 15 steps to cover 20 feet, the step length would be 1.33 feet or 15.9 inches (40 cm).