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Become A Runner, Part 3: Get The Right Shoes

15 Aug, 2019 • by Admin

Don’t just go into the store and buy the fanciest kicks that catch your eye; opt for footwear that will enhance your running experience.

It’s important to select shoes that are comfortable. My rule of thumb is to make sure your sneakers fit correctly and that you can dart around in them without any uncomfortable friction. You are going to spend hundreds of miles in those shoes with sweaty feet, If they are not comfortable when you try them on, don’t start running in them.

Looking for a running shoe can be very overwhelming if you don't know what you are looking for. There are so many different running shoes with so many different types of technology. Each of these shoes are built for different foot types.

Most running shoes feel comfortable when you're standing in a shoe store, but the true test comes several miles into your run. You'll soon realize that the ideal shoe has more to do with your running style and the shape of your foot than it does with the logo stitched on the side.

1. Knowing Your Running Types

Whether you’re hammering miles on the sidewalks or dodging roots on the trail, knowing the surface you're running on is important, these are common running types:

  • Road running is a much more common occurrence for most runners, getting up in the morning and heading out the door for a run around your block. It makes for a much more consistent forward movement with little or no obstacles.
  • Trail running has more obstacles and will allow for a slower more concentrated run, you’re constantly faced with either a root or a rock that is in the way, or even a branch up ahead that you have to look out for.
  • Cross training cycling, swimming, or pool running can boost your aerobic fitness while promoting blood flow to your legs, you may need a day of cross-training after the long run if you need extra recovery.

In order to determine your foot type, the easiest way is to check your arch height by taking the "wet test". To do this, wet both feet and stand on a paper bag for about 10 seconds. Then step off of the bag and observe the imprint your foot made on the bag.

  • Flat Arch Type: these have very low or non-visible arches. In fact, flat feet imprints appear much like the entire sole of the foot. Having flat feet might present some serious trouble for us runners, increasing the risks of foot problems, such as heel pain, arch pain, and plantar fasciitis.
  • Medium Arch Type: ideal type as it is flexible and can help you absorb a lot of impacts while running or when doing any other high-impact exercise.
  • High Arch Type: your heel and forefooted connect in a very narrow band, your feet will tend to be more rigid and do not usually pronate enough to absorb the maximum amount of shock.

Pronation is the rolling of the foot from heel to toe through the foot strike. A proper or neutral foot strike pattern is initially striking with the outside of the heel and moving up to the ball of your foot evenly. This is how your foot reduces the stress of impact.

  • Severe overpronation: when your heel strikes the ground first and then rolls inward excessively, typically someone with a flat foot or severely low arch, best type is a motion control shoe.
  • Mild overpronation: when the outside of the heel strikes first and the foot then rolls inward slightly absorbing the shock, typically someone with a low to medium arch and they should choose a stability shoe.
  • Neutral: If you have a neutral gait, the middle/slightly outward part of the heel strikes first and the foot rolls inward slightly absorbing the shock, best type is a neutral cushioning shoe.
  • Underpronation (supination): Someone who supinates, strikes the ground with the outside of their heel first and instead of rolling inward, stays on the outside of their foot through the entire foot strike. This inhibits the foot's ability to absorb the impact of the foot strike. This is typically someone with a higher arched foot and should choose a neutral cushioning shoe as well.

2. Knowing Types of Running Shoes

Whatever your running gait, a good pair of running shoes will provide flexibility, durability, and support. The level of these depends on where your running shoes sit within the five main groups; motion control, cushioned, stability, lightweight, and trail.

  • Motion control running shoes: are ideal for any runner who overpronates. Designed to reduce or control excessive rolling action of the foot and provide additional shock absorption they are usually the most rigid type of shoe.

  • Stability running shoes: provide cushioning, medial support, and durability as a compromise between motion control and cushioned shoes. They’re designed to stop excess motion of your foot and ankle without restricting movement too much.

  • Lightweight running shoes: are, as it says on the tin, typically lighter and therefore more flexible shoe. Lightweight shoes tend to come with decreased weight and more flexible cushioning, that combines the best of "minimalist" approach (making it feel like you aren't wearing shoes) along with cushioning to protect your feet. Lightweight shoes will decrease your fatigue and pain after a run, as well as being incredibly comfortable.

  • Trail running shoes: tend to have a different, special set of features designed to help you run on all kinds of rugged terrain from hard pack, soft pack, fell, or a combination

  • Barefoot shoes: Soles provide the bare minimum in protection from potential hazards on the ground. Many have no cushion in the heel pad and a very thin layer—as little as 3–4mm—of shoe between your skin and the ground.

Running shoes have a lifespan. Shoes wear and tear over time, and so does the cushioning and support your shoes have to offer. This is why you should always replace your running shoes. How often you should replace them depends on a number of following factors:

  • Mileage: your shoes have a lifespan of 600 – 800 kilometers.
  • Terrain: your shoes will wear out faster if you are running on the road all the time as compared to running on a cross-country terrain
  • Bodyweight: a heavy runner puts their running shoes through more stress and work

There are dozens of brands out there churning out quality shoes these days, and it would be impossible to mention them all – but there are a few brands that have unwavering popularity and have came up time and time again: Nike, Adidas, Asics, Reebok, Brooks, Salomon

3. Purchasing Your Running Shoes

You yourself know what you want from a shoe – whether it is lightweight, support, cushioning or just a comfortable fit. You are going to be logging hundreds of miles in it, you’d want to make sure they are the right shoes for you. Here are some things to take note of before buying your next pair of shoes

When it comes to running shoes, a higher price tag usually correlates with more technology and comfort features, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive shoes in order to enjoy a run. In a similar vein, opting for a very inexpensive pair may mean that the shoes aren't designed with running in mind and may not hold up to the demands that running places on them.

Quality running shoes generally range in price from about $100 to $250. You should expect to pay in the $110 to $150 price range for running shoes that are very well suited to most runners’ daily needs.

You are so excited to get new running shoes, or you are too eager to pick up from a flash sale or having someone buy for you. Please consider following common mistakes to get a long lasting comfortable pair of shoes:

  • Buying for looks: too concerned with fashion
  • Not asking for deals: ask if there are any discounts available for running club members
  • Buying shoes that are too small: tight-fitting shoes lead to blisters and black toenails and that kind of thing
  • Shopping at the wrong time of day: your feet start swelling in the morning and they don’t stop until about 4 p.m, always buy your shoes in the evening
  • Assuming your size: please have your feet measured every time you buy, and always try the shoes on for fit

Now that you know what you’re looking for in a running shoe, it’s time to get out there and buy a pair. If you follow these simple tips when looking for a new running shoe, not only will you avoid an overwhelming shopping experience, but you will have a shoe that fits your specific needs and will make running that much more enjoyable! Fit tips for your perfect shoes:

  • Foot size: Shoe lasts (which determine shoe sizes) vary by manufacturer and even from one shoe model to another. You may need a half-size or even a full size smaller or larger than you think. If you're unsure, have your feet measured.
  • Try on shoes at the end of the day. Your feet normally swell a bit during the day's activities and will be at their largest then. This helps you avoid buying shoes that are too small.
  • Aim for a thumbnail's length of extra space in the toebox. The width should be snug but allow a bit of room for your foot to move without rubbing. Laces should be snug but not tight. Barefoot shoes are an exception: Heel and toes should “fit like a glove” without any extra space in the toes.
  • If you wear orthotics, bring them along. They impact the fit of a shoe.
  • Consider aftermarket insoles (a.k.a. footbeds). Insoles come in models that can enhance comfort, support or fit

Finally, trust yourself. I am saying this as a person who reviews shoes quite frequently. As much as someone else may ‘love’ or ‘dislike’ a shoe, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have the same opinion on it. You have to wear what works for you, not for the guy across the street.

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