How to Choose Running Shoes
Buying a pair of properly fitted running shoes is one of the most important purchases a new runner can make. They can make the difference between a successful start to your running career and a negative experience fraught with injuries and discomfort.
A running specialty shop will be able to provide you with the assistance to be properly fitted for a pair of running shoes.
Selecting a Pair of Shoes
First, by watching you walk or run, they will be able to determine the type of shoe best suited for your foot.
The two main types of shoes are neutral and stability shoes. Generally speaking, a neutral shoe is for runners who do not excessively pronate and perhaps even supinated slightly. A stability shoe is for runners whose feet pronate or collapse inwards.
Next, they will consider the width and general shape of your foot. One of the most common mistakes is that runners will purchase shoes that are either too small lengthwise or too narrow. This can cause a myriad of issues such as blisters, pressure points, black toenails and premature wearing of the shoe.
Finally, a fitting expert will also help you determine if you like a shoe with a lot of padding for better shock absorption and comfort or if you would like a shoe that is a little firmer.
After you have purchased your new running shoes, it is always a good idea to wear them around the house for a least an hour to determine if it is comfortable over a longer period of time. If you feel any discomfort, return to the store to try a different shoe.
The lifespan of a running shoe for an average runner is about 400-600 km or 6 months. It is important to replace your shoe regularly.
Since running is such a high impact sport with very repetitive motions, running in old shoes can lead to injuries, most commonly plantar fasciitis and Iliotibial Band Syndrome.
Types of Shoes
There are several different types of running shoes.
The standard road shoes will have around a 30mm to 20mm of padding or stack height and about a 10mm to 12mm heel to toe offset.
Trail-specific shoes are normally characterized by their aggressive lugs and lower profile design. Within those two main categories of shoes, there are the subcategories of minimalists and maximalist shoes.
Minimalist shoes have, as the name indicates, has minimal padding and usually have less than 4mm heel to toe offset. They can be used to help improve form through better proprioception, as well as strengthen your feet. However, if you are not used to minimalist shoes, too much too soon can cause injury.
Maximalist shoes are named after their large amount of cushioning. They often have a fairly rigid sole and aggressive forefoot rocker to help improve the fluidity of the toe-off in the gait cycle. These can be excellent shoes for runners who are looking for comfort and require a high amount of shock absorption.
Today, there are lots of different options of shoes available for runners. Therefore, it is important to spend a little time finding the right running shoe for your foot. Your body will thank you.