You might already have some sneakers, tennis shoes, or walking shoes at home. All these shoes might be fine for an occasional jog here and there, but if you plan to pick up running as a regular activity, a quality pair of shoes that are developed specifically for running will be necessary. This article will teach you how to choose the right running shoes.
Choosing The Right Running Shoes
Fit is the most important thing! Before you worry about cushioning, heel strike, or stability, here are some important tips for fitting your shoes:
- Make sure the heel is locked in. Lace the shoe so that the heel is secured, but not so tight that you can’t wiggle your toes. You should be able to pull your foot out of the laced shoe with minimal effort.
- Leave a quarter-inch space over the big toe. Your foot swells during exercise, and you need to allow some space for the foot to grow. Feet swell and lengthen over a run, so make sure there’s a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe (which isn’t always the big toe) and the end of a shoe. A friend or shoe fitter can measure this while you stand with your shoes laced up. Your toes should also wiggle freely up and down.
- Lace your shoes tight enough for your foot not to slide around inside it, but not so tight that you cut your circulation off.
What kind of running shoe do I need?
Many athletes believe that somewhere out there is the best running shoe that perfectly fits them. Everyone’s body is unique and has different requirements as an athlete or a runner. There is a definite link between improper running footwear and orthopedic complaints, so here is an easy way to figure out what’s the right running shoe for you:
To uncover what type of runner you are, you can conduct “wet test.” To do this, you just need to get a bowl of water, a dark piece of paper (a brown paper grocery bag or manila envelope is perfect), and your bare feet. Stick your foot in the water, shake off any excess, then step onto the paper and walk over it. Look at the footprint left on the paper, and compare with this list of common footstrike types:
Supinator is a kind of foot that’s also known as an “underpronator”. A supinator’s feet tend to have high arches that roll outward. You tend to strike the ground with the outside of your feet as you run (you’ll notice that the outside edges of your soles usually get worn down first). People with this kind of feet need shock-absorbing sneakers. The running shoes will need to have flexible soles that look like a kidney (ask for “a more curved last”). Underpronators need neutral shoes with extra cushioning.
These type of feet simply means that you have an average gait with evenly distributed weight across the foot. The kind of shoe needed by people with this kind of feet is a shock-absorbing running shoes but with more balance and foot support.
Pronation means that you have feet that roll inward, forcing the inner side of the foot to bear your weight. It also means that your feet have flat arches or low arches. The inside edges of your soles will get worn down first. Over-pronators need motion-control or stability shoes. The shoes are quite durable but will bend only near the toe region. More arch support is often helpful.
More Tips For Buying Running Shoes
- Buy running shoes at the end of the day when your feet have ‘swollen’ as much as they will, and the shoes will not feel tight.
- Be sure the shoe has a wide toe box (the area where your forefoot and toes are). You should be able to wiggle your toes easily. Narrow toe boxes do not permit the normal foot splay, or spread of the foot bones during running. This will prevent your feet from being able to safely distribute the forces during running.
- There should be at least a half- inch of room between the toes and front of shoe, about enough space to place your thumb between your big toe and the front of the shoe.
- Test the shoe to determine if it is too narrow: Take the insert out of the shoes and step on them on the ground. Does your little toe hang over the sides of the insert? If so, your shoe is too narrow. You should be able to pinch a quarter inch of upper material along the widest part of your foot.
- Check the flex point before you put on the shoe. You can do this by holding the heel and pressing the tip of the shoe into the floor. The shoe should bend and crease along the same line your foot flexes. An improperly aligned flex point can lead to arch pain or plantar fasciitis, while a lack of flexibility leads to Achilles-tendon or calf strain.
Common Mistakes When Buying Running Shoes
Avoid these common mistakes when picking running shoes:
Buying for looks. Some runners are too concerned with fashion. Often when they choose a shoe just because it looks cool, they end up with foot or knee problems. When you buy, think feel, fit, and function – not fashion.
Buying shoes that are too small. Tight-fitting shoes lead to blisters, black toenails, and compromised circulation. Women in particular are used to wearing their shoes very tight. Many are self-conscious about the size of their feet. See the sizing tips above.
Assuming that all sizes are the same. An 8 in a Nike will not be the same as an 8 in a New Balance. Sizes differ because of different lasts (foot forms), the different shape of the upper shoe, and the way the shoe is stitched together. Have your feet measured every time you buy, and always try on every pair for proper fit.