Choosing the Right Running Shoe
Running is both an art and science. It involves coordination of mental and physical prowess to achieve one’s goals. We understand people run for many reasons from high level competitions to just general fitness and well being. At the center of all this is the running shoe.
The kind of running shoes that a runner wears can be determined by the comfort, terrain, style of running, as well as the health of the feet. Wrong running shoes can interfere with running making it unpleasant and even cause injury. This is why it is so important to get it right when you set out to buy running shoes.
There are so many parameters you need to take into account when buying running shoes. Here is our list of the top 5 considerations when purchasing a shoe.
This is the first and perhaps the most important parameter to consider when choosing the right running shoe to buy. There are three important foot types based on how high the arch is. These are flat, medium (Neutral) and high arched feet.
To determine your foot type you can use our at home Foot Type Guide. This will tell you where you are withing the 3 styles.
A neutral arched foot does not need motion control shoes and therefore a standard or minimalist running shoe would work best. Flat arched feet need high stability shoes with firm midsoles as well as control features that reduce the degree of pronation. For high arched feet, you need neutral (or cushioned) shoes featuring high degree of flexibility to encourage motion and to help absorb shock.
2. Running Activity and Terrains
Another important parameter to take into consideration is the running activity you will be involved in. Different types of shoes are suitable for different terrains and the required performance level. For example, if you are a sprinter then you need racing shoes that are lightweight, high performance and designed for speed.
Mid-distance runners on the other hand require running shoes that are lightweight, cushioned and featuring a balance between comfort and speed. For a marathoner who has to run long distances, you might prefer a shoe that provides cushioning support so that the runner can hit the ground for longer periods. It is very important that the shoes have maximum fit and comfort.
In case you are a trail runner, then you might want shoes that have denser soles than those of average running shoes. The shoes must offer high levels of stability, durability and comfort. Since the trail is uneven and sometimes sharp, extra cushioning and support may be needed to protect the ankles and the toe joints from sprain accidents. Trail shoes must also have extra traction, be water resitant and feature other technologies which reduce friction and discomfort.
3. Support and Cushioning vs Minimalist
Recently there has been much debate over the now standard cushioned running shoe and its advantages and disadvantages. For most of the last 30 years running shoes have seen a steady increase in not only cushioning, but arch and heel support. These now traditional running shoes have come with heavy backlash and disagreement. The Minimalist or “Barefoot” running revolution has come on strong in the last few years with the idea that the foots natural shape and engineering is all that we need in regards to support. Minimalist believe that the foot is already perfectly designed to accommodate in whatever running program or style we participate in.
Since most of us have been using traditional running shoes for some time, going minimal is something that would need to be gradually introduced before you commit fully. Most of our feet have been conditioned using running shoes and without that support you can cause yourself serious injury if you don’t know what you’re doing. If it is something you’re interested in we recommend checking out the book Born to Run by Christopher Mcdougall. This book will go into detail about the mechanics and technique to running barefoot or with minimalist shoe.
4. The Size of The Shoe And Its Fit
When shopping for running shoes, you need to know exactly the size of your feet. This is because comfort and performance of any running shoes depends on how the feet fit into it. The fit cannot be anything less than perfect. If to tight it can strain the foot causing pain and discomfort. On the other hand, if it is too lose, the shoe can move and rub when you are running; a situation which can cause severe blistering and discomfort. These are the points to take home in regards to finding a perfect fit of running shoes:
- The Shoe needs to be about a half size larger due to the increase in foot size when running.
- The shoe needs to have enough wiggle room within the toe box even when the shoe is tied.
- The heel of the shoe must not slip when you are running or walking.
- The shoe should not be too tight, although it should snug enough to resist easy sliding of the foot within.
- The top of the shoe should feel secure and not be too tight to any part of the foot.
- Finally, the shoe should be flexible and light; however, it must provide some degree of stiffness to ensure support and durability.
The first thing that comes to mind of many people when it comes to purchase of any product is how they can get great value at a competitive price. This is the best way to shop but it requires you to research widely and to be knowledgeable about what quality means. The internet has made it quite easy to compare prices and to infer the quality of different products from customer reviews.
While it is always good to go for affordable stuff, at times you need to remember that what you pay for is what you get. Should you go for cheap running shoes, chances are that they are low quality, uncomfortable and even dangerous. Such shoes are also less durable meaning that you will have spent much more in the long run due to frequent replacement.
It is always good to pay more in order to get better quality running shoes. Such shoes are durable, high performance and comfortable. They are likely to serve you for long and will not require frequent replacement. Paying more for running shoes is a sacrifice worth taking.
This running shoe guide can help you arrive at running shoes that will serve you depending on the activity you have chosen to perform in. Whether you are running for leisure, for fitness or athletic competition, you should always seek out to find the right running shoe that will give you maximum comfort, flexibility, durability and safety.