By: Angela Joy
Whether you are new to running or have been running for years you have discovered that the shoes you wear are a hot topic.
A runner’s shoe has great influence on their form, stride and sometimes even running ability.
Whether you believe this to be true or not, running shoes have become incredibly popular, whether you are buying for looks, comfort, support or stability.
For those seeking to purchase their shoes in an effort to improve their stride and performance there are several tips that can assist you in making your decision.
SELECTING THE CORRECT RUNNING SHOE
Hundreds of athletic shoes are advertised and sold every day.
When choosing shoes there are many reasons why you may choose one shoe over another.
Some choices are made based off of the fit; some are based off of the color, while others are made based off of the amount of support (or lack thereof).
To determine which shoe is right for you it is best to seek out a running shoe specialist and/or podiatrist.
Either type of professional will conduct a gait analysis to determine what areas may need more or less support.
The professional will then provide you with a suggestion for the style, type and support level shoe that is best for you.
The reasoning for the gait analysis, and combined emphasis of running shoe importance is most believe that specific types of running shoes may aid in preventing common running-related injuries.
Runners seeking advice on proper shoe selection most often visit a specialty running shoe store or visit their podiatrist.
When visiting a running shoe specialist and/or podiatrist a gait analysis is often completed to determine the shape of the foot, height of the heel, landing of the foot and positioning of the foot when standing and running.
The gait analysis is often done on the ground or on a treadmill.
During the analysis, the shoe specialist and/or podiatrist will evaluate the runner’s foot and strike.
CHOOSING YOUR PERFECT RUNNING SHOE
As a runner you will soon learn that the sneakers you wear are a hot topic among other runners.
Proper running shoes are known to prevent common running injuries, overpronation (the internal rolling of the ankle), supination (the external rolling of the ankle), shin splints and tight Achilles tendons.
Running shoes seek to fit each runner’s specific needs based on their shoe size, speed, mileage, arch height, gait, and heel strike.
When seeking to choose the right fit there are several factors that should be considered.
Some common areas that running shoe specialists and podiatrists tend to focus on examining include the runner’s foot size and width, arch height, amount of ankle pronation, foot strike and stride, and how the shoe feels when worn.
SHOE SIZE AND WIDTH
A running shoe specialist will ask to determine your foot size and width.
Many people assume that they are the same shoe size in every shoe. However, many running shoes fit differently and often run large or small.
Therefore, it is best to undergo a proper foot size fitting before beginning to try on shoes.
Another factor that may also impact the foot size and width is the time of day you are trying on shoes.
Our feet tend to swell during a run due to the impact being placed on the feet.
At the end of the day our feet also tend to swell due to the walking conducted throughout the day.
As a result, it is suggested that a proper shoe fitting is conducted at the end of the day.
The arch of your foot is a common location to examine when selecting running shoes.
The foot arch can either be high, neutral or flat.
The height of the arch can be determined during a full gait analysis.
For those seeking to determine their arch height at home the foot print test can be conducted.
Step onto a wet surface using a bare foot. Once the foot is wet, step onto a dry paper towel to create a foot print.
Once the footprint is created the arch height will be visible based on the amount of foot shown in the print.
Generally those with a low or flat arch are suggested to wear a supportive or stability shoe. It is suggested that those with a high arch wear a cushioned shoe.
This theory does not positively impact everyone; however it is commonly recommended in most running shoe stores and has been found to be beneficial to many runners.
The reason a flat-footed runner is often recommended a stability shoe is to control ankle overpronation, which is an inward rolling of the ankle as the foot strikes the ground.
High arches runners are generally recommended support to assist in an injuries that may occur due to the space between the foot and the shoe.
Supination, or the outward rolling of the foot opposite to overpronation, is also common among high arched runners. However, it is not always the case for all high-arched runners.
FEEL OF THE SHOE
Avoid becoming so caught up in choosing a motion controlled shoe versus a neutral shoe that you forget to try the shoes on and evaluate how they feel.
When trying on running shoes place them on both feet, walk in them, sit in them, and jog in them.
The way the shoe feels on your feet while you are running is a very important factor to ensure the shoes are right for you.
Therefore, before making your final purchase make sure the shoes feel secure and comfortable while running.
Choosing a shoe can be quite difficult. Try not to let the shoe’s colors or style take greater importance than the feel of the shoe when it is on your feet.
Also remember that not all recommendations are 100 percent true.
Each recommendation from a running specialist or podiatrist may be beneficial for some, but not for all.
The reason for this is that all people are different, therefore all feet are different. What may work for one person may not work for you.
Choose shoes that you feel are best for you and you will be sure to love your decision.
Some tips to use when purchasing your next pair of running shoes;
- make sure there is space between the end of your big toe and the front of the shoe
- replace your shoes every 300 to 400 miles
- ask for deals and/or discounts
- avoid buying shoes that are too small regardless of how they look
- make sure you love the shoes
INSPIRATION TO RUN!
This month’s inspiring quote is from the competitive American marathon runner Amby Burfoot.
“Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don’t have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimist, and never, ever, ever giving up,” Burfoot once said.