By Lauren Bowen
Running is easily one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. It can raise your levels of good cholesterol, improve your lung function and even prevents cancers like breast and colon cancer from developing!
However, a bad pair of running shoes can instantly take your run from excellent exercise to injury. The wrong kind can hurt you; the right kind can propel you toward running success!
But how do you know which shoes to choose? Here’s what you need to know.
How to Find the Running Shoes That Suit You Best
1) Know Your Needs
Every runner lives a different lifestyle, and running shoes are designed to meet specific needs. Start by determining the type of running you do (or the type of running you want to do).
Do you exclusively run on pavement? Or are you more the type to hit the trails? Do you run long distances that require a little extra support? Or are you mostly looking for a cross-training shoe that can be used in the gym?
Here are your options:
- Road-running shoes
- Trail-running shoes
- Cross-training shoes
2) Nail the Fit
Well-fitting running shoes should feel snug, but not tight. Experts suggest that you should be able to slide your feet out without untying them. Here are a few more tips to help you nail the fit:
Heel: Choose a shoe that allows a small amount of heel movement without too much slippage. You don’t want any rubbing or irritation!
Instep: Avoid any shoe that feels tight or pressured in the ball of the foot. Your toes need enough space to spread naturally. Think the shoe feels right in all other ways? Maybe try lacing it up a different way before you give up on it.
Width: In a properly-fitted shoe, you should be able to pinch approximately a quarter of an inch of material or so at the widest part of your foot. If it’s too narrow, you will feel your pinky toe bumping up against the side. Avoid this!
Length: When choosing your shoe size, keep in mind that your feet will swell over the course of your run. Give yourself approximately one thumb’s width of space to the end of the shoe when standing.
Flexibility: A nicely fitting shoe will flex where your foot flexes. Ensure that it creases at the same point or you may experience pain in your arches.
3) Understand Your Tendencies
Every runner is unique, and we all have funny tendencies! Check the wear on your former pair of running shoes. Do you see heavier wear along the inside edge of your shoe? You may be overpronating (running with an exaggerated inward roll). Do you see more wear on the outside edge? Odds are you’re experiencing supination, or outward rolling.
If you run with overpronation: Overpronation is fairly common in runners. Look for a shoe with stability control—sometimes called an ‘outer post’—to help guard against knee pain and injury due to overpronation.
If you run with under-pronation/supination: Look for a shoe with extra cushioning and flexibility to help reduce impact.
4) Test Your Choices
If you are fortunate enough to shop at a specialty running store, be sure to get the advice of a sales associate when you’re there! Try the treadmill each time you test a new pair of shoes, then have the specialist record your run in slow motion. This can give you excellent insight into your running tendencies.
Second, it’s always a good idea to try running in every pair you try. Don’t settle for just walking around the store.
What Not To Do
It’s so easy to rush into a bad purchase if you get sidetracked by one of the following common mishaps. Don’t fall into these traps!
- Buying for looks. Buy what feels good, not what looks cool. It’s so easy to ignore the fit in favor of the one you like the look of.
- Shopping too early in the day. Shop when your feet are at their warmest (at the end of the day) so you don’t risk buying a size too small.
- Buying shoes that are too small. People can be self-conscious about the size of their feet. Don’t buy in your vanity size; buy what fits!
- Assuming your size without testing a few. The size you usually wear in a street shoe may not be the perfect fit in a running shoe. Try a variety!
In general, a good pair of running shoes should last you for between 400 and 500 miles of running. If you’re a regular runner, this is probably 3-4 months or so. So take the investment seriously!
Source: Care2.com | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide