You got the dog...you got yourself a SportLeash...you picked up some cool Under Armour gear...now you're ready to hit the road (or trail). But what shoes do you rock?
According to Competitor Magazine, there are several very unique variables to consider when choosing the right footwear. Let's throw out the "I want to look cool" factor...we're going to say that's a given. If you're running long distances and/or for most of us who aren't 18 anymore, it's actually an important health factor as well. Running with an appropriate shoes can eliminate a variety of health factors including shin splints, foot and ankle issues, and most commonly back pain.
Before you set out to find a shoe that "fits well" you should educate yourself on what kind of foot you have. There are 3 main types of feet: flat, neutral, and high arches. As Competitor.com states, flat feet tend to have fallen arches, making them flexible and prone to overpronation, an inward rolling motion. Neutral feet are the most biomechanically sound variety, putting them somewhere in the middle. High-arched feet are essentially the polar opposite of flat feet. When the arches are particularly defined, the feet end up being rigid, leading to supination, or landing on the outside edges of the feet.
Shoe companies have you covered on the array of feet out there, which is why it's important to look past the coolest shoe in the store and really get into the details of fit and comfort. The first step is to align your foot type with the proper shoe category. Flat-footed runners should go with a higher stability shoes to help prevent overpronation. Neutral runners have the most flexibility and generally gravitate towards a moderately stable shoe. Similarly, runners with high arches should go with something more cushioned that provides midsole padding.
As a result of the variety of foot shapes, shoe companies have developed models to accommodate runners of all strides. In the selection process, be sure to align your foot type with the proper shoe category. Flat-footed harriers tend to gravitate to a higher stability shoe, as they help prevent overpronation. Neutral runners can often run in many types of footwear, but most commonly go for a moderate stability shoe. Runners with high arches are best suited for a cushioned shoe, providing midsole padding with flexibility.
Here is the list compiled by Competitor Magazine to help you choose the right shoe for your foot:
1. Visit a local running store to have your gait analyzed based on your foot type and biomechanics. Experts will then recommend a shoe that will work best for you. The three main foot types are flat, neutral and high-arched–factors which can help determine one’s level of pronation. In general, flat-footed runners are fit into motion control shoes to help slow down the rate of overpronation, while those with moderate to high arches are fitted for either cushioned or stability shoes, which provide a mild amount of support but are still flexible and well cushioned.
2. Choose which feel is right for you. Do you prefer to feel the responsiveness of the road with every stride, or do you like the cushioned ride of a more traditional running shoe? The models of running shoes are endless. From racing flats to trail shoes and everything in between choose the pair that will best suit your personal preferences, as well as your running environment.
3. Make sure you have a half to a full thumb’s nail length from your big toe to the end of the shoe. This may require going up in size from your street shoe. Running causes our feet to swell so you’ll want to have plenty of room in the toebox. If you’re toes are crammed in the front of the shoe, you could develop blisters or black toenails.
4. Before buying, take a short run around the store to test the fit, function and comfort before you make your final purchase. Make sure the shoe you choose feels great when you are running, not just standing.
5. To prevent injuries replace your shoes every 300 to 400 miles depending on the surface that you run. Running in old, worn-out shoes is one of the most common causes of running injuries. Over time, our shoes lose cushioning, stability and shock absorption. You’ll know when you need to replace your shoes when you feel discomfort in your joins and muscles.