When it comes to buying a pair of running shoes, it can be sometimes as tricky as buying something bigger like a bike.
My friend who has approached me to help him with a pair got confused with my statement. After all, it’s just a pair of running shoes. Any good brand should work, right! And I do not blame him for this. Most of us who are new into the running feels the same way.
Looking for a running shoe can be irresistible if you don’t know what you are looking for.
Though, there is no single shoe perfect for everyone; In this blog, I would run through a few tips that will help you to choose the right pair of running shoes.
PS: You will find some technical terms used in the article and we have tried our best to explain the same in the simplest way possible.
1. Analyze your GAIT
Firstly, what works for one runner may not necessarily work for another, so don’t aimlessly head out and buy a pair of running shoes just because you found the shoe stylish or your friend had suggested them. The first thing you should do is to analyze your GAIT.
GAIT is a set of actions/reactions the foot performs while in motion to support, cushion, and balance.
Head to your local shoe store to have your GAIT analyzed or, if you have a pair of well-used running shoes, you can check the wear patterns on the soles to see how you pronate and what shoes are suited to you.
Bonus Tip: If you go to any of the branded showrooms like Nike, Reebok, Sketchers, Asics, etc. you can get your GAIT analysis done for free of cost. In general, they charge some nominal fee, but you can get it done free of cost if you purchase your shoe from the store. You can also get your GAIT analysis done free of cost by visiting any Marathon Expo.
2. Understand Pronation
Pronation is a natural movement of the foot that occurs during foot landing while running or walking.
There are three types of pronation. We have neutral, overpronate, and supinate (or under pronate).
What you are looking for here is more centralized wear down the middle of the ball of the foot and this is considered the most biomechanically sound as everything tracks and rolls through in a straight and forward motion.
You can identify this with slightly more wear down the inside edge of the shoe. Don’t worry if this is you, because it’s very common and it’s quite often caused by the arch of the foot collapsing in, or in some cases, even being flat-footed and in turn, this ends up leading to this rolling in motion as you run.
If you find you have slightly more wear down the outer edge of the shoe, it’s likely that you supinate. Now, this isn’t quite so common, but it’s generally caused by having a high arch, which means you have a particularly defined and rigid arch, which causes you to roll through and off on the outer edge of your shoe.
If you didn’t already know how you pronated, hopefully, you do now.
3. Choose the right Running Shoe
Let’s take a look at the different types of shoes to suit those types of pronation.
- These shoes are intended to be used by both neutral and supinating runners.
- It provides a bit of shock absorption and a little medial support.
- They’re essentially designed to roll through in a nice, neutral motion and if you do supinate, these won’t add any more unnecessary control or stability.
- The shoe is for someone who overpronates or for mild overpronation.
- These normally include a firm area around the arch side for support.
- Thus, provide higher stability to control the motion of the foot as it rolls through.
Motion Control Shoe
- If you have a quite severe overpronation or flat feet, you want something with slightly greater control to stop the arch from collapsing so much, such as a motion control shoe.
- These shoes are essentially a beefed-up version of our stability shoe and it just simply provides a little bit more support around the arch area.
No this can be considered as an extended part of Shoe type. Other than the color, the main difference you will notice with the shoes is the amount of cushioning.
You may find one super well-cushioned while the other is a lot more minimal and when you weigh them on the scales, you will find the eight difference of probably 300 gm – 400 gm for the pair. The well-cushioned shoes are almost twice as heavy as compared to minimally cushioned shoes.
So, when should you wear each type of shoe?
The well-cushioned running shoe is great for absorbing impact, perfect for your everyday training miles. Now, they are a bit heavier, but they do help to keep you injury-free and in one piece and recommended for long runs.
The more minimal shoe is, in fact, a lightweight racing flat. You may want to pull out these shoes to give you that edge on race day. Now, it works in the same way the nitrous booster works for your bike; gives you the extra push.
Also, if you want to transform yourself to barefoot running then minimal shoes are good to start with.
Please note the lightweight shoes are recommended for a 5k or a 10k run and should not be a go-to shoe for marathons.
5. Running Terrain: Road VS Trail
Road shoes are great, but if you have ever tried venturing off-road in them, you have probably noticed a significant lack of grip. Even, I have tried a few times and ended up face planting in the mud😊.
Now, that is because they are designed for flat, smooth surfaces and groomed trails, not really for loose, slippery surfaces or mud, as I found out.
Trial shoes are designed to address these off-road/slippery conditions. They generally have a bit more tread and a slightly more jagged design to the sole to improve that traction and grip and also features reinforced upper materials that add another layer of protection.
And obviously, these are well suited to anyone doing any off-road, multi-sport events.
While buying your perfect running shoe can sometimes seem like a big investment, do not make the mistake of trying to get your money’s worth to the point that your toes are poking out of the end😊.
If you are running with them beyond their life expectancy, you could be limiting your performance or even risking injury. Over time, they begin to lose their cushioning, meaning you begin to absorb the impact more.
Generally, shoes have a round 300 to 400 miles in them, and the lighter the shoe, often, the less that is. So, for something like a racing flat, there is probably about one season of a regular marathon before you need to replace them.
Running shoes need to be perfect which not only feels comfortable on your foot but also fits your foot the best. You should feel it like a part of your body.
After all, you are going to be spending a lot of time with these, so it is important that they are right for you.
Thank You for reading it through. Buying your favorite running shoe sometimes can be quite complicated, but hopefully, the above-mentioned tips would have eased up part of your confusion and helps when you are next purchasing your perfect one.
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