Running is a sport that doesn’t require much equipment. But whether you only head out on occasion for a weekend run or you’re a marathoner, the one thing you need is a good pair or running shoes.
Finding the perfect pair of shoes has nothing to do with the name brand on the label or whether the trim color matches your favorite workout outfit. To select the right running shoe, you have to find the one that is most suited to how you run and how the shoe feels on your foot.
Here are some tips to help you choose a pair of running shoes:
Determine The Type of Shoe You Need
This will be based on how your foot strikes the ground. If the arch of your foot collapses as it hits the ground, your foot will roll inward, referred to as overpronation. Mild to moderate overpronators (which account for approximately 60-80% of runners) should choose a support shoe.
Those who severely overpronate (about 10% of runners), may do better with a motion control shoe with extra support on the inside of the shoe and a wider sole.
If you have a neutral foot strike or underpronate (your foot rolls slightly outward when it hits the ground), you’ll most likely prefer a more cushioned shoe. When you wear the right shoe, your feet should point forwards when you run and you shouldn’t “toe out.”
To determine the type of shoe you need, go to a running store where a professional can fit you properly and evaluate your gait.
Consider The Other Factors
Once you’ve settled on a type of shoe, there are other factors that may impact your final selection. This includes where you run (paved roads or trails), what the primary focus of your running is (distance or speed) and how often you run.
Finding the right shoe to fit where and how you run is important. For example, if you run on trails, you’ll need a heavier shoe that is designed to protect and support your foot as you run on uneven or rugged terrain. In contrast, if you’re running on paved surfaces and speed is your primary focus, it’s more appropriate to select a shoe made from lightweight materials.
Try It On
No matter how “perfect” a shoe may seem, ultimately it come down to what feels best on your foot. If you feel any irritation in the store, don’t assume it’ll get better once you “break the shoe in.” A good-fitting shoe should fit snugly in the heel (but not be tight) and feel secure but not tight in the instep.
To make sure the shoe is wide enough, you should be able to pinch ¼ inch of material in the upper near the widest part of your foot. To check for length, you should have a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the edge of the shoe when you stand up with the shoe fully laced.
Even if you’ve selected a shoe that works with your arch and seems to fit well, you should test it out before you leave the store. Don’t just stand in one place to decide if the shoe fits right. Instead, go for a short jog in the store or on a treadmill to check if the shoe feels comfortable when you move and the arch support complements your stride. If you feel your arch cramping, back off on the amount of support in the shoe for a more comfortable fit.
Wait Until The PM
Buy shoes later in the day because feet swell throughout the day and what you buy in the morning may not be comfy later on. And don’t assume you’re always the same size. Different brands and even styles within the same brand may fit differently so always try shoes on for fit.