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10 Tips To Choose The Right Running Shoes

Choose The Right Running Shoes

For the best fit, try on a new pair in the evening when your feet are swollen to their max. The right pair is light and has a wide toe box, with a 0.5" gap between the toes and the shoe tip, so that you can wiggle the toes, and cushioning that doesn't drop from the heel to the toe. Run in them to see if the heels slip. Don't worry about pronation or motion control. Use these shoes only for running and get a new pair after every 350 miles.

The increasing popularity of running can be largely attributed to its no-frills status. You don’t need any fancy equipment or expensive attire if you choose running as your fitness mantra. Having said that, the importance of a good pair of shoes cannot be overlooked since the wrong pair of shoes can lead to running injuries – both short-term and long-term – which can affect your running goals adversely. Choosing the right pair of running shoes is not about picking the most expensive one with a fancy label. You need to be absolutely sure of the shape of your feet before choosing the shoes that fit well. The condition of the shoes and the anatomy of the feet play a major role in most overuse injuries that turn out to be chronic.

So, find out from your local running club where their members usually buy their shoes and head on to the right store. But when it comes to selecting running shoes, no one size (or type) fits all. You must select your running shoes after considering the following factors.

1. Get The Right Fit

Shop for your running shoes at the end of the day when your feet have swollen to their maximum size so that the shoes will not feel tight in any event.

The proper fit is without a doubt the most important factor. If your shoes are too small, you might get blisters and/or black toenails. If they are large, you’ll never get the right grip.

Get your feet size measured and get help from a specialist retailer who will be able to assess your feet and fetch the right kind of shoes for you. Also, your feet may be of different sizes. So buy accordingly. You might be surprised, but there are runners who buy different shoe sizes for each foot. Make sure the fit is snug but not tight at the heel when you lace the shoes up.

2. Choose According To Your Arch Type

To find your arch type, take the wet test. Dip your feet in water and then press them on a sheet of paper till the imprint is clear.

Not everyone has the same type of foot arches. People who have a high arch types tend to run with more impact on the outside of their feet. In those with medium arches, which is the predominant arch type, the feet tend to roll inward to distribute the force of the impact they receive when they come in contact with the ground. This is known as pronation. In those with a low arch or flat feet, the feet roll in further. These 3 arch types require different types of shoes.

  • High arch feet need shoes with some cushioning to absorb the shock.
  • Medium arch feet can wear a wide variety of neutral shoes.
  • Low arch feet need shoes with more stability to balance out the overpronation.

Whichever type of shoe you choose based on your arch type, make sure the shoe is flexible and follows your feet’s natural flexion.

3. Choose Light Weight Shoes

The lighter the load around your feet, the better you run. So consider the running shoe that weighs less. The thumb rule is, a male whose foot size is 9 can go for a shoe that weighs about 10 ounces or less, and woman’s size 8 should weigh about 8 ounces.

4. Don’t Opt For Excess Cushioning

An ideal running shoe would protect your feet against injuries and complement the strength of your foot. But it should not have excess cushioning or extra support because that would make you land with greater impact than you would with a shoe that has less cushioning. However, the ideal amount of cushioning for each person depends on their arch type.

5. Check For Small Heel-To-Toe Drop

The difference in the thickness of the shoe’s heel cushion and that of the shoe’s forefoot region is the heel-to-toe drop. For people with normal arches, this should be minimal. Choose the shoe that has none or a very small drop as it would allow your foot to provide ideal support while you are on the go. Even for low foot arches, low heels are better.

6. Look For A Wide Toe Box

Make sure that the shoes have a wide toe box, that is a wide area in front and around your toes and forefoot. Only then will you be able to wiggle your toes easily. Narrow toe boxes might prevent your foot from being able to distribute the forces when you run. Also, there should be at least half an inch of space between the toes and the front region of the shoes. Make sure your little toe does not sit on the inner edge of the shoe.

7. Don’t Choose On The Basis Of Walking Gait

Do not take the advice the shoe store gives you after seeing you walk. Your foot motion while you walk is different from your run. However, a good shoe store will ask you to run to find your pronation.

8. Don’t Worry About Pronation

Not everyone needs to buy shoes that aim to correct the “pronation.” Pronation is not associated with injuries in runners – beginners or veterans – who wear neutral running shoes, that is shoes for a neutral foot arch.1 So unless you have high or low arches, you need not get extra features to control your pronation.

9. Don’t Look For Extra Components

The shoe store may try to sell fancy shoes with extra components like motion control or stability components. Again, if you fall in the wide category of people who have neutral arches, you don’t need all those for a good run. In fact, they could interfere with your natural foot movement.

10. Do A Test Run

It’s difficult to find if a shoe is perfect for running unless you try it out. And a lot of specialty stores do let you take a short run around the block. Doing so will help you understand if the shoe is comfortable and leaves little room for disappointment later on. This is important even if you’re buying a model from the same company as you had before.2

Use Your Running Shoes Only For Running

Running shoes are specifically designed for running and not for any other activity; so, you might want to keep this pair aside for your running needs alone.3

Change The Pair After Every 350 Miles

It is ideal to change shoes after every 300–400 miles, considering it’s a good distance covered before your shoes start to wear off.

But here’s the catch. You might be too used to the shoe that you already have and the new shoe might slow you down initially. Make the transition easy for your legs by wearing the new shoes for a part of the run in the beginning before switching to it completely.4

The perfect pair of running shoe is the one that lets you run smoothly and does not cause any injuries. Remember, there is no one shoe that is perfect, but there is a shoe that is perfect for you. Go grab that pair and start running!

References   [ + ]

1. Nielsen, Rasmus Oestergaard, Ida Buist, Erik Thorlund Parner, Ellen Aagaard Nohr, Henrik Sørensen, Martin Lind, and Sten Rasmussen. “Foot pronation is not associated with increased injury risk in novice runners wearing a neutral shoe: a 1-year prospective cohort study.” British journal of sports medicine 48, no. 6 (2014): 440-447.
2. Tips for Finding The Perfect Running or Walking Shoes This Summer. The Newhouse School, Syracuse University.
3. Choices, N. H. S. “Choosing sports shoes-Live Well-NHS Choices.” Men’s health 18 (2015): 39.
4. Selecting Running Shoes. American College of Sports Medicine.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.