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How To Choose The Right Running Shoes

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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 running shoes cannot be overlooked. This is mainly because the wrong pair of shoes can lead to injuries—both short-term and long-term—which can affect your running goals adversely. More on running injuries here.

And choosing the right shoe for the activity 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 are chronic.1

So, find out from your local running club where their members usually buy their shoes from and if they are happy with what they got and head on to the right store.

How To Choose Running Shoes

When it comes to selecting running shoes, no one size (or type) fits all. You must select your running shoes after considering these five factors:

1. The Right Fit

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.

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.

2. Light Weight

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.

3. Some Cushioning, Not Much

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.

4. 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. 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.

5. 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.

Now that you know what to look for, once you select a shoe run some distance wearing it to see if the heels of the shoe slip.

Advices You Can Ignore

1. Pronation

If you are a new runner, you might get a whole lot of advice on picking the right shoe for your “pronation.” Do not get intimidated. Pronation is nothing but the inward movement of your foot as it tries to distribute the force of the impact it receives when it comes in contact with the ground. Some runners pronate more, while others pronate less. But when it comes to selecting the shoes, pronation does not matter. A study has found that foot pronation is not associated with injuries in runners—beginners or veterans—who wear neutral running shoes.2

2. 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.

3. Extra Components

The shoe store may try to sell fancy shoes with extra components like motion control or stability components. You don’t need all those for a good run. In fact, they could interfere with your natural foot movement.

Some Essential Tips

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 350 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. Runner’s Knee. Cleveland Clinic
2. 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.
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