If there is one thing you need to do before you start running, it’s to invest in a good pair of running shoes. If you’re going to spend a lot of time in them, you want something that you not only like but are the right shoes for your foot type.
Like anything, running shoes have a shelf life and if you are planning to put on those old running shoes you have kept in the closet for the past 20 years, you might want to re-think your plan. Science has come a long way with the development of running shoes and with all the shoe ads and reviews, it’s hard to know which pair of shoes a newbie should buy.
There are a number of variables and guidelines when selecting the most appropriate running shoe for yourself as shoes can play a major role in keeping your running strong. Here’s some insights to get you started.
First of all, a specialty running shop is a good place to try on different pairs of shoes. They can suggest which shoe type is appropriate for your foot by looking at them. For instance, there are three main foot types which are flat, neutral, and high arches. Flat feet have fallen arches which make them more flexible and prone to over-pronation. Neutral feet are the most biomechanically variety putting them somewhere in the middle. High-arched feet are the opposite of flat feet. The can lead to supination and end up being rigid.
This diagram will provide you with a good indication of what type of shoe to look for that best suits your foot.
You’re a mild to moderate over-pronator. This means the arch will collapse through the gait cycle and the foot will roll inwards severely. Most runners fall into this category.
You’re a neutral runner or an under-pronator. You have an efficient running gait and you’re likely to have a normal arch.
You’re a severe overpronator. This means the arch of your foot will collapse through the gait cycle and the foot will roll inwards severely. You are most likely to have a flat arch.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Shoe
Test the Shoes
You need to run in the shoes before you purchase them. Some stores provide a treadmill while others have a small running strip to run on or you can even run outside of the store. You need to ensure that the shoes properly fit the size and unique shape of your feet. It should be snug but not tight in the heel and midfoot/arch area. You should have some extra wiggle room for your toes so it shouldn’t be overly tight there. There should be no slippage in the heel and you shouldn’t have to tie your shoes tight to get a comfortable fit.
Running shoes are the one thing that I always splurge on. Think about fit first and price second. Why? If you’re strictly going on price alone, you won’t get the right fit of shoe for your foot, body type, or running form. Splurge on the shoe and go discount on the clothing if you have to. When you think about the pounding your feet take from the road, it’s comforting knowing that they are well supported by the right pair of shoes. If you’re going in on a budget, make sure that you do some research first so that you are not surprised when you see the price.
Be Sensible about Fashion
Some of you may be fashion conscious when you run or workout, and that’s ok, but choose the shoe for the fit, not the colour. Your shoes are going to get dirty and scuffed up from running outside and on the trails, so the colour is going to fade eventually so think about functionality.
Buy shoes for running only
This is the one pair of shoes that you should be using for running only and not for x-training workouts, running errands, or walking in. You are investing a lot of money into your shoes and the more you use them for non-running activities, the faster they will break down and lessen their performance.
Understand What “Heel-Toe Offset” Means
Science is constantly changing the way that shoes are made so runners are not only more efficient when they run but their posture becomes better. To best describe what the heel-toe offset is, basically it’s the difference in height between where the heel sits on the footbed in a show and the forefoot sits on the footbed in the shoe. Most shoes are designed to have a 12-13mm heel-toe offset, however, shoes are now being designed from anywhere between 0-11mm. Be careful of not dropping too quickly to a lower heel-toe offset as the foot will sit in a flatter position as the heel will be lower to the ground. This can cause problems in your calves and Achilles if you don’t let the foot adjust slowly.
Treat your feet well. If you’re new to running, go to a specialty running store to purchase your shoes as opposed to a general sports store. Not only will the shoes be similar in price, but you will gain more knowledge from the staff. If you use to run and are starting to take up running again, bring your old shoes with you so the staff can see what you ran in before you stopped running. Your shoes are your biggest investment when you run so if you’re on a tight budget, spend more money here and less on the clothing.
As you get more comfortable with your shoes, you will learn when it’s time to change your shoes. For the average person, they say once you reach a mileage of about 300-450 miles, it’s time to change them. Some people can last a little longer while others need to buy sooner.
I know when I buy a new pair of shoes, I feel like I’m floating on air. It’s such an amazing feeling and your feet will let you know what is best for them. It will just feel right to slip on the shoes.
Eat clean & live green!
Your Compassionate Coach,