How To Choose The Right Running Shoes For You
With so many to choose from buying running shoes can be a daunting task but we’re here to make it easy. If you are running high mileage, low or medium, there is a shoe to suit every runner. Just as there is a shoe for every runner, there is a shoe for every foot. Whether you need a wider toe box, a neutral shoe, a specific heel to toe drop, like more energy return through the shoe or just need something to control your foot roll, we have women’s and men’s running shoes designed to meet your needs. Just follow our handy guide to find out what questions you need to be asking before a long run or race day, and what it all means.
Think About How You Run
This is possibly the most important information you can be armed with to get a running shoe thats the best fit for you. Dont just spend big and pick up a pair of Nike Vaporflys or Alphaflys just because all of the elite runners that smash out PBs in them. We all run differently and understanding a bit more about how you run can better inform the shoe you should lace up.
What were mainly talking about here is your running gait. In plainest terms, this refers to the way your feet move when you run. That gait is broken down into three main types of whats known as pronation. This refers to the way your foot rolls inward when it lands back on the ground. Theres neutral , underpronation and overpronation.
With that better understanding of the degree of pronation that occurs when you run, you can better identify the type of shoe that offers the best kind of support for that running gait.
To save yourself digging into that gait data yourself, the easiest thing to do is to head into a running shop and do that running gait analysis, usually for free, to understand more about your running style and then better understand what kind of shoe to look for.
Running Gaitthe Underpronation Gait
Also known as supination, if you underpronate, then this means that your foot rolls out during a running gait.
The outside edge of the heel strikes the ground at an increased angle but does not roll inward during the gait cycle.
This causes a massive transmission of shock through the lower limbs.
This results in insufficient impact reduction upon landing, putting a lot of pressure on the leg.
Some of the common injuries among underpronators include shin splints, ankle sprains, and plantar fasciitis.
Doesnt sounds nice, right?
If your shoes have a slight or a significant outward tilt along with wear patterns on the outside edge of the sole, then chances you have an underpronation/supination running gait.
Runners with high arches are likely to be supinators.
Best Running Shoes?
I highly recommend neutral shoes with adequate cushioning properties for increased shock absorption.
Measure your arch really well so you can add sufficient cushion.
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Running Gaitthe Neutral Gait
This is the basic neutral pronation type.
If you have a neutral gait, then you might be a biomechanically efficient runner.
A neutral gait means that your ankle, knees, and hips are all in alignment, therefore, be able to absorb impact, and reduce pressure on the joints and knees.
The Ground Contact
During the neutral gait, the outside of the heel strikes the ground first, then the foot pronates to absorb the shock and support body weight.
When a pair of used shoes do not show any inward or outward tilt and/or showing signs of wear down the middle of the sole, it usually indicates a neutral gait.
Runners with medium arches, as you can already tell.
Best Running Shoes?
I highly recommend a stability shoe or neutral shoe.
There Is No One Best Running Shoe
Feet are unique and even some of the best-rated running shoes might not work for you specifically.
While many would pick the number one best rated running shoe as it must be thee best, note how little difference there is in the overall scores. Our general advice is that as long as you pick running shoes with a CoreScore above 80, you’ll get a shoe that is good for most people, given that it’s picked for its intended use.
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Finding Your Level Of Support
Once you’ve decided what kind of ride youd like to experience from your shoes, depending on your biomechanics, you can find a level of support in your shoes to bolster your gait. There are three categories of running shoe support: neutral, stability and motion control .
- They can work for mild pronators but are best for neutral runners or people who supinate .
- They typically do not have motion control features such as medial posts that reinforce the arch side of each midsole.
Identify Your Running Style
Know how you run, says Wilk. It’s important to determine where a person first comes in contact with the ground. Is it the outside of the heel? Is it at the inside of the forefoot?
“If the point of initial contact is mainly through the forefoot , then there’s not a lot of shoe needed behind the forefoot,” says Wilk. “Why would you want to have a lot of cushion in the heel when you’re not going to spend any time there anyway?”
If you’re a forefoot runner, you should be wearing a running shoe like the Nike Vomero, which has most of its cushion in front. If you run from heel to toe, the Asics Gel Kayano might be the right running shoe for you.
Be sure to identify any injuries you have developed from running, as well. Problems like shin splints, blisters, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis often can be reversed with the proper fitting running shoes.
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How Experienced Are You
A mistake I made as a running newcomer was buying a pair of expert-level shoes that my body wasnt prepared for. This happens a lot, says Solberg: If you are a new runner and your body has not been conditioned to cope with the impacts from running, you might want to consider a more stable shoe. She says comfort plays an important role in preventing running-related injuries. In other words, runners may be less likely to get injured when wearing footwear that feels as comfortable and natural to them as possible.
Are Running Shoes Good For Walking
Yes and no. Theres absolutely no reason why you cant or shouldnt walk the dog wearing your running shoes, but be aware this might shorten the lifespan of your shoe. Also, if youre planning on wearing your road running shoes with you on a hike, they might not offer the same ankle support or grip as say, a walking shoe or boot.
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Not All Feat Are Created Equal
Your right and left feet are of slightly different shapes and sizes, with oneusually the dominant onelarger than the other.
This is the reason you need to have both of your feet measured.
Foot size changes over time and one model can be significantly different from another, so go by what feels most comfortable, not by your standard size.
Id recommend that you measure your feet for length and width at least twice a year, or whenever trying new running shoes.
You should also do this in the evening as feet tend to swell after prolonged sitting or standing.
What Makes A Running Shoe Premium
More expensive running shoes, or premium running shoes, will have things like removable sock liners, memory foam in zones such as the ankle column, seamless construction, knitted uppers, et cetera.
But are they worth the price? If they feature comfort or provide a better fit, then yes. As we said, comfort is the first factor to consider.
I hope you now know enough about running shoes to find the perfect pair for you. Dont forget to check out our reviews, buying guides, and even training plans to get you started. Remember to like and subscribe and share with your friends. From Sarah and Running Shoes Guru, goodbye.
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Youre Using The Wrong Kind Of Shoe Reviews
Its all too easy to believe that when something works for you, everyone should have the same exact thing, says Sach. And that is the shoe buyers downfall when it comes to relying on crow-sourced shoe reviews.
How familiar is the reviewer with the range of shoes on the market? What type of foot does the reviewer have? Is the reviewer actually a runner? Ask yourself if the review is published by a reliable source: Is it the kind of site that aggregates enough info to help runners choose or are they just telling you what to buy?
Lookout for biased reviews, as well, where brands sponsor the writer or influencer to review their product.
On Runners World, we put each shoe through real-world usage and a battery of mechanical tests in our lab to provide you with objectiveand exclusivedata. In addition to a shoes weight, we measure sole thickness , how well the foam cushions your stride, and the flexibility of the forefoot. All this is taken into account in our reviews of each shoe.
The Benefits Of Proper Footwear For Runners
Proof that running shoes help prevent injuries is still, surprisingly, a controversial subject in the running community.
Its not, in fact, settled from a scientific standpoint.
But all in all, I think that shoe choice matters for injury-free and efficient training.
Let me explain.
Running shoes serve the function of protecting your feet from runnings impacts, as well as help you achieve and maintain top speed.
Problems you can avoid by choosing the right running footwear include :
- Plantar Fasciitis,
- Arthritis, and
- A long list of aches, pains, and injuries.
Since youre here reading this article, Id bet that you also share my opinion and believe in the importance of running shoes.
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Use Your Running Shoes For Running Only
The average pair has a lifespan of around 400 to 500 miles.
Every trip to the grocery store, Zumba class, tacks on the miles, and eventually contribute to the downfall of your favorite shoes.
Yes, its an exclusive relationship!
Your running journal should keep you honest.
Heres how often to replace running shoes.
The Wet Test For Finding Foot Type Explained
The Wet Test is not the most accurate arch type test, but its a good start, and a convenient, free, way to figure out your arch type.
Here is how to how to do it:
- Dip your foot in the bowl of water for a few seconds,
- Stand on the paper bag to show an imprint.
- Take a look at the imprint that your foot left on the brown paper bag
- Compare the imprint to the images below.
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Things You Need To Know Before You Buy Running Shoes
Don’t take recommendations from your friends if you don’t want to get hurt.
Colorful running shoes can inspire almost anyone to lace up and attempt a 5K . But cool sneakers won’t take you far if they’re terribly uncomfortable. To avoid both blisters and serious injuries, forget everything you know about sneaker shopping, and use these expert tips to find the pair that’ll keep you going and going and going or at least make running less torturous.
1. Ignore recommendations from your friends.
While you might be tempted by the running shoes that your fittest friend swears by after all, she ran a freaking marathon in those! they may not be the best pair for your feet. “The way you move is highly unique as unique as your signature or your voice,” says Paul Langer, DPM, podiatrist, president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, and co-owner of a shoe store. Because your stride is almost definitely different from your friend’s, your ideal shoe probably will be different too.
2. Never buy a totally new pair online.
“You can’t assess comfort without making comparisons, so you have to try on at least two or three pairs before you select one,” Langer says. If you’re new to running, try at least one lightweight pair with a super-thin sole, and one thicker-soled pair that looks sturdier. It will help you figure out what feels best and narrow down a large selection.
3. Don’t trust running store technology.
4. Run before you buy.
You Wear Your Shoes Too Long
Historically, running shoes have a lifespan of between 300 and 500 miles, but many runners either dont keep track of mileage or they throw caution to the wind and wear out their pair.
Wearing out shoes can lead to injury. According to Ken Larscheid, owner of Running Lab in Pinckney, Michigan, a tell-tale sign for replacing your pair is when you get unusual aches and pains in certain areas. A lot of people who come in and feel pain or soreness dont even question the age of their shoes, says Larscheid. What we suggest at the store is overlapping them a little bit.
Introducing a new pair before your current pair wears out will help you ease into new shoes as you ease out of your old ones. Other indicators to start changing out include worn, smooth grooves at the bottom of your shoes, and uneven foam on one side of the shoe, meaning the sole is no longer level.
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How To Choose The Best Shoe
Plan on spending some time at the running specialty store, as the salesperson will likely ask questions and want you to try on several options. Aim to visit the store at the end of the day after you have been on your feet for a while. Your feet will have swollen by then and be closer to the size needed for your running shoes.
If you already have a pair of running shoes, bring them with you. This will give the salesperson greater insights into your foot alignment and gait style. The same applies if you use corrective orthotics or custom-fitted insoles.
Different Types Of Running Shoes
Every single runner is unique. That’s why there are many different types of running shoes. Theres a difference between running shoes for women and running shoes for men. Womens running trainers normally have a narrower fit than those designed for men, which often have a wider fit. Because men are often a bit bulkier than women, running shoes for men are usually also a bit sturdier than those for women. In addition to the difference in sex, theres also a big difference in running styles. Where one runner might need some guidance during heel-to-toe transition, others can perfectly go without this support. Thats why next to the differentiation between shoes for men and women, running shoes are also divided up into two other categories, namely:
Neutral running shoes are specifically designed for runners who land on the middle or the outside of the heel and who use the middle of the forefoot for take off. Stability shoes, or overpronation running shoes, have been specially designed for runners who land on the outside of the heel and whose ankles collapse to the medial side during transition. Overpronation is often corrected with a sturdy block in the midsole, or a comparable technique, which prevents the ankle from collapsing inwardly.
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Knowing What Size To Buy
Did you know that running shoes arent supposed to fit the same way your casual shoes do? When you run and your feet hit the ground, your toes move close to the end of the shoe. Running shoes often need to be a half size to one size larger than your casual shoe to fit correctly. Wait! This doesnt mean that you just need to order the next size up. Your feet can also change sizes during your lifetime. So, the size you wore in high school, might not be the size you need now. Thats why it is a good idea to measure your feet. You can have your feet measured at a store, or you can measure them at home.
What Should You Really Consider When Buying Running Shoes
For many runners, finding the shoe thats best for them is a long, frustrating and sometimes expensive process. With so many variables to consider, its hard to figure out which factors apply to you, and which ones you can ignore. Recent research looked at four of the main shoe-selection strategies that have been popular over the last few decades to identify which ones were important so you can forget about the rest.
1. Pronation Control
The researchers describe pronation control as one of the earliest and most well-known of all the footwear selection strategies. First appearing in the late-1970s, shoemakers began constructing shoes with motion-control technology to reduce your foots inward motion when it lands on the ground . The goal was to prevent knee injuries, a common complaint among the growing number of recreational runners.
Upon reviewing the available research, however, the authors of the study found very little evidence that reducing pronation prevented any injuries. They concluded that this reason for selecting shoes is not currently supported in most cases and that reducing foot motion through motion control shoes may even be injurious.
In other words, pronation control is one factor you can probably ignore when choosing a new pair of running shoes.
2. Shock absorption
So whether you prefer a shoe with more cushioning or less, dont use this measurement as a deciding factor if injury prevention is what youre after.
3. Habitual joint motion path
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