How To Start Running
Whether youre just beginning running or are training for a race, finding the best running shoes for you can be a daunting process. Your running shoes provide a base for your body to land on while you run they can help prevent injuries and make your run overall more enjoyable.
These are our top five tips to choosing the best running shoes:
Wiggle Room For Your Toes
Most runners find that they will go up an entire shoe size from their casual shoes to have enough room for their toes to freely move and feet to swell as they run.
Being able to place a thumbwidth in front of your longest toe to the end of the shoe is often a great test.
If your toes are already hitting the end of the shoe, that means as soon as you start to run even slightly downhill the pressure is ramped up and youre very likely to get ablack toenail from running.
Another way to look at this is examining the toe box.Most shoes have a slightly rounded toe area, while Zero Drop shoes are often designed to have a wider toe box that allows for more spreading of the toes.
The theory is that you want more access for your toes to spread, grab the ground and push away. In two decades of running, Ive tested all manner of shoes and the rounded ends dont bother me.
Youll want a wider toe box in your running shoes if:
- You have a naturally wider foot
- Youre running with bunions the widest part of your foot is made broader and you want space for it
- You like the feel of barefoot running
- You frequently get blisters on your toes
My top picks for wider toebox: New Balance and Altra.
How Speciality Running Stores Can Help
Specialty running stores can analyze gait and running style. At no additional charge, the staff at the running store will likely get you on a treadmill to observe, first-hand, how you run. They will video you while you walk and run barefoot. The goal is to see what your feet and ankles do mid-stance. Theres no one size fits all shoe. Youre unique and especially so are your feet. Body type must also be taken into account, because a big person will likely require different shoes than a skinny person.
The good news is that there are running shoes out there for every body type and running style. Having your gait and foot type analyzed by an expert sales person at the running shoe store will help you get a shoe with the feel, fit, cushion, and support required to help you run injury free.
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How To Tell If Running Shoes Fit
If your running shoes fit then you will be able to run for mile after mile without experiencing any blisters, bruising or discomfort. There are a number of issues you will experience if your running shoes dont fit properly. They include:
- Tingling or numbness in the toes – This is likely to indicate that your shoes are too short or too narrow. Shoes that are either too short or too narrow can cause serious problems, so thats something you should address now.
- Blisters between your toes – Blisters between or on top of your toes is a common sign that your shoe is too narrow and your toes are cramped.
- Blisters on the ball of your foot – This is most likely to occur when your shoes are too wide and your feet are moving around too much.
Bruised toes – Your running shoes are not long enough and your toes are being crushed.
Can Orthotics Prevent Injuries
Sadly no, probably not, and for all the same reasons that they arent exactly a magic treatment bullet. You should definitely be skeptical of any sales pitch for orthotics or custom shoes if you have no particular problem to solve. Many orthoses are sold with the promise that they will prevent injury. Even if prevention is not the main reason for the prescription, it is often thrown in as a bonus reason to buy. But it has been tested, with poor results.
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How To Buy New Running Shoes And Why Shop Your Local Specialty Running Store
These days, the search for new running shoes can be unnerving. There are so many brands and styles available. If you get the wrong shoe you may end up with an injury. The purpose of this article is to help you determine how to purchase your next pair of running shoes and why you should buy your running shoes and running clothes at a local specialty running store.
The staff at your local specialty running store can help you successfully navigate the running shoe purchase process. I have spent thousands of dollars over the years purchasing new running shoes for myself and my family. When you buy running shoes from a local specialty store, as opposed to a big box sporting goods store or online retailer, you not only helping yourself, but you are helping to support a store that is an integral part of the community.
You wont get the same support from a large National Sporting Goods chain or online retailer. Although these retailers may sell running shoes for a lower price than the local specialty store, they dont come close to the level of service local running store personnel provide. Ive become friendly with the owners of some of these stores over the years. These companies typically sponsor local running races and fitness events. They also sponsor or coordinate training groups to ready runners for these events. The 2 different local specialty running shoe stores in my area support all of the area running club activities.
D Scanning Lets Us Profile Your Foot
Our state-of-the-art scanner uses a set of specialized cameras to capture 12 precise data points to construct a 3D image of your foot. Measurements like foot length, width, volume and arch height help us fit you in the best shoes for your unique feet.
Fleet Feet outfitters create a profile for you based on your 3D scan so you can save your data and revisit it later as you shop for shoes either in store or online. We can even order custom insoles so you can take your unique support system with you when you buy new shoes.
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How To Determine Your Pronation Type
If you cant make it to a Runners Need store to have your gait analysed, the “Wet Foot Test” can give you a rough estimate of your pronation type. This is handy if youre concerned that your gait may have changed since your last assessment, but it is worth noting that it should only serve as a guide. For a full gait analysis and specialist advice on the right shoe for you, visit one of our nationwide Runners Need stores.
Frequently Asked Questions And Answers
What are people saying about sports wear in Houston, TX?
This is a review for sports wear in Houston, TX:
“Went to Fleet Fleet for the first time on Sunday. I had a very pleasant experience. My guy was patient, kind, and considerate to my concerns. After he assessed my feet, I learned that I’ve been supposedly wearing the wrong size shoe for years lol with that machine cool machine. So that was interesting to know. He asked what I wanted and came out with every color of the style to ensure I made a decision I was happy with. He provided insight of similar shoes that would suit me best. I would definitely come back for my next pair of running shoes.”
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More Technical Quirky Shoe Designs: Putting A Spring In Your Step Literally
There may still be some realistic hope for injury prevention with more specialized shoes. One of the more promising and instructive examples I know of is OESH Shoes, the creation of Dr. Casey Kerrigan, who left a promising career in biomechanics research to make shoes for women. Her goal was to simulate running on a springier surface by putting a literal spring in your step. More spring in the surface means less spring and bending in the joints.17 Hips, knees and ankles all bend less when you walk or run on a springier surface or on springier shoes?
Mass-produced running and walking shoes claim to absorb shock in all kinds of ways, but they arent springy. A spring gives energy back to you: it compresses, and then forcefully expands. Most shoes are mushy: they are made of foam, and foams absorb energy but dont give much back. Running on foam is like landing on a trampoline that goes down but not up: it cant toss you back up in the air.
Oesh shoes and other spring-loaded shoes are interesting and legitimately science-inspired. A similar spring-sole design was tested in 2017 and found to reduce lower limb muscle forces.20 Whether such shoes actually prevent injury is another matter entirely, and no one knows that yet. But at least its a good idea, which is more than we can say for an awful lot of competing products.
Shoes with springs might, conceivably, actually reduce running injuries.
Maybe less? Not so much.
Who Needs Orthotics Anyone
The supply dramatically exceeds the real demand. However, there are four common conditions that orthotics have the most potential to help:
- plantar fasciitis, a common painful inflammation of the sole of the foot, most easily recognized by its tendency to cause pain first thing in the morning
- arthritis, which often affects joints of the foot
- diabetes, which intereferes with circulation in the feet, requiring custom shoe modifications or custom-built footwear
- metatarsalgia, a painful foot disorder that affects the bones and joints at the ball of the foot
Other conditions that might be treatable but its much less clear include patellofemoral knee pain, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis,4 and bunions, as well as numerous systemic pathologies that affect the function of the lower limbs.
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Know How You Run And Your Size
Be sure to identify any previous or current injuries you may have developed from running. Common injuries like shin splints, blisters, knee soreness, Achilles tendonitis and other injuries experienced by runners can be caused by running in an incorrect running shoe for your running gait, style or body size, etc. Get your foot size measured. Your foot size and shape can change as you age. Obviously for younger people in their teens, who are still growing, their feet get bigger. My shoe size, now at age 50, is ½ a size larger than it was in my 20s and 30s. It only takes a minute or two to confirm your shoe size, but its vital for a comfortable fit.
Also, its possible that the size you wear in a Nike, Asics or other shoe brand may not be the same as what you wear in an Adidas, Brooks or other shoe. If your foot shape changes, causing you to land and role your feet you may need to change the type of shoe you buy from one designed for stability to one with motion control. An expert from your local running store will use all of this information to select 3-4 shoes that are appropriate for you to try. I recommend that you try them all to ensure the shoe you want is comfortable right there in the store. You simply cant get this same service from an online shoe retailer.
Orthotics For Back Pain
Back pain is extremely complex and notoriously resistant to any kind of treatment,5 probably because it is strongly influenced by many factors that we dont understand or cant control . In spite of this, orthotics or heels lifts are often prescribed for back pain, usually to treat a leg-length difference, which may or may not actually exist in the first place, and probably doesnt have anything to do with the back pain.6 Back pain correlates surprisingly poorly even with the most obvious structural/degenerative issues in the spine,7 so its unlikely that it would be much affected by the subtler biomechanical issues that might be influenced by gait.
The evidence available on this topic so far, such as it is, just a few small trials suggests that insoles or foot orthoses do not prevent or treat back pain, which is hardly a surprise.8 Technically the evidence is just inadequate and inconclusive, but the absence of any benefit in the small trials done so far is damning. The only studies with positive results have obvious flaws.9
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Four Questions You Should Ask Before You Buy Running Shoes
Buying running shoes isnt easy, and it can be a tricky thing to get right if youre a first-time buyer. Everyones feet are different, but there are models on the market suited for different feet and purposes. There are many factors that you have to take into account. Here are four questions you should ask before you buy a pair of running shoes.
Can you measure the length and width of my foot?
Your feet are ever-changing and so are the shoe models offered by brands. Your feet can change size and shape over time due to many reasons such as age, fluctuation in weight, exercise habits, and health conditions relating to your feet. Therefore, it is important to get your feet measured each time you buy a new pair of shoes.
Although measuring your foot gives you a rough idea of what size you need, it is important to try the shoe on. All brands and models will fit differently. The shoe you are looking for may fit differently based on the type of shoe it is, where it was manufactured, or a change in the shoe compared to the model before it.
What shoes suit my running gait?
Your running gait is the cycle of your leg as it travels through motion during a stride. Assessing your gait can give you an idea of where your leg and foot are making contact with the ground. This assessment can help you narrow down your options, and find a pair of shoes that are right for your foot.
What shoe will best suit what I am training for?
Running Clubs And Races
Check out running club websites. They often have recommended partners listed. Similarly, local running stores often sponsor races. Email the event organizer to ask for a referral or post on the event’s Facebook page asking for recommendations.
If you volunteer or participate in a local race or fun run, look at the event t-shirts or at runner’s t-shirts from other events. These shirts almost always have the name and logo from a running store sponsor.
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No Pinching Or Tightness On Top Of Foot
Another area that often goes overlooked is the fit along the top of the foot, which is why I want you to actually run in the shoe. Sometimes youll find as you start to run that the shoe simply breaks in a weird way causing pressure on the top of your foot.
Each shoe is designed with a different level of flexibility and it could simply be that your foot strike doesnt work with that shoe.
Additionally, if youre feeling tightness it means your foot again doesnt have enough room to swell during longer runs. Many times this can be resolved with adjusting the lacing technique, but its good to know that upfront.Example: Here we unlaced along the bottom of the shoe to pull up around the toe and create more space. You could do a similar lacing right along the middle of the shoe to relieve pressure.
Test with your insoles
Finally, if you need to put an insole in your shoe bring it with you to the store. This will change the height of your foot inside the shoe.
Some shoes like my favorite Nike React are a knit, so theres not room for the shoe to expand upwards, which means youll know quickly by placing your insert that the shoe it too tight.
What Is Video Gait Analysis
Video gait analysis involves running for a few minutes on a treadmill while a recording is made of the runners feet. This footage is then slowed down and analysed in detail by an ASICS professional, who will then explain their findings in simple terms. Runners can then choose from the three ASICS shoe types – selecting cushioning, structured cushioning and maximum support – based on the results.
As well as helping runners to find the right shoe by assessing the movement of the foot, video gait analysis also looks at leg and body movement to see if running efficiency can be improved. By slowing the video down and viewing the different running stages in detail, ASICS representatives can help identify certain movements which may be triggering injuries or reducing efficiency.
WHAT OTHER ISSUES CAN ASICS GAIT ANALYSIS IDENTIFY?
As well as under- and overpronation and running inefficiencies, ASICS gait analysis can help to identify a range of issues including:
- Slow cadence – Taking long strides at too low a frequency
- Heel striking – Where the heel lands and whether that could lead to injury
- A lack of core strength – Whether a lack of core strength is causing a runners hips to drop and forcing the knees and ankles to rotate inwards
- A lack of flexibility – Inflexibility in the hamstrings and calves is one of the leading causes of running injuries
WHY IS GAIT ANALYSIS IMPORTANT?
IS GAIT ANALYSIS WORTH IT?
HOW MUCH DOES GAIT ANALYSIS COST?
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