Running Shoes – Finding Your Perfect Pair!
Running is a sport that doesn’t require a lot of equipment, so finding the right pair of shoes is often underestimated or even overlooked. You’ve probably heard some version of the quote “just lace up and go”, which although is true, the right pair of shoes can quite literally make or break a run. It can be especially intimidating and difficult for newer runners to know what type of shoe will work best, mainly because there are so many different brands and options out there.
That said, the proper pair of shoes are crucial for more than just style and protecting the feet. They also act as a barrier for the legs and entire body as you are “pounding the pavement”. If you’ve ever experienced shin splints or unexplained pain in the legs/knees, there’s a good chance it could be tied in to wearing the wrong shoes, so finding the correct pair is critical. NOTE: this is NOT always the case, and it is always best to speak to your doctor if experiencing pain or worsening pain while running. This is because your body is a kinetic chain, meaning everything is connected. Your feet support your lower extremities including leg muscles that are connected to the back and core. If your feet are not set up for success, it could even cause the body to change the way it runs to over-compensate and “correct the problem”, leading to other issues along the way. By setting yourself up correctly with the proper shoes, you are also setting the rest of your body up for success.
Now that you understand the importance of proper running shoes, you might be wondering “what types of shoes are better than others, and/or how do I go about finding the right pair for me?” Below are a few next steps to finding your perfect fit!
- Determine if you need new running shoes.
- A good rule of thumb is every 450 – 550 miles or shoes that have signs of excessive wear and tear, such as worn-out soles, rips, tears, lack of support, etc.
- Keep in mind miles walked in the shoes count as miles. To make your running shoes last longer, it is recommended to use them for running only and have a second pair of shoes for running errands, etc.
- Visit your local running store!
- A local running store is your best bet for finding your perfect running shoe! They hire professionals who will analyze your foot while walking. They look at where your pressure points are while you walk/run, your gait and stride, and more! Typically running stores will have you get on a treadmill and test each shoe, and some will even record your step. This leads to the best and most personalized recommendation.
- When working with the sales professional, it is also helpful to let them know your goals. All this information will be helpful in determining the best shoe. Think about the following to help you guide the conversation:
- What are you training for?
- How far will you be running with them?
- Will you be running indoors or outdoors?
- Keep an open mind and choose function over fashion.
- Keep an open mind about the brand of running shoe. Even if your best running friend recommended a specific type, what works for their foot might not work for yours. It is always best to listen to the recommendation at a local running store.
- Remember, running shoes aren’t meant to be fashion forward or runway ready. If you’ve been eyeing a trendy style that you love, save it for going out and about. Take the recommendation of the local running store and grab the shoe they suggest, even if it means compromising on color or exact style. Your feet and legs will thank you!
- Think of running shoes as an investment.
- A good pair of running shoes can add up, however, they are worth the investment! Setting yourself up to prevent injury could help prevent expensive medical bills. It will also prevent you from having to buy several new shoes every other month because of aches, pains, or discomfort, which can also add up.
- Finally, be sure to ½ size up from your normal shoe size!
- This is a game changer! Adding ½ size to your normal shoe size is going to give your toes more wiggle room and will prevent them from bumping/rubbing the front of the shoe repeatedly during a run (which can lead to bruised or damaged toenails in long distance running). Although the front of the shoe has more room, the rest of the shoe should remain secure.
In the end, although running doesn’t require a lot of equipment, the equipment you do need is important for your long-term health and success as a runner. No matter which brand of shoe you choose, make an informed decision so that you can step into your best training run yet!