Are you Cinderella or an ugly stepsister?
Choosing the right running shoe for you can be quite a difficult task. As a consumer, there are hundreds of shoes to choose from and each brand promotes different features and benefits it is no wonder you can be overwhelmed with all the mixed messages from the internet, the shop, sales staff, and of course your running colleagues. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned athlete, it is important to invest in the right shoe. A good shoe will help you to reach your goals by ensuring you can keep running, are not on the couch due to injury or pain and keep you supported for whatever distance you are running, whether that is 5km every other day to tens of km's each week. To make it easier for you, we have put together the top 5 ways to choose the right running shoe.
Top 5 ways to choose a running shoe for you.
Remember there is no such thing as ‘one shoe fits all'
The reason why there are so many shoes and numerous brands is that there isn't a one shoe fits all or even one brand fits all paradigm so take the time to try on a range of shoes before you purchase.
Feel for the right fit
The most important part when trying on running shoes is the fit. They need to feel comfortable immediately. And this isn't just the cushion or softness! It is the length, the width and the feel of the shoe when walking and running. If you can get outside and jog the pavement or on a treadmill, it will serve you well weeks after buying the shoe not just the initial 5 minutes.
What 'Type" are you
When trying on running shoes, most shoes are categorised into support and cushion, this is based on how your feet function ie do you roll in roll out or are you neutral. Traditionally if you roll in you will use a ‘supportive' shoe and if you are ‘neutral' or roll out you will use a ‘cushion' shoe. However, there are many more factors that need to be taken into account; these start with how your legs are structured and how they influence the foot your body weight your running speed and your desired running distance. Many people of an average weight that are running relatively quickly (4min 30sec km's) and not running a huge distance can use a lighter weight and less structured shoe than somebody who may be aiming for their first marathon has a pronated foot and aiming for a 4-hour marathon.
One of the best ‘do-it-yourself' tools for assessing these things yourself I have found is by Corrective Exercise Specialist Justin Price of Fitness Network. This can give you a good starting point for when you go into buying your first/next pair of running shoes.
Speak to an expert
As much as I would like you to save money on running shoes the age-old adage is true "you get what you pay for" this is right for running shoes too. There is a reason the top running brands are more expensive than the Nike fashion shoe, they provide support and cushion (as discussed above) so it is best you go in and talk with a salesperson who runs regularly themselves, your coach or a podiatrist before purchasing your shoes. The way I look at it is investing in a good pair of shoes is like an insurance policy. The better the shoe and fit the less likely you will have any pain.
Got a niggle, see a Podiatrist
Running is an amazing sport it is wonderful being out in the open, breathing in the fresh air and I get a huge sense of achievement every time I run. Yet if you do have any injury problems with the feet or legs pain can be compounded by running the best thing to do is to find a sports Podiatrist at the first sign of a niggle.
Written by Ben Moore Podiatrist Richmond Victoria