Running Shoes 101

Why Shoes Matter

Shoes are the difference between running correctly, and therefore strong; or incorrectly, which can lead to major pains and future problems.   After all, running tends to be a life-long process, and do it the right way is the only option for sustained longevity. The first thing Mackenzie Lobby, a writer for Competitor Running, suggests is that you study, “the shape of your feet.”  The three categories are:

1. Flat – fallen arches, flexible but prone to over-pronation (an inward rolling motion)

2. Neutral – the most bio-mechanically sound, somewhere in the middle

3. High arch – opposite of flat feet, rigid, which leads to supination or a landing on the outside edges of the feet.

Luckily shoe manufactures have developed models that acclimate to the variety of feet.  Keep in mind that if you have access to a local running store, most can analyze your gait, foot-type and biomechanics, completely taking the entire guesswork out of the equation.  Once you know your foot type you can hone in on the precise footwear.

 

What to Look for

Once you know your foot shape the next thing, according to running shoe expert Cielestia Calbay, is to choose a shoe that “feels right for you.”  Whether you prefer to sense the responsiveness of the road, or fall on a more traditional running shoe with a dampened ride, it entirely depends on your personal preference.  Calbay also suggests that you take a short run around the store to test the “fit, function and comfort before you make your final purchase.”  Sure, you may feel a little strange, but it could mean the difference between finding the perfect shoe and coming back to the store and starting all over again.

Best Brands

Now that you’re researching shoes, consider looking for the Runner’s World top picks.  They review the best shoes each season.  For Winter 2013, the highest rated running shoes are the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14’s (for both men and woman.)

Running Shoes 101

They also list the ‘Asics GT-1000 2’s as a “best buy.”

Running Shoes 101

As stated above though, keep in mind the best shoe wholly depends on what you are using it for.  Stability, longevity, flexibility and weight are all factors to consider when tailoring your running experience. See Runners World’s Winter List – click here

Also consider the running shoes Olympians wear. At the 2012 London Olympics there was one shoe that stood out from the pack, the Nike Volt.  Nearly every runner wore those distinctively colored and fantastically styled shoes.   In fact, according to the Daily Mail, “over 400 athletes wore Nike Volts, and of those 400, 68 athletes won Olympic medals, including 25 gold medals.”

Running Shoes 101

Best for Running

While style is an important component, in the end the shoe that gives your uniquely shaped feet the comfort and support they need, will win.  Look for one that allows your toes to move around freely and doesn’t have seams that rub against your skin. And while the internet is a surplus of information, if you want to get the best shoe for you, go into a store and truly test them out.

What are your go-to running shoes?