Running shoes are a critical component for performance when going for a run. Despite equipment being scarce for the sport, your shoes will define how well you perform for your daily jogs. If not chosen properly, long term injuries and other unnecessary risks could surface. Here are some tips to show you how to choose the right shoes for running.
Factor to consider while choosing shoes for running
Finding The Right Fit
Identifying the arch of your feet is possibly the most important thing, but the width and length of your foot in its entirety isn’t something to brush off. For example, if you have wide feet, a narrow pair of shoes may suffocate your feet and cause discomfort and even bruising.
Oddly enough, the spacing between your toes and length of them from your mid foot is equally important. Cramming your toes into a nice pair of shoes won’t do you good if blisters and swells start to surface after some time.
Ultimately, looking online can only help so much, but trying different pairs on will give you a proper feel that will make your decision much easier.
Knowing Your Foot Arch
Other than shoe size, there doesn’t appear to be anything else to look for - but with running, you’d be surprised. Every foot has an arch and determines how well your feet can traverse terrain and how much damage one might sustain after some time.
High arched feet and flat feet will cause strain to the foot and muscle aches when running long distances, and certain shoes have the proper technology to minimise said risks. According to studies by podiatrists, low arch feet are the best feet for runners as they have a higher amount of flexibility while still offering support between each stride.
Identifying Your Gait
Now we’re getting into more technical territory. Gait is basically how your feet react when they make contact with the ground when running. Overpronation occurs primarily with those who have low arch feet who make contact with the heel before other parts of the foot. The motion is followed by the foot rolling inwards ever so slightly which will cause a lack of stability.
Neutral gaits are common for those with medium arches where the middle part of the heel makes contact with the ground before anything else. Although it will bend inwards too, there is more stability and does a better job at absorbing the impact of each stride. Supination is for those who have high arches and this results in the outer part of the heel making the main impact on the ground when running. This is possibly the most dangerous as the foot is not capable of absorbing shock when impacting the ground.
Knowing Your Running Route
Before even choosing your shoes, it’s important to plan your route and understand whether it could affect your balance, joints and overall momentum. If your running posture is rather sporadic and has the potential to cause great injuries, simple shoes for sidewalks and brick roads would be the ideal choice. While it is rarer to find a strong community taking the time to get a jog in offroad, it isn’t unheard of and definitely can be done.
Setting Your Running Goals
In tandem with understanding the route you want to take for your regular jogs, understanding the purpose of your runs and what you are training to accomplish is a big consideration before picking the right pair of shoes. If it is speed and racing, shoes that are better at dealing with friction would make sense. Shoes that are better suited for tar and concrete would be perfect for such a goal.
Alternatively, it could just be for keeping fit. If that is the case, you could be less picky about your footwear, however if your route has a chance of uneven terrain and even unpredictable weather, getting a durable pair of shoes would be the wisest choice.
Starting With Walking
The common saying is that people should learn how to walk before they can run and it is possibly the most apt adage to remember for this sport. By walking at a steady pace and observing your methods of walking, you start to have a rough idea on how you would be as you pick up speed.
As your walks turn into brisk walks and eventual jogs, your arm motions, stride distances and even pacing will determine the kind of runner you’ll end up being. While it is possible to alter your running style through training and a staggering amount of self awareness, it’s easier to play to your strengths and work with what comes naturally to you.
Types Of Running Shoes
Stability running shoes are designed for those who either have their feet rolling inward or outward most of the time. While this doesn’t hurt the feet on its own, this type of footwear does its best to restrict excess movement so that your running can have a straighter form and better stability.
High arched feet will find comfort in Cushioned running shoes, specifically designed with a soft base to ensure that every impact on each step is softened, minimising long term damage.
Last but not least, neutral running shoes are for those that don't fall into extremes of arches or have glaring running habits. Medium height arches need the least amount of assistance as this archetype is better at handling impact while retaining stability.
In essence, these are the most common pairs of shoes that are easy to find and simple to customise from a fashion standpoint. As these are the majority on the market, chances are that you won’t run into problems finding the right pair for you.