How To Choose Running Shoes – Things To Absolutely Consider
Choosing a pair of running shoes can seem quite confusing but by following this easy-to-use guide you should find the pair that’s right for you.
Gone are the days of clumpy running shoes. Now it is all about providing a natural feeling whilst giving optimal levels of support and cushioning.
Choosing the correct running shoes is entirely individual. There are many factors that can affect your choice of footwear including your running style, biomechanics and running regime. However, as a rule of thumb the two most important factors are how much you pronate (the inward rolling of your foot as it absorbs shock) and your foot arch type.
To find out what running shoes suit you, we would always recommend visiting a local specialist running store for advice. However, if you’d rather avoid the hassle, please use our guide below or many of the manufacturers now offer online tools to help you decide. The pick of the bunch is Mizuno’s Precision Fit.
1. What is your foot type?
To cater for the varying needs of road runners, the manufacturers offer a choice of three running shoe categories; Neutral, Stability and Racing.
The “Wet Test”
The simplest way to decipher what type of running shoes you require is to take a look at your foot print the next time you get out of the bath or shower. However, please be aware that although the “wet test”is a good indicator it is not always correct. We would recommend that for 100% accuracy that you visit a foot biomechanics specialist.
LOW ARCH / FLAT FOOT means that when your foot strikes the ground it has the tendency to roll inwards excessively which provides plenty of shock absorption but prevents normal toe-off. The excessive motion in called Over Pronation and creates instability through out your body. You will require a stability running shoe to correct this.
Recently manufacturers have decided to reduce the production of motion control shoes. Instead they have opted to design shoes that help to subtly correct your gait.
See our selection of the Top 10 Stability Running Shoes
See our selection of the Top 10 Motion Control Running Shoes
A NORMAL ARCH is the most common foot type and can suggest that you may well not need to seek running shoes with special requirements. Having a neutral foot would suggest that when you walk or run that you have a Neutral running style, that your feet follow the natural GAIT cycle and Pronate sufficiently (see video). If you have a normal arch you will require light stability running shoes or neutral running shoes.
You can even consider wearing racing shoes if you are lightweight or running over shorter distances.
A HIGH ARCH, if your feet fit this category then it is likely that you Underpronate. Your foot is rigid and doesn’t roll inwards enough and although it provides stability, it is not an effective shock absorber. People with High arched feet often require neutral running shoes to help compensate.
Recently manufacturers have taken an approach to reduce the amount of cushioning and provide a responsive rather than spongy ride.
See our selection of the Top 10 Neutral Running Shoes.
How much do you weigh?
Heavier runners may require running shoes with additional cushioning and/or enhanced motion control features. This applies to Men over 85kg and Women over 73kg.
Trail Running Shoes
If you are a trail / off road runner then you will require specialized trail running shoes. However, the priciples above still apply. For more information about trail running shoes please click here.
Buying your running shoes
Being an online business this is probably not the best thing to suggest but we would not recommend that you purchase your first pair of “real” running shoes online. Although they will be cheaper online we would advise that you get yourself along to a specialist running shop where you can rely on the staff to provide you with helpful advice and analysis. Don’t go to your run-of-the-mill sports shop in the high street.
- Make sure you try a few pairs of running shoes on
- Shop late in the afternoon or after a run – your feet will be expanded then
- Wear your running socks – deodorize first!
- Your running shoes should be snug but NOT TIGHT (or you’ll get issues like top of foot pain or extensor tendonitis.)
- Your running shoes may need to be a half to a full size larger than your everyday shoes.
- Check that there is adequate room at the front of the shoe. There should be a thumb width between the end of your largest toe and the end of the shoe
- The running shoe should fit the foot snugly at its widest point and when you walk your foot should not slide around either. Upper should fit snugly and hold foot securely.
Replace your running shoes
Running shoes lose their cushioning after 300-500 miles of running, so to help prevent pain and injury you’ll need to replace them after you’ve run this distance. Once you can see that the heels have worn down, the running shoes need to be changed. How long your running shoes last, of course, is up to you and your training plan.