Choosing a good running shoe is crucial for the right cushioning, stability and support. With so many running shoe styles and brands out there on the market, it can be a difficult decision. Here are the main tips to look for when purchasing your running shoes.
Types of Running Shoes:
Road Running Shoes are designed for pavement and hard packed surfaces with slight irregularities such as fire roads, nature trails and wood chipped pathways. Being light and flexible, road running shoes are made to cushion and stabalize feet during repetitive strides on hard, even surfaces.
Trail Running Shoes are generally beefed up running shoes for off road trails. Enhanced with aggressive outsoles for solid traction and offering stability, support and underfoot protection, these shoes tend to be slightly heavier than road running shoes. If you're running regularly in mud, roots, rocks, critter holes and other such obstacles, trail running shoes are for you.
Knowing Your Feet!
Foot Size: You probably know your shoe size already, but if you're unsure if one foot is larger than the other, it is best to have your feet measured at the running shoe retail store you are purchasing your shoes from. Whenever possible, try the shoes on to see if they fit. Shoe sizes vary by manufacturer and sometimes you may need a half size or even sometimes a full size smaller than you think.
Arch Shape: This is one of the most important things to know about your feet with running. Here's a simple way to find yours, as you get out of the tub, shower or pool, take a look at your footprint you leave on your bathmat or cement. Your arch shape affects the way your foot moves as you run, therefore choosing the right running shoe with the proper stability is very important.
High Arch is a very narrow, curved footprint or one in which the ball and heel aren't connected.
Normal Arch is a foot that is in between a flat foot or a high arched foot. This is considered a normal foot.
Flat Foot consists of the wider and straighter the footprint is the lower the arch is.
Biomechanics of Running:
Your foot shape is closely related to its movement as you walk or run. The typical scenario is with every stride your heel hits the ground first, followed by the ball of your foot. your foot rolls slightly inward as the arch flattens to cushion the impact, then rolls slightly outward and stiffens to create a sort of springboard to propel your next step. As runners, we experience different levels of these sideways motions as we stride. Here are the most common characteristics:
Pronation is the foots natural inward roll following a heel strike. Basic pronation helps absort impact, relieving pressure on your knees and joints. It is a normal trait of biomechanically efficient runners.
Overpronation is an exaggerated form of the foots natural inward roll. It is also a common trait that affects the majority of runners leaving them at risk of knee pain and injury. Overponaters need stability or motion controlled running shoes.
Supination is also called under-pronation and is an outward rolling of the foot. This results in insufficient impact reduction at landing. Relatively few runners supinate, but those who do need running shoes with plenty of cushioning and flexibility.