Choosing a running shoe that is engineered for your particular type of foot can help you avoid some common running injuries. It can also make running more enjoyable and let you get more mileage out of your shoes. |
Shoe manufacturers are aware that, anatomically, feet usually fall into one of three categories. Some people have "floppy" feet that are very loose-jointed. Because feet like this are too mobile, they give and roll to the inside when they hit the ground.
Floppy feet leave a flat foot impression on wet sand. Improperly fitted running shoes tend to cause uneven wear on both the inside and outside of the shoe. The heels will tend to wear unevenly on the inside. Common injuries for floppy feet from improperly fitted running shoes are knee pain, arch pain, and heel pain. Floppy feet need motion control running shoes.
At the other extreme are people with "rigid" feet. These feet are very tight-jointed and do not yield enough upon impact. Rigid feet leave only the toes, balls of the feet, and heel impression in wet sand. Another name is high arch feet. Improperly fitted running shoes for rigid feet tend to wear unevenly on the outside of the shoe. Heels wear excessively on the outside edge. Common rigid foot running injuries are stress fractures, shin splints, and ankle sprains. To help avoid these impact related injuries, these people need impact control running shoes.
Finally, the third type, or normal foot, falls somewhere between mobile and rigid. This type of foot can use any running shoe that is stable and properly cushioned.
Generally, whatever type of feet you have, when shopping for running shoes, keep the following in mind: Expect to spend between $50 and $150 for a pair of good running shoes. Discuss your foot type, foot problems, and shoe needs with a knowledgeable salesperson. Check online for available brands and their prices before shopping at retail stores. Buy a training shoe, not a racing shoe.
When trying on running shoes, wear socks that are as similar as possible to those in which you will run. Also, be sure to try on both shoes. One foot is almost always bigger than the other. Look at more than one model of shoe. Choose a pair of running shoes that fit both feet well while you are standing. If at all possible, try running in the shoes on a non-carpeted surface. Run in place if you must. This gives you a feel for how your new running shoes may perform on the trail.
Regardless of the reputation of the manufacturer, carefully inspect the shoes for defects that might have been missed by quality control. Do the following:
Place the shoes on a flat surface and check the heel from behind to see that the heel cup is perpendicular to the sole of the shoe. Feel the seams inside the shoe to determine if they are smooth, even, and well-stitched. Check for loose threads or extra glue spots; they are usually signs of poor construction.
Running shoes' ability to protect you from injury decreases as the mileage on them increases. Record the number of miles you run with them on a regular basis, and always replace your running shoes when they have accumulated 500 to 700 miles even if they show little wear.
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