What Type of Running Shoes Should I Be Wearing? |
In response to the beginner runner's broad question (we do get some variation of this question almost daily), "What type of running shoe should I consider buying?", we typically start off by determining what type of foot the runner has (flat foot or low arch, low to medium arch, or medium to high arch). Once this is determined, a starting point is established.
Motion Control Running Shoes
Generally, runners with flat feet tend to over pronate ( the foot rolls inward ) and they typically need motion control running sneakers to control the over pronation. Most running companies offer at least 2 motion control running sneakers to choose from. Lighter runners will often go with a lighter shoe and heavier runners will often select a heavier shoe.
Stability Running Shoes
Runners with low to medium arches have a wider range of stability running sneakers to choose from (this running sneaker category is the most popular for the majority of the running population). Again, depending on the running shoe company, several shoes are offered in this category and range from lightweight trainers that are popular for racing and fast training sessions (i.e. track workouts, fartlek workouts, and speed workouts in general), slightly heavier running sneakers that are better suited for lighter runners running for distance and who need more stability and more of an outer sole to handle the extra miles, and heavier shoes suited for the heavier running who needs better protection all around the foot to offset the forces resulting from thousands of encounters with the ground.
Neutral Running Shoes
Runners with high arches typically need a running shoe with extra cushioning. Like stability running shoes, many shoe companies often offer at least 3 options for neutral running sneakers each season. For the runner looking for pure, unadulterated speed, a lightweight racer or trainer will provide that light as a feather feel on the day of the race or hard speed session. Again, just as with stability running shoes, neutral running shoes for a lightweight runner who needs extra cushioning, outsole, etc. exist that are heavier than the lightweight racer but lighter than the heaviest running sneaker which is better suited for the heavier runner.
Injury History and Other Considerations
Despite breaking down a few of the most popular running sneaker categories as mentioned above, it is important to note that each runner is unique and because of this uniqueness, the running shoe that may be used by your best friend may not be the best one for you due to differences in arch types. Additionally, just because a runner has a certain foot type, this does not mean that the runner will be in any of the categories listed above. Because of injuries to the feet of many runners, the running gait cycle of a runner may not be characteristic of his or her foot type resulting in the need for a different type of running shoe. Furthermore, with the proliferation of running insoles and running orthotics, many runners are able to test a variety of running shoes that may span different categories and have good experiences in different shoes.
All in all, when selecting a new pair of running shoes, it is important for the runner to assess the type of arch that he has and also to consider any injuries that may create a need for a certain type of shoe.
Also, with regards to sizing, while the majority of the population wear shoes labeled as a "D" width for men and "B" width for women which is regular width, a small percentage of runners do wear narrow width shoes known as "B" width for men and "2A" width for women or wide shoes known as "2E" shoes for men and "D" width for women ("4E" is double wide for men and "2E" is double wide for women). With that said, if a regular width shoe feels too restrictive in all areas aside from the length of the shoe, the "2E" width may be better for men ( and the "D" width may be better for women) for this wide foot. Likewise, if the regular width shoe feels too loose in all areas aside from the length of the shoe, the "B" width may be more suitable for men (and the "2A" for women) for this narrower foot.
Finally, with regards to the numerical size of the shoe, it is common to wear a running shoe that has roughly a width of a thumb of extra space between your biggest toe and the end of the shoe. As runners progress through their workout sessions, the feet tend to swell, so the extra space provides the room needed in the event that your feet swell. Now that we have a baseline on what to consider when selecting your next pair of sneakers, good luck with your next pair of sneakers. Happy running!
Roy Lazarus Trivillage.com Customer Service COO/Co-Owner of Trivillage.com
Trivillage.com is the multi-sports store with a local touch and a global reach! For all of your gear and apparel needs for triathlon, swimming, biking, running and anything outdoors, check out Trivillage.com!
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