Running shoes are continually evolving and there are plenty of folks willing to share their expertise! There is no "perfect" or "best" shoe on the market. Everyone's feet are different in shape and function differently. All I can hope to offer you are shoe basics to help you step in the right direction. Remember, my favorite shoe may not work at all for you, so it's important to do the shopping research before you make a purchase blunder. |
First, you need to know your foot biomechanics. That's how your feet work. Knowing the biomechanics of your feet will help you better understand what type of running shoe is right for you. Running shoe styles are more than just fancy esthetics, each model of shoe within each brand is built for specific foot types. A visit to your local podiatrist is a great start for a complete foot evaluation. If time doesn't permit a full biomechanical exam, call your local running store and make sure their best "shoe guy" is working when you are planning to go shopping. There is always one salesman who has been fitting shoes for years and can help you. It's a bonus if you find a store who has a pedorthist on staff.
More information is helpful when finding the right shoe for you. Tell the podiatrist or salesman of your running plans. Are you looking to complete a marathon or maintain a weekly running base? Offer as much information as you can about your running. This will truly help you obtain the right pair of shoes to meet your goal!
When you have your feet evaluated, your goal is to leave with the following knowledge:
1. Is the arch for each foot flat, normal or high? 2. Are there additional biomechanical concerns based on my foot type? If so, what are they and the effect toward running? 3. Is there a need to wear orthotics with my shoes? 4. What type of shoe will best suit your foot type - neutral, stability, motion control? 5. What is the correct size of my feet (this includes length and width)?
Write down all of the details of your foot type. There is a lot to remember and it is helpful having this information handy with you whenever you shop for running shoes.
So what are the types of running shoes? Below is a listing of shoe types and basic foot types:
1. Neutral: Underpronator /biomechanically efficient
2. Stability: Mild to moderate pronation
3. Motion Control: Moderate to severe overpronator/heavier weight runners
4. Light Weight Racer:Biomechanically efficient runner or race day shoe
Keep in mind, if you wear orthotics as prescribed by your Podiatrist, the above shoe selection may vary based on the amount of biomechanical correction the orthotic provides. Make sure you know the correct category of shoes that will work with your orthotic.
With an understanding of your foot biomechanics, it's time to shop! I recommend you purchase your shoes at a local running store where you are professionally fitted for shoes. Shop later in the day when typically your foot is most swollen. Picking a shoe off the wall in a large sporting good store is not recommended unless you understand running shoes and know your foot type. If you consider the amount of pressure created with each foot strike, how could you not have your feet fitted by a specialist who knows the running shoes available on the market? Remember, you only have two feet - for your life.
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