Whether you’re an experienced runner seeking to impress at yet another national marathon, a recreational runner or actual joggler, the happiness of the body’s feet have a great impact on success as an anaerobic athlete. For feet to reach optimum performance levels out on the open trail, nothing is more important than choosing the right running shoe.
However, with running shoes coming in so many different sizes, styles and even colors, it can be difficult to find the perfect shoe for your foot. Before investing in your next pair of running shoes, be certain to educate yourself as to the ins and outs of decent running footwear. That way, no mistakes are made and your feet can properly handle the pounding of an ever-increasing run cadence.
Pay Attention to Foot Type
As is almost always the case with most big purchases — be it a new home or vehicle — the buyer will spend an increased amount of time shopping around to ensure that expectations are met. Likewise, running shoe satisfaction comes through understanding your specific foot type and making a smart buying decision. Generally speaking, runners’ feet fall into one of three distinct foot categories:
• Flat Feet
– Produce fallen arches due to their innate flexibility
– Overpronate, thus producing an inward rolling motion while active
• Neutral Arches
– Biomechanically sound
– Ideal for runners and athletes
• High Arches
– Defined, rigid arches which often lead to supination
– While in use, feet are prone to placing excess weight on outside edges
As a result of the varied foot types which runners most frequently have, shoe companies have produced a wide variety of models to help runners of all strides perfect their physically strenuous craft. During the choosing process, be sure to work with a professional in order to determine each foot’s arch pattern. In fact, if considering the purchase of a shoe online, take a few minutes to swing by your local running shop to receive the help of an in-house shoe expert. He or she will be more than willing to help you identify an adequate shoe type through a bit of on-site Gait analysis.
With each arch type, come different footwear needs. For runners with flat feet, a higher stability shoe will be required to help with overproning tendencies. For those blessed enough to have neutral arches, just about any shoe model will work. Simply put, comfort is king. That being said, most neutral runners opt for a moderate stability shoe. Lastly, runners with high arches do best with midsole padding and sole flexibility.
Once you’ve identified the appropriate shoe category, don’t settle on the first shoe that feels moderately pleasant. Try on several pairs. Additionally, keep in mind that you’ll probably need a larger shoe than you’re accustomed to wearing to school or work.
Says Competitor.com of the sizing process, “Most runners need to go up a half size from their street shoes, allowing for one-fourth to a half inch of wiggle room in the toe box. While you want to be able to move your toes around, be sure your heel is snug and secure, avoiding any unnecessary slippage.”
Shop accordingly. Run happily.
Plenty of Options
The athletic shoe industry is a booming one, to say the least; however, the success that the field of footwear production has seen didn’t simply come about over night. The typical running shoe has come a long way in the past century or so, providing you with ample options when looking to replace an old, worn-out pair. The following infographic, produced by Mettis, provides further information as to how running shoes have evolved over the years:
Though the shoe selection process may appear somewhat complex, the end result — a more comfortable, enjoyable running experience — will most assuredly be well worth your trouble.
Lucas Miller is a runner and juggler from Provo, Utah. He highly suggest that you attempt both activities at the same time for some great fun. When not writing or running, he’s working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the “World’s Greatest Pompadour.” Find him on Google+.
* Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons