Spring is here at last and with the warm weather often comes a renewed desire to throw on the running shoes and head out for a jog. Maybe you’ve dug out your running shoes from the bottom of the shoe pile and see for the first time this spring that the smelly, worn out, old things are in dire need of an update.
So, you proudly get yourself down to the store with your renewed sense of good health and ambition when all of a sudden you are faced with a wall of options. Not only have running shoes made leaps and bounds in technology when it comes to material and construction, there are a myriad of things to consider to make sure you are getting the right shoe for your needs—and getting you off on the right foot is of utmost importance.
At VanSports & Physio, we see a lot of damage to runners’ bodies from improper footwear. Not selecting the right shoe can have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to accomplish with running. Poorly chosen running shoes can cause serious damage to your feet, legs, shins, hips, and back. Yes, it’s that serious!
The good news is that there is the right shoe out there for you, you just have to find it. And you can, by asking yourself the following things.
The first question is the most obvious, how does it fit? Of course you want to make sure you have the right size, and there should measure about the space of a thumb width from the end of your big toe to the end of the shoe. Running shoes are often about a half a size higher than your street shoes. Other things to consider include whether or not you need arch support—you’ll have either flat, neutral or high arches and the support you will need from your shoe will vary depending on the shape of your foot. There are also wide feet and narrow feet, and shoes to accommodate every variation out there.
Next: what type of exercise will you be doing? Is it tennis? Or maybe futsal (here’s a good guide about the best futsal shoes)? Or just running? New fitness trends pop up all the time and some are more extreme than others. This area of consideration also takes into account whether you will be exercising indoors or outdoors, on the road, on a treadmill in the gym, or on a trail through the forest. Each kind of location presents its own unique needs, whether you require more traction versus a lighter weight shoe, for example.
One thing that you might not think of off the top of your head is: what is your stride like and how does your foot strike the ground? You might be considered gazelle like, or you might more closely resemble, well, something a little less graceful. No matter what, you should consider at what angle and with what force your paws hit the pavement. If you’re lost on the topic or are not sure where to start, a well informed salesperson will be able to help point you in the direction of shoes that suit your stride.
Perhaps you’ve now narrowed down your options to but a few. Congratulations! You’re almost there. Now it is mostly up to you to decide on what is most comfortable for you, and this is a personal preference and completely up to you. Do they feel cushioned, but not too soft? Supportive but not too stiff? Good. We’re almost done.
One final thing to consider is the quality of your shoe. There are a million and one choices for footwear out there and they vary greatly in quality. If longevity is important to you, consider if the shoes are of high quality materials that will last a while considering your dedication and commitment to your healthy lifestyle. It is still a good idea to invest in a high quality shoe that will be able to maintain it’s structure and comfort.
That might seem like a lot but believe it or not, finding the right running shoe is not only rewarding, it will benefit you greatly as you are achieving your fitness goals. Happy exercising!