Choosing the right running shoe

Time for New Shoes? Choosing the Right Running Shoe

Choosing the right running shoe can be intimidating process, especially for beginners. Your initial tendency is to pick the pair with the most attractive colors. But you soon learn there’s much more to running shoes than fashion. There are running shoes for runners with different arches and different gaits. There are also running shoes for different types of running. Combined with complex running shoe lingo, finding the best-fitting running shoes may seem impossible. Fortunately, choosing the right running shoe is not as complicated as it may seem. With a little bit of information, choosing a running shoe that’s perfect for you can be a piece of cake.

The Basics of Pronation

In your search for the best-fitting running shoes, you have likely heard the term pronation. Pronation basically describes how our feet roll from our heel to the ball of our foot when one leg strikes the ground. A normal foot strike hits the outside of the heel and transfers weight evenly to the ball of the foot. Of course, not everyone has a normal foot strike. Some runner’s roll too much to the inside of the foot (over-pronation) or to the outside (supination). When it comes to choosing a running shoe, this is important information.

Next Step, Check Out Your Arches

Believe it or not, you can learn a great deal about your running shoe needs by looking at the arches of your feet. Runners with flat feet or low arches tend to over-pronate. Runners with high arches often supinate. And runners with normal arches are considered neutral runners. Some running stores even have standing platforms that can tell you the type of arches you have. Ideally, your gait and pronation can be checked by a salesperson while on a treadmill. But even if this isn’t available, your arches can provide some clues when choosing a running shoe.

Stability and Cushioning Considerations

Now that you know your pronation type, you can narrow down your choices. Your best-fitting running shoe will be one that best accommodates your running style. For runners with normal pronation, a neutral running shoe is preferred. These tend to be the running shoes that are most curved in shape. For over-pronators, a stability shoe is ideal since this offers greater support along the inner part of the shoe. This helps prevent the tendency to roll the foot too far inward. Lastly, for supinators, a neutral shoe is also recommended. However, supinators may want a neutral shoe with plenty of cushioning. This provides some extra shock absorption that may offer a more comfortable feel.

A Word About Heel-Toe Drop

When choosing a running shoe, some runners consider other aspects besides stability and cushioning. If you’re a beginner runner, knowing about heel-toe drop is not likely important. In essence, heel-toe drop simply refers to the different amounts of cushioning between the heel and the forefoot. A difference of cushioning more than 7mm is usually described as a high heel-toe drop. This is better for runners who land mostly on their heels. Heel-toe drops of 6mm or less are considered low. These are often preferred by runners who tend to land on their mid to forefoot when running. This is a personal preference based on which style offers the best fitting shoe with the most comfort. But if you’re unsure, a higher heel-toe drop is the safer bet.

At this point, you know the basics of choosing a running shoe. But in order to find the best-fitting running shoes, the most important thing is comfort. In terms of length, your running shoe should allow a half-inch of space between your toe and the shoe. This will allow your foot to expand when running without losing a toenail! Likewise, your heel should be snug and the width should be moderately tight. And always measure both feet. One foot is often slightly larger than the other, and this one will determine your shoe size. By following these guidelines, choosing a running shoe that you love won’t be so challenging.  And you’ll be ready to start logging some miles in no time.

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