Finding the best fitting shoe when you have several choices available, is not always a walk in the park. To ensure you shop successfully for a running shoe, you need to make an informed choice. The shoe has to fit – no blisters, aching, or discomfort whatsoever.
The relationship between running shoes and running injuries is notably controversial, and from a scientific view, unclear.
Many people who use running shoes will often choose them based on two specific criteria. The first is whether the foot pronates or moves inward when you land on the ground. Foot professionals and athletic coaches have long believed that overpronation increases one’s likelihood of getting injuries.
More recently, factors such as impact force which occurs with each stride have also become a vital subject of discussion. This is especially true in relation to barefoot running and whether people should invest in running shoes at all.
That said, the right shoes should improve your performance and keep you injury-free. More so, the wrong shoes can lead to various foot health complications, beyond affecting your natural gait.
Most brand companies recommend that you replace your running shoes when they have surpassed the 400-mile mark. That said, shoes can break down faster if you tend to use them in wet weather regularly. Worn-out shoes are a leading cause of nagging running injuries, all though the signs of wear and tear are not often apparent.
Types of Running Shoes
Whether you want to run for miles on the sidewalks, or perhaps dodge roots on the trail, there are several types of running shoes to suit your needs. The common ones include:
- Road – road shoes are perfect for running on modern floors such as pavements. They often have soft midsoles, which cushion the impact and rubber soles that grip the floor. This category is by far the most popular type of running shoe.
- Trail – these types of shoes are perfect for going off-road, just as in the same way you would with a 4 x 4 vehicle. Made using burly lugs for added traction and comfort, these shoes are perfect for various types of terrains.
- Track – these shoe types are sleek and light, which makes them ideal for athletics such as track sports. You can even modify some of the high-end brands with spikes, which can help dig into the track for optimal traction.
- Cross country – these types of shoes are like track spikes for the trail. They are made using compact material, and light construction, to give you an edge on courses that have rough terrains. Unlike track spikes, these types will provide optimal traction, especially when moving on slippery grounds.
How to Find Running Shoes that Fit
There are many factors to consider when you want to get new running shoes. How far do you want to run, or how fast? Do you want trail running shoes, or do you experience overpronation? There are likely several running shoes that will suit your needs. To make things easy, you can consider the following:
- Try the shoes – perhaps the best way to get running shoes would be to try them on. However, if you can’t get your hands on the shoes yet, consider looking for shoes that have the same dimensions as the one you want to buy.
- Seek expert advice- there are various specialists, including orthopedists who can provide useful information you can use to buy shoes. Some foot experts can even take 3D scans of feet, to give more details of suitable shoes for your needs.
- Get measured – the size of your feet is likely to change over time, especially if you are still growing. Thus, get your feet measured every once in a while, to keep track of any changes in your foot size.
- Consider products from top brands – while the consumer market has several running shoe brands, you will benefit by investing in products from leading brands. The leading ones include Nike, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, and more.
- Check the dimensions of your old shoes – the sizes and design patterns can provide useful information when you want to buy new shoes. This is especially true if you know you have broad feet, or you grow fast.
- Invest in quality shoes – good running shoes are not cheap, but they provide the best value for money. Premium materials have several benefits, including longevity, comfort, aesthetics, and more.
How Do You Want the Shoes to Feel?
Two main key factors determine the quality of comfort from your shoe. These are the firmness of the foam and the density of the shoe material. The material in the midsole is usually a type of foam, normally EVA or polyurethane. The material can absorb the impact as your feet hit the ground.
Whether you prefer maximum or moderate cushioning, the density of the midsoles below the feet is an issue of personal preference. Some athletes are heavy and prefer comfortable shoes, to provide a comfortable ride. More so, others want shoes that don’t require excessive cushioning but prefer an improved response from the midsole section.
You also have to consider the size and fit of the shoes. You should not that the size of the feet is likely to change, especially through the course of the day. Thus, it would be best to try on new shoes, or perhaps measure your feet late in the evening. This way, you get accurate measurements for shoes that will fit, so you never get blisters or face discomfort.
The primary role of cushioning in a shoe is to improve comfort and make the shoe suitable for a specific activity. Thus, you might have to be selective when it comes to choosing proper cushioning for your needs. Here are some few key factors to consider when you want to choose the proper cushioning:
- Maximum cushion – these shoes have extra thick padding, especially around the midsole area, to provide optimal comfort. That said, they are not suitable for runners, because they tend to be heavy, whereas runners prefer compact shoes.
- Moderate cushion – designed offer the best of both worlds, shoes with the cushioning are suitable for those who want walking shoes. Many shoes fall under this category and can be used by different types of people as well.
- Minimal – these are shoes with small amounts of cushioning, are mostly used by athletes who want to improve balance. The minimalist shoes have compact soles and small padding, to make them ideal for heavy activity.
- Barefoot shoes – the term barefoot refers to the type of shoes that provide the closest feel to bare feet. Most of them don’t have a cushion in the heel pad and have a thin layer of 3-4mm. More so, these shoes also don’t offer arch support or any stability benefits.
Key Terms to Consider
You can improve your knowledge base by learning about some of these critical factors when buying the best running shoes:
This refers to the amount of material between the foot and the ground. The stack height can include barefoot, moderate cushioning, and maximum cushioning. A significant number of running shoes fall under the medium cushioning category.
Lightweight people or people who have to run long distances prefer shoes with a low stack height. Such shoes have designs that provide the best of both worlds, whereby they are both comfortable and compact at the same time. People who prefer using maximum cushioning are professionals such as nurses or physical enthusiasts who don’t have to run long distances.
Running shoes classify as either stable or neutral shoes. The neutral shoes make up for well over ¾ of running shoes. These types also provide a diverse selection of shoes and are suitable for runners. More so, stability running shoes consist of technology that helps to reduce the effects of overpronation. Overpronation is a physical health issue that occurs when the ankle rolls inward or sits in an unusual position.
It’s a term that refers to the difference between the material under the heel and the material under the forefoot section. Many running shoe types come with additional material under the heel to provide enhanced shock absorption. The main idea behind such a design being that the heel is the first section of the foot to make contact with the ground. The shoes that have a low heel to drop tend to have improved thickness across the entire foot.
Tracking proper shoes for your needs has various benefits. Not only do you get shoes for the best value for money, but you also get shoes that are comfortable and fashionable. In this case, getting the right running shoes for your needs is a process that involves several steps. You have to determine your needs, the size of your, and invest in quality shoes.
You are likely to get proper shoes when you invest in products from leading brands. More so, learning about basic shoe lingoes such as shoe horns, heel-toe drop, and more can be beneficial for your search.