There’s no doubt about it: wearing the right pair of running shoes will make your running go smoother and be more enjoyable. Unfortunately, wearing the wrong pair of shoes can hurt your running and make it downright nasty. Especially if you get injured.
Whenever runners get injured, the first thing they typically do is blame their shoes. Sometimes that is the blame even if they were wearing a highly rated shoe. But it might not be highly rated for them.
Certainly there are plenty of other reasons runners get hurt – for example, overtraining is a prime cause – but when the injury is shoe-related usually it’s running in a worn-out shoe or simply the wrong shoe.
With more than 150 different running shoe models available and to choose from, you must wonder if you’re wearing the right shoe for you?
Consider this. If you have suffered from any of the following conditions, you might well be wearing the wrong shoe:
- Bruised toe nails
- Heel slippage
- Knee pain
- Shin pain
- Ankle pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Hip pain
Your shoes control your feet while running. The foot has a natural pattern that it needs to maintain during footstrike and the toe-off or propulsive stage. The wrong shoe for you can change this pattern and alter the stress from the feet all the way up to the hips and lower back.
There are two main issues: fit and function. Every runner will have a brand of running shoes that fit better than another because the shape of the runner’s foot is closer to the shape of the shoe. Function is different. The geometry of the shoe will determine the stress on the foot.
Runner are used to putting up with some discomfort when working out. However, no runner should put up with a poorly fitting shoe. And once they find the right running shoe (or brand for them), they shouldn’t accept anything less than proper fit.
It’s important to determine your foot type (high arch, low arch, normal arch), body type (heavy, light or normal weight for your height) and biomechanical tendencies (overpronation, underpronation or normal pronation).
By knowing this, you can be your own expert on what you need in a running shoe. How to determine this information on your own – particularly foot type and whether you overpronate or not – isn’t easy. For best results consult a podatrist, orthopedist, physical therapist. If none are available, discuss your concerns with a knowledgable running store manager or owner.
Once you know your needs, take the time to try on all the different brands that offer a shoe which addresses your needs. You’ll be surprised how much fit varies from brand to brand. But once you find the brand which fits you and the model which works best for you, you’ll be a healthier and happier runner.