Running shoes play a very heavy role in your comfort and keeping you injury free when you are running long distances on roads and trails, here Nandini Reddy talks about what you need to consider when you are picking a running shoe.
The most important gear for a runner are his shoes. The right kind of shoes can make running an absolute pleasure and prevent injury. The most important things to remember while buying a shoe are the fit, feel, running track and time of day. Does the list sound a bit perplexing? It might but they are the best criteria.
You need to ensure that your shoe fits from heel to toe. Consider all the aspects – the toe width, heel cushioning, arch support, snug instep and room if your feet swell during a run. If you feel any irritation while you are in the store than be assured that while running the irritation will be amplified. There should be no points of discomfort in the shoes. Even if the lacing area is feeling tight then check if you need to change the lacing style. You should be able to wiggle your toes inside the shoe. This extra room is important when your feet swell during the last leg of the run. The wiggle room also protects your toes from front foot injuries.
The first thing you need to check even before you put on the shoe is its flex point. A good shoe will bend and flex along the same line as the foot. An improper flex will give you injuries like arch pain or calf strain. So when you try on the shoe don’t just walk around, flex you foot so that you can feel the shoe arching. Most shoe stores will let you run around a bit while you try the shoes. If there is a store treadmill you can ask them to use that to test the shoes. The idea is to try and find one that matches your stride and running style.
The Running Track
Road running is the most common running today and runners need to be aware about that when they are buying their shoes. Road running shoes come in a variety of options, depending on the intensity of the run. If you are a casual, amateur runner who runs for 30 mins a session a couple of times a week then the shoes choice is a simple one. If you are a marathoner on roads, then you need a more resilient shoe that will last through training and the stress of a marathon. If you run on trails then ensure you get a pair of shoes with more cushioning to take care of bumps your feet will be subjected to along the trail. Most stores have specialty running staff who can help you find the right one based on your requirement.
Time of Day
The real size of your feet should be measured after a long day of work when your feet are fully stressed. Measure your shoe size in the evening at the store and then try the shoes on. These shoes might feel slightly roomy in the morning but as you run and your feet swell, they will offer a better fit. If you buy a shoe in the morning, you might end up with a smaller size and as you are likely to get blisters and shoe bites as you run.
The most unimportant factor is how the shoe looks. Don’t buy a shoe because it will look good in a photograph because you might end up never running in it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.