Please login or Register to submit your answer
When you are looking at running shoes, you should also aim to find shoes that have a relatively supportive sole. If the sole provides too much flexibility, then a common symptom is Achilles tendonitis because the calf muscles have to work harder, rather than relying on the support offered from the sole of the shoes. This is not to say that the shoes should be inflexible. Ideally, the shoes should have some level of flexibility, preferably at the widest point of the shoes where your toes meet your foot.
When you are looking at types of running shoes, you should also consider the type of foot strike you have when you make contact with the ground. You will either be a heel striker, forefoot striker or a midfoot striker. The forefoot strikers are typically the likes of sprinters to middle distance runners and are generally not in the class of running marathons due to their different techniques. Marathoners are generally either midfoot strikers or heel strikers. If you are a heel striker you will generally find that the heel of your training shoes wears out relatively quickly. If this is the case you should ensure that your running shoes have adequate support and cushioning for the additional forces that are placed on your heel.
You should preferably have half an inch between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. You should definitely be able to wiggle your toes.
You have probably also heard that it takes some time to break shoes in. Once you have purchased a pair of running shoes, you will still need to break them in, no matter how comfortable they appear. The best way to do this is to use your new shoes on your shorter training runs. Typically, when breaking in new shoes, you should only train 3km to 6km in each training session in order to avoid blisters. It is for this reason that if you are considering purchasing a new pair of running shoes for your race, then you should do so 3 to 4 weeks before race day.
In order to avoid injury, you should also make sure that you replace your running shoes relatively often. In doing so, you should not only make your judgement on the amount of tread left on the sole of the shoe, but on the number of kilometres that the running shoes have completed. The reason for this is that although the sole may appear to be in relatively good condition, the internal core strength of the running shoes may have reached the end of their shelf-life. A better way is to actively track how many kilometres each pair of running shoes has completed. Depending on your running style and amount of force that you transmit to the ground, you should aim to replace your running shoes every 700km to 800km.
There are basically five types of shoes:
1. Lightweight Shoes
If you do a lot of speed work or race, then you will need lightweight trainers, also known as racing flats. Lightweight shoes are built with less foam and cushioning features under the foot, allowing for more natural and dynamic motion for the feet.
But there is a downside to these lightweight shoes. In general, these do not offer the same degrees of cushioning and shock absorption as regular road shoes classified in the neutral or stability categories. That is why they should not be used for general training. You do not need them that early in your training program.
2. Trail Shoes
Trail runners have to maneuver across mud, dirt, rocks and other off-road obstacles; therefore, they require the best in support, stability, and protection. Trail shoes, as the name implies, are built for trail running. These shoes are designed for running surfaces that are undulating and have a wide range of terrain, from mud to grass, road, and hard-packed paths.
Think of trail shoes as a mix of running sneakers and hiking shoes. They offer enough protection around the ankle and the tongue to protect your feet against all the roots and rocks found on rugged and rocky terrains.
Not only that, but these also provide superior grip for better traction and control on softer, often uneven, and slippery surfaces typically achieved through semi-hard soles and rubber studs.
3. Stability Shoes
Stability shoes are usually recommended for runners with a normal arch. These runners tend to require shoes with a good mix of midsole cushioning and good support. There is nothing wrong with pronation. In fact, it is part and parcel of human movement. Pronation, simply put, refers to the inward rolling of the foot upon impact. But too much pronation might be problematic.
Stability shoes can come in handy as they can help prevent, or at least reduce, excessive pronation, by offering more arch and ankle support throughout the gait cycle.
4. Motion Control Shoes
As previously stated, pronation is part and parcel of the body’s natural movement. But not all runners pronate equally. Some of them do it to excess. That is why they may need a pair of shoes to help them limit or even prevent this. Motion control shoes are usually recommended for runners with low arches and moderate to serious over-pronation, which is the excessive inward rolling of the foot following a foot strike.
Motion control shoes are usually more rigid than the average shoes and are built with a wide sole to limit excessive motion throughout the gait cycle. These are also ideal for heavy individuals looking for shoes that provide high stability and durability.
5. Cushioned Shoes
In general, cushioned shoes are made with extra cushioning for a plush feel, but without a lot of corrective or supportive elements. Most cushioned shoes are built with shock dispersion features in the outsole and/or midsole portion of the footwear, typically in the heel or forefoot regions.
Cushioned shoes are typically recommended for runners with high arches with little to no pronation as they offer both shock absorption and protection, with little to no extra support throughout the gait cycle.
Six factors that influence the life span of your running shoes:
Weight of the Runner: The heavier the runner, the more wear and tear of the shoes. The impact of each foot strike is equal to twice your body weight.
Age of the Shoes: Over a period of time, the cushioning and stability features will become weaker while running.
Running Technique: If your running form is awkward and un-dynamic by pounding the ground with entire body weight, this will put additional strain on the material of the shoes.
Running Surface: The running surface influences the wear and tear of the running shoes. If the shoes are mostly used on an asphalt surface, the tread and cushioning system will be worn down quicker than when used on a grassy surface or forest trail. On a trail surface, the cushioning effect of the ground will soften the impact and relieve some of the stress on the shoes.
Shoe Size: Choosing the right shoe size is important for maintaining the complete functionality of the shoes. Your foot expands as it makes contact with the ground due to the pressure of your body weight. There should be half a thumb’s width between the tip of the big toe and the seam of the shoe. Your foot needs the space to roll without hitting the tip of the shoe.
Since your feet expand over the course of the day, it is a good idea to purchase the shoes in the afternoon or the evening. Proper lacing of the shoes stops the foot from sliding and holds the heel in the right position. Proper lacing will also ensure your foot from chafing on the seams and prevent blisters on your feet.
Running Shoe Type: The type of running shoes have the biggest influence on the shoe’s life-span. A pair of light neutral shoes that do not offer much support will not last as long as a stable trail shoes that guide your foot through the gait cycle. So, it is important to choose running shoes that best fit your running technique.