Finding the Right Running Shoes

author : chrisandniki
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Stop for a moment. Take off your shoes. Now, glance at your feet. You may not realize it, but those strange-looking things are truly miraculous. Just one foot contains:

 

  • 26 bones

  • 33 Joints

  • 112 Ligaments

  • A swirling network of tendons, nerves, and blood vessels

All these parts work together to help balance, support, and propel you forward as your run. There is no more valuable area of a runner’s body than his or her feet.

 

During a 10-mile run, your feet will strike the ground roughly 15,000 times, with a force three to four times your body weight. That’s a lot of pressure on your poor feet.

 

To avoid a myriad of injuries (joint pain to your knees, ankles, hips, shin splints, foot pain, bruises), it’s invaluable to find the right running shoes. But with over 100 different running shoe manufacturers out there – which one do you pick? Which ones are right (or wrong) for you?

 

The following are some tips on demystifying the strange multi-million dollar world of running shoes.

 

Find a Running Store

 

The best way to find a running shoe that works for you is to find a running shoe store in your area. You’ll want to make sure the store’s outfitted by running enthusiasts and not part-time kids working there as a summer gig.

 

When you go to the store:

 

  1. Visit the store after a daily run. Your feet swell after a running session. You’ll want to make sure your running shoes allow for this swelling.

  2. Wear the socks that you normally use to run. Thin socks with padding around the sole are best. 

  3. Try on both shoes.

  4. Run around the store. If you feel any rubbing, let the salesperson know. The shoes should feel snug, but not tight.

  5. Shoe material doesn’t stretch. Don’t expect a tight shoe to loosen up over time. It won’t.

  6. Eighty-percent of all running shoes fit ½ size smaller than what’s marked on the shoe’s tongue. Thus, if you normally where a size 7, you’ll probably need a size 7 ½. If you wear size 13, you’ll probably need a size 14 (there are no half sizes after size 13).

 

Understanding your Running Mechanics

 

Something a good running store salesperson may have you do is run for them. What they’re looking at is your running mechanics, specifically, how your feet land and leave the ground. Certain shoe models are better suited for certain running mechanics.

 

How your feet hit the ground

 

The first thing to figure out is how your feet leave the ground. Try the following: step in a puddle barefoot. Then, jog across a dry area road. Look at the heel area of your footprint. What does it look like?

 

A footprint with no heel means you’re a forefoot striker. You’ll want shoes with cushioning especially at the forefront of the shoe.

 

A footprint with part of the heel means you’re a midfoot striker. You’ll want shoes with cushioning at both the forefront and the heel of the shoe.

 

A footprint with a predominant heel means you’re a rearfoot striker. You’ll want shoes with cushioning especially at the heel of the shoe.

 

 

How your feet leave the ground

 

Look again at that footprint you just made (this time, specifically the top of the footprint). Which color pattern in the following best matches your footprint – do you leave the ground with the inside, middle, or outside of your foot?

 

Footprint

What it Means?

Example of Shoe

A foot that pushes off from the inside means you are an over-pronator.

You’ll want to look at Motion-Control style running shoes such as the Asics Gel Foundation Plus.

 

 

A foot that pushes off from the ball or middle of the foot means you are neutral.

You’ll want to look at Stability style running shoes such as the Nike Air Span Triax 2.

A foot that pushes off from the outside of the foot means you are an under-pronator (also known as supination). 

You’ll want to look at Cushioned style running shoes such as the Saucony Grid Trigon 1.

 

 

 

Replacing Shoes Avoid Injury

OK, so you know how your feet hit and leave the ground, and the type of running shoe that works best for your running mechanics. Armed with this information, you’re ready to go shopping. One last word to the wise: running shoes typically need to be replaced after 400 to 500 miles. For someone running 15 miles a week, that’s about every six months.

 

I know what you’re thinking: Do I really need to replace shoes that often? They look fine.

 

The answer is yes. Running in a worn pair of shoes will only invite injury. So get to know the people at your local running store. Hey, there are worse things to spend money on. Think of it as an investment in your health.

 

Here’s to happy running!

 

About the Author: Chris Tull is a writer based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Once upon a time, he was a ‘burgers-and-beer-only’ kind of guy. Chris has since lightened up on the diet and added yoga, weight lifting, and (of course) triathlon training to the mix. You can contact him at chrisandniki@yahoo.com or visit his online journal at http://ctull.blogspot.com/

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date: September 2, 2004

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chrisandniki

Chris Tull is a writer based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Once upon a time, he was a ‘burgers-and-beer-only’ kind of guy. Chris has since lightened up on the diet and added yoga, weight lifting, and (of course) triathlon training to the mix.

Author

avatarchrisandniki

Chris Tull is a writer based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Once upon a time, he was a ‘burgers-and-beer-only’ kind of guy. Chris has since lightened up on the diet and added yoga, weight lifting, and (of course) triathlon training to the mix.

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