How to choose the best running shoe? That fits your style
Whether you’re a short or long-distance runner, the most important piece of equipment you need is a decent pair of running shoes.
Finding the running shoe that best fits you is not a walk in the park. There are numerous options available on the market that can satisfy the most demanding customer.
However, before proceeding, it is worth understanding that there is no single running shoe that is perfect for everyone. Still, it is likely to find a shoe that will be perfect for you.
In order to pick the right shoe, you have to make sure that the shoe fits properly from heel to toe and that it is comfortable with your regular running stride.
Picking the right shoe for you is most important. Running in the wrong shoes can be a disaster. An unfitting selection can cause foot pain, back pain, Achilles tendinitis, runner’s knee or any other sort of problem.
Before you choose, you usually have only a few minutes to run through 3 to 4 models. That’s why it is crucial to know all the little details regarding your feet, running style and running surface.
Everybody, more or less, want the same thing from a running shoe: comfortable fit, light weight, cushioning and support.
However, these features are not sweat-free. This means that you have to run the shoe several hundreds of miles to have the final verdict. Of course, at that point, it will be a little too late.
Recommending the best running shoes is not straight forward. There are a lot of constraints that need to be addressed. The best shoe for you also has to suit your run. It has to suit your mileage, weight, terrain and your feet shape and morphology.
Every runner has to choose the features the best fit him/her. In case of a heavier runner, a cushioned and more supportive shoe is a must. A lighter runner will probably prefer a more minimal shoe. Likewise, for longer runs, you would prefer a more bouncy and cushioning pair for a comfortable ride. However, for racing, you would go for something lighter, faster and more minimal.
This article aims to help you pick your next great pair and minimize the risk of a wrong choice.
Cushioning – What it is and why it matters?
In every run, each time your foot touches the ground, your body receives a shock 4 times your body weight. This means that in case of a 75 kg runner, the body receives 75 x 4 = 300 kg shock. These constant shocks can generate joint problems that can eventually lead to stopping running because of the pain.
That is why it is important to use running shoes with sufficient cushioning. Cushioning absorbs impact. It is a key feature to protect your feet against common injuries. A great pair of running shoes will cushion your feet and legs from the impact of repeatedly hitting the ground.
But what makes the best-cushioned running shoes feel so good?
They stand between the lines of soft and supportive, comfortable and lightweight. Over the years, there have been several approaches to maximizing comfort without overlooking the performance factors that are crucial for athletes.
Running Gait – What it is and why it matters?
Your gait is the way of moving your feet. Running gait is the way your foot strikes the ground. Everyone has his/her own unique gait that defines their running style.
The posture, along with the foot’s interface with the ground, are two significant factors that make normal gait possible. If either is not optimal, it is likely, over the long term, to add stress and strain to tissues and eventually cause injuries.
Running gait is further analyzed into three types of pronation:
- Neutral pronation is when your foot comes in complete contact with the ground. Under this type, your foot usually is rolling inward about 15 percent to absorb shock.
- Underpronation is a rolling motion to the outside edge of the foot during a step. It appears when the outer part of your heel hits the ground first, and your foot rolls inward at less than 15 percent.
- Overpronation is noticed when your foot rolls inward more than 15 percent, which can cause stability issues with your foot and ankle. The ankle rolls too far downward and inward with each step. It continues to roll when the toes should be starting to push off.
Understanding your running gait will help you enhance your running performance.
How to Check Your Running Gait?
If you’re really serious about running, the best way to analyze your gait is to visit a specialty running store. There you can get a full gait analysis as you run on a treadmill and identify the type of running shoes and support that’s best for your running style.
Usually, the staff are runners themselves, so you’ll also get some additional hints that will help you improve your technique.
In addition to those key stats, we also look at the shoe’s stability features, flexibility, and energy return to help you find one you’ll love. To see the data, click to read the men’s review or women’s review on any of the shoes below.
Gait can also be a big factor, in particular, if your gait shows an excess of pronation or supination (inward and outward rolling of the foot as it strikes and pushes off from the ground), as you may need a shoe or insole that addresses this.
While all these variables may sound complicated, particularly if you’re new to the sport, keep the following five golden rules in mind.
Try them before you buy them
As they say size matters. This is an expression that fits 100% in picking the right shoe. Size can vary from brand to brand so you better try them on before you buy them. In case of an on-line bargain, before you order, take a visit to your local store to make sure the size that best fits you.
Even a quick walk around the store, can give you a good idea of comfort and help you highlight any tiny details that could make a difference. Or even better, take a few laps around the store, if allowed. This way, you’ll have a more accurate feel for the fit of the shoe.
In order to choose the correct size, it would be better if you could try them on after a run or even later in the afternoon. This will simulate the max size of your foot. By trying them over the course of the day, your feet become swollen from physical activity and you will avoid buying a shoe that is too small.
Terrain is a key factor that influences the kind of shoe that will be best for your foot. Define where you plan on running; on the road, trail, or a mixture of both.
For instance, if you plan on running on a track or court that is flat and offers grip, then lighter weight shoes and less traction would be the right choice. Yet, in case of trail running, good traction, support, and cushion for the uneven ground would be the best mixture.
Racing or Training
In most cases, serious runners use different running pairs for racing and for training. Usually, you tend to use a training shoe for longer milage and a race shoe that’s lighter but better used for shorter periods of time, depending on the race. No matter what is your choice, you have to wear your shoes before you hit race day, or put in the longer runs.
When the moment of truth comes, it all comes down to how you feel when you put them on. If the shoes feel so comfortable that you’re filling you are barefoot, to the point that you don’t really notice you’re wearing them, then it’s probably a great choice. Or if they almost melt into the background from the moment you slip them on.
If you feel tightening or uncomforting, this shoe is probably not the best fit. During your run, your feet will swell in size. In addition, any unpleasant features are likely to become worse, causing excessive discomfort. Don’t forget that tight-fitting shoes lead to blisters and black toenails.
Don’t forget to take your weight into account in determining the right pair of shoes. More weight is translated into more impact between your foot and the ground will be.
Under this realization, you may require to purchase shoes with additional support. Of course, other factors like neutral foot-type should be taken into account before deciding.
Significant help should be provided by the expert helping you decide on your shoes, especially if you already feel foot, leg, or back pain.
Avoid buying the looks
You have to realize that if you are a serious runner, looks matter but comfort matters even more. In some cases, fashion is the main driver for choosing the trainers. This is because some runners are too concerned with style and fashion. However, you should avoid this mistake since in most cases, a great looking shoe is not a great running shoe. Feel and fit should be your driver taking into account that you’ll run at least 400 miles with them.
Time to decide
Considering all these factors before choosing is important. Now that you know what you’re looking for in a running shoe, it’s time to decide.
However, although this article provides sufficient information of how to choose the best running shoes that fit your running style, it cannot provide the motivation to tap into running. Still, a great shoe is a step in the right direction.