In order to avoid injury, most novice runners need to take the time to learn how to pick out running shoes. This may not seem very important to beginners, but the right running shoe will make your experience more comfortable and injury-free. Every time your foot hits the ground the impact is two-and-a-half times your body weight. Compound this fact by hundreds of steps in the wrong shoe and you might as well open the door and invite injury in. Here are a few tips to finding good running shoes:
- Buy a shoe specifically for running. If you're serious about running and plan to run more than five miles a week, don't let a salesperson talk you into a cross-training shoe.
- Do you supinate or pronate? Supinating is when a runner tends to run on the outer part of his foot. Pronate is the opposite of supinate, which is a person who runs on the innner part of the foot or the ball of the foot.
- How do I know if I supinate or pronate? First, look at the bottom of your current running shoes to find out where they are worn. If they are worn on the inner part of the sole, then you pronate. If there is more wear on the outer part of the running shoes' soles, then you supinate. Sometimes, it is difficult to determine solely by wear signs on your running shoes. If this is the case, have an experienced runner watch you run several yards. He should be able to tell you which style runner you are by watching you. If you supinate, you run a little pigeon toed. When you pronate you run with your toes pointed outward. While picking out running shoes be sure you ask for a shoe with technology designed specifically to compensate for your particular running style.
- Do you prefer a wide toe box or a narrow one? This is a comfort question that only you can answer. Try both types of shoes on. Whichever is more comfortable is right for you.
- Do you run outdoors? If yes, do you run on the pavement or on a trail? If you run on trails, look for a shoe with more traction. If you run on pavement get a shoe with good shock absorption.
- What type of shock absorbing technology is best? This question is very subjective and is a source of several debates. In general you want to feel good support and cushioning, especially in the heel. The heel should give a little and feel almost bouncy when you lean back with the majority of your weight.
- Does it have support where you need it? For example, maybe you need more support around your ankles. If you have low arches, consider a shoe with stiffer arch support.
- Did you get the right size? Don't laugh, this may seem a little obvious but it's important. Always purchase a running shoe a half size to a size larger than your normal shoe size. Your foot needs room to breathe and expand as you are running.
- Is the shoe comfortable? After taking all of the above into consideration, ask yourself if the running shoe is comfortable. If it's not, move on and try a different pair until you find one that is.
After you find the best running shoes for you, consider purchasing a couple of pairs. Chances are you will not find them again when you want to purchase another pair. Buy a new pair of running shoes every six months or three hundred miles, whichever comes first. By this time the support and shock absorption technology will have worn out.