Running is an intense and high-impact exercise. While running, your entire body experiences the shock resulting from your feet hitting the ground. Your feet need to have a proper foundation during this activity, the lack of which puts significant stress on your joints. The right running shoes not only prevent you from injuries but also impact your performance. But can you buy any running shoes based on their look or if they just fit right? Well, no, because every runner’s style is different. You may also have a different foot type compared to someone else. Other factors include how often you run, how intense your sessions are, what is the running surface, etc. So, read on to understand how to pick the right running shoes.
Different Foot Types
Everyone’s feet hit the ground in some unique way. Pronation determines how your feet land and roll upon hitting the ground. This rotational movement in the ankle joint forms a certain angle between your ankle and heel. You must know your running style and pronation to become a pro runner and avoid injuries. This will help you pick shoes that provide adequate support, reduce excess movement, and evenly distribute your body weight. Human feet can be broadly categorised into three different types based on their pronation:
- Neutral: In this stride, the heel hits the ground first, after which the forefoot and toes do. Such a movement distributes weight evenly and absorbs shock better. Runners with such pronation should have neutral shoes with better medial support and heel cushioning.
- Overpronated: Such feet roll inward as the inner heel hits the ground first and then the big toe. This movement makes body stabilisation a bit challenging. Thus, runners with this stride should buy running shoes that provide motion control or stability.
- Supinated (or Under-pronated): In contrast to overpronated, in this stride, the outer heel hits the ground at first, after which the little toe and foot roll outward. This movement puts strain on your ankle and the lower leg. Such runners are also at an increased risk of sustaining injuries. These individuals should buy running shoes that have ample cushioning and allow flexible heel-to-toe motion.
Other Factors to Consider When Buying Running Shoes
While your foot type will help you determine if you need to buy neutral running shoes, stability running shoes, or motion-control shoes, there are some other factors to consider.
1. Frequency of Sessions
Are you an intensive regular runner, or do you like to run sometimes just to challenge yourself? If you run more than thrice a week, your running shoes should have adequate cushioning for maximum comfort.
2. Intensity of Sessions
Do you run long distances every week, say at a speed of less than 12 km/h? Or do you run fast, say at a speed of more than 14 km/hr? If you belong to the first category, choose lightweight shoes that provide shock absorption and comfort. Your shoes should provide stability for longer running sessions. On the other hand, the second category runners should buy ultra-light, dynamic shoes that help you beat your personal best.
3. Running Surface
This factor is a significant determinant in your choice of running shoes, especially if you want to excel at your game. Running shoes are designed differently for different surfaces, such as:
Plain surface or road
Shoes for these surfaces are extremely light in weight, flexible, have ample cushioning, and provide stability.
Trails or rough surfaces
Running shoes for such surfaces are designed considering that runners have to cross uneven surfaces such as hills, muddy terrain, etc. The shoes have a rugged sole to protect your feet from stones and rocks.
Treadmill or indoor surfaces
Running shoes for these surfaces are light in weight, flexible, and have soft soles to allow ventilation.
Tips to Buy Running Shoes
Due to time constraints, many people buy their shoes online. But it is always better to buy your shoes in a store where you can try them. This helps you determine the fit of the footwear. And nothing beats the comfort of having shoes that perfectly fit. Here are some other tips to consider when buying running shoes:
- Your foot size may change a little over time. So, before buying a new pair, always measure both your feet.
- Try shoes towards the end of the day since your feet are the largest during that time. This is because they may swell by the end of the day, and you can avoid buying shoes that are too small.
- The shoes you buy should not rub against your toe and leave some wiggle room.
- While you may not notice, one of your feet might be slightly larger than the other. So, always try on both shoes before purchasing them.
- Bring your insoles and socks along to determine the feel and fit of your running shoes, just like you would during the session.
Even though running shoes may seem just like any other trainers, they are designed considering runners’ needs. And the specifics of it go to waste if you don’t understand your foot type before you buy them. Knowing your gait and pronation type helps you assess what your feet and legs go through when you run. Accordingly, you can buy a pair that suits your stride, protects you from injuries, and helps you perform better. So, next time you head out for a purchase, make sure you choose the right pair.