As a runner the most important piece of equipment you can have are your shoes. This is the reason that runners spend a great deal of time checking out shoes, until they find the best running shoes for their feet, not only for the fit, but also for the kind of running, and training they will be doing.
Whatever you do, you must not pick a shoe because it looks good in the shop, so what are you to do to make sure you pick the right shoe, because be reassured there could be several shoes that will be right for your feet and your running requirements.
How do you find the right shoe, and why is that so important?
The scope of this article is limited, so rather than try to make recommendations, which will probably be wrong, as I don’t know anything at all about your feet, or your requirements.
In other words, are you going to use them as track shoes or trail shoes. There is a huge difference between running on a flat track, and on a boulder strewn, wet, muddy trail!!
Add to this the fact that your feet will hit the ground hard over 1600 times every mile that you run. If your footwear is the wrong size or unsuited to your biomechanical needs, you are going to find it uncomfortable, probably annoying, and even worse it could lead to injury.
What is the right shoe for my feet?
A combination of a good fit and excellent biomechanics.
The fit is obvious, but what do I mean by biomechanics?
Put simply it is all about a word called pronation.
Pronation is the natural movement of your feet when they touch the ground. All feet roll inwards as the ball of the foot touches the ground. You can either check this out yourself by looking at the wear patterns on your old running shoes.
If you tend to wear out your shoes first on the outside, you probably tend to underpronate; if you wear out your shoes first significantly more to the inside, look for a shoe for over-pronators.
It isn’t complicated but you would do well to find someone with experience as a runner to watch you running from behind before you make a new purchase.
There are four categories based on the degree of pronation.
1. Neutral Pronation, require shoes with a good balance of stability and flexibility.
2. Under Pronation has not enough foot motion, and they require good cushioning and flexibility in their running shoes
3. Moderate Over Pronation require Stability Trainers
4. Severe Over Pronation requires Motion-control trainers.
You should by now have worked out your pronation factor, so your shoe selection must be governed by this.
The other consideration is shoe fit, and the easiest judgement, is does it feel good, and is there room between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. The shoe needs to feel snug at the heel, and comfortable.
At the end of the day, if you have used and liked a particular make of running shoe, then stick with that brand, but make sure you are buying the correct shoe model bearing in mind your pronation factor.
Ian Smith is a former international sportsman who contributes articles to websites featuring sporting footwear. He recommends Adidas, and suggests to check out http://www.adidas-shoes-guide.info