In terms of enjoyment, and health benefits, running is, by far, one of the best pastimes you could ever wish to participate in. Running burns calories, it helps build endurance, it tones muscle, it improves cardiovascular health, and it’s a great way of getting outdoors and getting some fresh air. As those who have been running for a long time will tell you however, running in the wrong footwear, is one of the worst feelings you will ever encounter. Believe it or not, regarding running, your footwear can be the difference between success and failure. Whether walking, sprinting, jogging, or running in any other way, having comfortable, supportive, proper-fitting footwear, makes one heck of a difference, which is why it’s so important to find the best running shoes for your foot type. But how exactly can one go about finding their perfect running shoes? Well, for starters, you can check out this article, as we’re about to list a series of tips designed exclusively to help runners of all abilities, find the perfect running shoes for them. Take a look and see what you think.
Don’t base your purchase purely on looks alone
We understand all too well, the appeal of attractive-looking running shoes. Having nice-looking running shoes is very important, as you will enjoy wearing them, and your motivation may increase just that much more. However, as important as design and style is, you should never base your search for the perfect running shoes on looks alone. A lot of would-be runners make this mistake, and weeks later, when their feet are aching and covered in blisters, they wish they’d taken comfort and support into account as well. You may very well see a beautiful-looking pair of running shoes, but the fact remains that if they don’t support your feet and/or feel comfortable in the process, not only will you not benefit, but you will increase the likelihood of you sustaining an injury while out running in the process. By all means, look for running shoes that you find attractive, but be sure to take other things into consideration as well.
Focus on one element of your chosen exercise
A lot of people that are looking to purchase new running shoes, will look for shoes that function as an all-in-one shoe. By this, we mean that they look for running shoes that they can also wear while hiking over rugged terrain, or while walking on flat surfaces. You wouldn’t wear hiking boots while running, so why should you look for running shoes that you can use for hiking? Shoes designed for walking for example, are no good for runners because they are deliberately designed to be much stiffer and harder wearing. Running shoes need to be a great deal more flexible, due to the basic foot mechanics involved in running. Put simply, your legs and feet move differently when running to how they move when walking, so stiff walking shoes just won’t cut it. If you enjoy walking and hiking, you can of course still take part, just be sure to purchase walking/hiking shoes separately.
Have your footprint taken
Ideally when purchasing running shoes, you should really make your way into your nearest running store. The reason for this is that they will have the necessary machinery and equipment to measure the exact shape of your foot. We all have different shaped feet, just as we all have different sized feet to one another, but finding your exact shape and size can help you no end in your quest to find the perfect running shoe. Once the experts in the store have gathered the necessary info, they can then look at which types of running shoes are best-suited for people with your unique footprint.
Know which surfaces you will be running on
The great thing about running is the fact that it is such a versatile and unique pastime. For example, you can run indoors, and you can run outdoors. You can run in predominantly urban environments, or you can run in more rural environments, perhaps in the form of trail running. When it comes to finding your perfect running shoes however, just be sure to factor in which surfaces you will primarily be running on before making your choice. For example, if you will be running through towns, cities, and villages, the surfaces will be primarily flat, so you will require road running shoes. As the surface will likely be hard concrete, these shoes are designed to provide the wearer with more cushioning to provide better shock absorption. This in turn will reduce pain and discomfort in the ankle, and will make typical ankle injuries like Achilles Tendon injuries, far less likely. If you prefer to run off-road, you will likely be running on grass, mud, and bumpy surfaces. Trail running shoes are ideal here, as they help support the ankle and allow you to distribute your weight evenly on the softer, more uneven surfaces you will be running on. They also offer better grip. But what about if your route takes you through urban and rural settings? Well, in that case, you should look into hybrid running shoes, which offer you the best of both worlds.
Always try before you buy
With internet shopping offering us a much easier alternative to shopping than braving busy shops, it’s easy to see why online stores are thriving. However, the main downside associated with shopping online, is that you can’t try before you buy. This is why you should ideally get off your butt and make your way to your nearest running store, so that you can try the running shoes on. As mentioned, don’t just go for the nicest-looking shoes you can find, make an effort to try them on. When you try on the running shoes, don’t just slip them on quickly to see if they fit, and slip them off again. Put them on your foot, lace them up properly, walk around the store, and keep them on for a while to see how they feel. If they initially feel uncomfortable, leave them 5 minutes, walk around the store, and see if they still feel uncomfortable. If however, they feel comfortable and supportive, you could be in luck as you may very well have found your ideal running shoes.
Don’t forget your toes
A lot of runners when buying running shoes, tend to go for shoes that have virtually no room for their toes. This is a mistake however, as experts recommend that you should leave around 1.5 cm between the end of the running shoe, and your big toe. Now, some of you may think that that’s ridiculous because surely the shoes would be too big? Well, no, not really. You see, when we run and engage in physical exertion, our feet naturally swell up and expand. If your big toe was already crammed up against the end of the shoe, once it started to swell after you had a few KM under your belt, it would start to feel decidedly painful. By leaving a small gap however, you leave yourself room for expansion, so that you don’t end up with blisters or bruised toenails. You should therefore, go for around half a size up from your normal shoe size, though again, trying the shoes on beforehand will help you make an informed decision on which size to go for.
Don’t scrimp on the cost
You get what you pay for in this world, which means that if you purchase cheap and nasty running shoes, you shouldn’t be surprised if they end up hurting you, and falling to pieces after a few short weeks. When buying running shoes, it really is worth investing in good quality shoes, which means spending more than you would normally. You certainly don’t need to break the bank and go for the most expensive running shoes you can find, but at the same time, don’t go for the cheapest option either. It really is worthwhile spending a healthy amount of money on good-quality running shoes that will not only offer you comfort and support, but also longevity as well. You may think you’re saving money by going for cheap running shoes, but the reality is that they won’t last very long anyways, so you’ll have to replace them sooner than you would have hoped anyways, so ironically, you may end up spending more.
Assess your gait
Your gait is basically the movement involved with each foot strike that you make. We all have different shaped and sized feet, and therefore, we all run differently. For example, some people run flat-footed, while others may run on their toes, or on the arches of their feet. How you run and displace your weight will determine which running shoes are best for you. Experts at the running store, or various fitness centres, will ask to see you run, either on a treadmill, or outdoors, so that they can assess your gait and see which running shoes would be best-suited for you.
Know your distances
Finally, when choosing your ideal running shoes, the last thing you should consider is how far you actually plan on running. We’re not being pedantic here so we don’t want an exact breakdown, accurate to within .9 of a KM, but we do want rough estimates. If for example, you are training for an endurance event or a marathon, you’ll be covering long-distances. If however, your runs are shorter, around 5KM perhaps, shorter distances will be more likely. The general rule of thumb is that short distances require more flexibility, so flexible shoes are required, and longer distances need more cushion in the soles.