Many people choose their running shoes on the brand or what their friends are wearing but this is not always the best way to choose. Some people buy their running shoes on price due to a limited budget and, although understandable, this also is not the correct way of selecting something that could last you years.
Choosing the wrong pair of training or running shoes could damage your feet and ankles badly and lead to injury and pain. Most running shoes feel comfortable while you are trying them on in the store, but after a few miles you will know if you have chosen well. The shoe has to fit your foot and also suitable to your running style, the brand means nothing.
Choosing Your Shoes
To select the best running shoes there are three elements that you should consider:
- Will they suit your running style and types of running you do?
- Pick the category that suits you best
- Try on and find the best fit
Most pairs of running shoes should be good for 500 miles or so, the way to check if you need a new pair is if the outsoles and midsoles are worn.
Categories of Running Shoes
There are three main types of running shoes: road-running, trail-running, and cross-training.
- Road-running – designed for roads and hard surfaces, they are normally light and very flexible with good cushion-ability but stable for repetitive strides.
- Trail-running – designed for off road terrain, can cope with rocks, mud, and assorted surfaces. They have an aggressive tread and tougher than road shoes, they have great underfoot protection.
- Cross-training – good for the gym and workout sessions. They are light and have good balance and tend to have thinner soles.
Your Running Style
Depending on your running style, your shoes must accommodate your natural stride and foot placement. There are three types of wear patterns that occur with different styles of running. Pronation, over-pronation, and under-pronation.
- Pronation – the wear is usually where the ball of the foot is placed and a small part on the outside of the heel. This occurs naturally when the foot rolls inward after the heel has hit the surface. Pronation is the most common style of wear for good runners as relieves pressure on the joints especially the knees.
- Over-pronation – the wear in this case is centralized on the instep and the inside of the heel. This is a regular trait that many runners have, it risks damage to the knees. If your style is over-pronation, you probably need motion control shoes.
- Under-pronation – here the wear is on the outer edge of the little toe and the outside of the heels. It occurs when your foot rolls outwards on landing, if this is your style, then you need heavily cushioned shoes.
In part two of how to select the best type of running shoes we look at the types of shoes that are available on the market and their features. And how to try on and fit your new pair of running shoes.