If you are a keen runner or even just taking up the sport, then a fundamental part of the equipment you need will be your sports or running shoes. Trying to find the pair for you is pretty difficult considering the amount of choice that is currently available. Obviously, your budget does rather control your final purchase, but even if you are buying at the discount end of the market you must take certain factors into consideration.
Firstly, your sports shoe should be a snug but not tight fit, this can be adjusted with the laces. The same goes for the heel, your heel should be supported and fit snugly into the shoe. There will always be some slight movement, but it should never give you discomfort, if you feel any when trying the shoe on in the store it will only be worse on the road.
Your instep should also feel snug, if you feel too much pressure then you need a shoe with more space. If the eye holes for the laces are uncomfortable then perhaps you need to try a different lacing method.
There should be some space enough to allow for movement from side to side, and a guide for this is that you should be able to pinch a quarter of an inch of shoe material along the widest part of your foot. Shoes that are too narrow will constrict your feet and can lead to chaffing and blisters.
Always buy sports shoes that have a quarter inch gap between the end of your big toe and the end of the running shoe. The reason for this is that all feet swell whilst running and will pinch if there is not enough room at the toe end of the shoe. When trying the sports shoes on, a good test if you have enough room or not is to try and wriggle your toes when the laces are tied.
The sports shoe has to be flexible and you should always test its flex capacity. One way of doing this is by holding the heel of the shoe and pressing down the tip to the floor. The sports shoe should bend, and its crease line should be the same as if it was your actual foot. If the two creases do not match then this could lead to many problems such as plantar fasciitis, arch pain or even calf strains and Achilles-tendon problems.
Don’t just buy your next sports shoe on brand name or price, your new sports shoe should feel right. It should match the contours of your own feet and their movements, you cannot tell this by simply standing up in them.
Take your new shoes for a jog, do they give full support in all the required areas? Your new sports shoes should complement your natural stride and not alter it in any way. Of all your running equipment, pay attention to your shoes more than anything else. Serious injury can result of having the incorrect sports shoes and can actually have the effect of making you dislike your favourite pastime.