Choosing a Proper Running Shoe
Your choice of running shoes can make the difference between enjoying running or hating it, running in comfort or in pain, and staying injury-free or incurring a multitude of injuries. Since everyone’s feet are uniquely different, there is no “one size fits all” running shoe. Prior to shopping for your running shoes, you will need to determine your foot type. In order to do this, visit a reputable running shoe store or a biomechanics expert.
If you are one of the few runners lucky enough to have a normal foot, your only two concerns are stability and moderate control features. However, if you have any abnormalities, you will need to be a bit more discerning in your choice of running shoe. If you have flat feet, it is likely that you have a tendency towards over pronation. Your best running shoe choices are motion control shoes, or high stability shoes with firm midsoles and control features that reduce the degree of pronation. You will need to steer clear of highly cushioned or highly curved shoes, which lack stability features.
A high arched foot is usually supinated or under pronated. Because of its lack of pronation, it will not be an effective shock absorber. Look for cushioned shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Avoid motion control or stability shoes, since they can reduce foot mobility.
Aside from finding a shoe that suits your foot type, you also want to look for a shoe that best fits your running style. For example if you like to run fast and occasionally race, you probably want a High Performance running shoe. Performance shoes are lighter or more responsive versions of standard trainers. In general, they are built on a semi curved or curved last. They usually have less cushioning than a normal running shoe. As a result, they are light weight and responsive. While some of the Performance shoes are relatively stable; others are not.
Serious racers usually prefer a real racing shoe. Racing shoes are ultra-lightweight. They are built on a curved last and lack the majority of cushioning and stability features that are usually found on other standard running shoes. These shoes are suitable for elite racers. However, because of their lack of stability and cushioning, they may be inappropriate for recreational runners.
Finally, if you are a runner who chooses to go off the beaten track and “find your own road,” you may want to look for a pair of trail runners. These shoes are designed with increased outsole traction. The uppers have toe bumpers and reinforced stitching in order to increase the shoe’s durability. The foot on a trail running shoe often sits slightly lower to the ground than usual. This increases stability and responsiveness. Since these shoes are designed for softer surfaces, they will usually have less cushioning than a standard road shoe. These shoes are suitable for runners who do a considerable amount of off-road running and therefore require shoes that have extra traction, more durable uppers and extra protection from potentially harsh terrain.
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