You need to have the best running shoes for your feet. Running places a tremendous amount of force on your feet -- as much as eight times your own body weight.
Your running shoes are the most important piece of running equipment you own so take your time. Learn as much as you can about the needs of your feet.
There are three categories of foot types. Which one are you?
The overpronator has the characteristics of a flat foot -- very little or no arch. When overpronators run, their feet roll inwards excessively and their knees move towards each other. This inefficient movement can contribute to knee pain, IT band injuries, plantar fasciitis, or shin splints.
The best running shoes for the overpronator are Motion Control Running Shoes with a firm midsole to improve efficiency and reduce the risk of injuries. Overpronators may also benefit from orthotics. However, be careful about deciding whether to use orthotics. Currently, there are debates over whether orthotics are beneficial for runners. This article discusses some recent studies and their conclusions: Are Custom Orthotics Worth the Cost?
The underpronator has high arches that are very rigid. The feet roll to the outside and the knees move outward. This movement provides for little shock absorption and can contribute to a stress fracture, pain on outside of knee or shins, heel spurs, or plantar fasciitis.
The best running shoes for the underpronator are Cushioning Running Shoes with a flexible forefoot and a soft midsole to provide the extra cushioning needed.
The normal pronator is the least susceptible to injuries. The arch is a normal size and semi-flexible. The foot efficiently absorbs the running impact by first landing on the outside of the heel, pronates slightly to absorb the shock and then transfers the weight to the forefoot. The pronation is normal and moves only slightly inwards.
The best running shoes for a normal pronator are Stability Running Shoes. Normal pronators can safely choose from a wider variety of running shoes as long as the shoe doesn't include a lot of cushioning or have motion control.
Visit a good sporting goods store specializing in running equipment. They can easily determine your foot type. If this option is not available to you, try the following tests.
Check your footprint in the sand or wet your feet and make an imprint on a piece of paper. The imprint of your foot will help you determine if you have a high arch, no arch or are somewhere in between.
Your worn running shoes will also provide clues as to your foot type. Where the shoe is worn will tell you how your foot lands. The more you know about your feet, the better choice you will make in choosing your best running shoes.
Buying your new running shoes is an important decision so take your time and ask lots of questions. Ask the salesperson to examine your foot to determine foot type, size and width.
It is recommended to buy shoes that are at least one half size larger than your regular size as feet swell during running. Wearing running shoes that are not big enough to accommodate swelling of the feet often result in black toenails from running.
Width is also an important factor to consider as some running shoes are designed specifically for a particular foot width. You want a snug fit but not too tight.
Show the salesperson your old, worn shoes so he/she can check your wear pattern. Running shoes should be replaced after 500 miles or 800 kilometers but could be more or less depending on how the shoe shows wear. My shoes wear evenly so I can usually get about 1000 kilometers from mine before I replace them.
A neutral runner can usually get more mileage from a pair of shoes than an overpronator or an underpronator, but let your feet be your guide. When your shoes are no longer providing you with the control, cushioning or stability you need, it is time for a new pair.
If keeping your feet warm and dry is important to you, waterproof running shoes may be what you need especially during the colder months.
If you prefer to try a more natural way of running, check out barefoot running shoes.
We would love to hear about your favorite running shoes. Tell us why you love them so much and feel free to include a picture of your shoes--especially the ones that are well used! A well-worn pair of runners can tell great stories!
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