One of the first things that comes to mind when shopping for running shoes is the color and the style of the shoes. Even though these elements may have an impact on your final decision, they should not be the determining factor of your running shoes purchase. There are far more important things to take into consideration when shopping for running shoes.

  1. You need to buy running shoes that will fit your foot structure and shape.
  2. Running shoes will have an impact on your overall foot health and so you need to make sure that they are suitable for your feet.

Types of Running Shoes to Consider

There are three main types of running shoes. These are the motion control shoes which are mainly designed to prevent excess pronation for people who have flat feet. Then there are the shock absorbing shoes which are mostly ideal for people who have a high arched foot. In such a case it is normal to roll outward, and these kinds of running shoes will prevent this from happening. And finally there are the stability shoes, which are basically made for people who have feet with a normal arch.

While trying to choose the right type of running shoes, it is normal to undergo gait analysis. This is basically carried out in order to assess one’s foot structure, and whether one has overpronation or underpronation. The degree of pronation is one of the key aspects that will be ascertained from gait analysis. Pronation refers to the inward roll of the foot. When the outer part of the heel strikes the ground, there is this natural roll which is intended to act as a shock absorber. However, one may have overpronation, that is, the feet roll too much inwards, or underpronation, which refers to a lack of inward roll. By measuring the runner’s degree of pronation, it is easier to identify the type of running shoe which will be most ideal for his or her level of pronation. Gait analysis helps in reducing the risk of injuries, improve running performance, as well as optimize one’s running shoes choice for comfort and efficiency.

Running is a very popular way for women to stay in shape. Image credit: Rant Sports

The running shoes are going to be worn for different kinds of activities or exercises. Jogging on a treadmill varies from trail running or mountain races. Thus it goes without saying that you need to ensure that the type of running shoes that you wear is ideal for what you intend to do. Trail running will involve lots of different terrains and trails, generally under different weather conditions and for long distances. Therefore, the soles of the shoes will need to be ideal for such factors. Running shoes nowadays differ in terms of whether they are ideal for a particular terrain, as well as the type of runner. This has led to a huge variety of running shoes on the market, which might make one feel a bit confused as to which type to buy.

When shopping for running shoes, the buyer is often classified according to the type of runner he or she is. This depends on a wide range of aspects, including his/her running style, gait, weight, and technical level. Suitable running shoes will depend on these factors, as well as trying to aim at protection and comfort for one’s feet without sacrificing on the stability and performance.

Every brand will have its respective technologies and materials in designing and manufacturing running shoes that will suit these varying needs. As a result there are ultradistance trail running shoes, marathon shoes, trail shoes, and cross-country shoes, to mention a few. Brand such as Brooks running shoes cater for all of these.

Brooks are known for making some of the best all-round running shoes. Image credit: Jack Rabbit

Professional shoe sales staff will be carrying out gait analysis so as to identify your feet’s level of pronation and structure, and by coupling up this information with your level of activity, they will be able to advise on the most suitable kinds of running shoes for you.

Sometimes many common running injuries and foot problems can be avoided or minimized simply thanks to wearing the right type of running shoes. Kneecap pain could result from exerting too much force on the knee, and an inflammation results. Wearing the right type of running shoes can help in reducing this injury which is referred to as runner’s knee. Running shoes also have an effect on shin splints. This injury is experienced on the front of the shin, leading to inflammation and tenderness, and subsequently, pain. A biomechanical assessment which leads to proper running shoes can help in preventing shin splints. Another common injury is Achilles tendonitis. Pain experienced in the back part of the lower leg is a result of inflamed calf muscles. This condition can be minimized by wearing proper running shoes. Similarly, Plantar Fasciitis, which is a painful inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of one’s feet, can be reduced when one wears suitable running shoes. These are just some of the injuries that can be avoided with the proper selection of running shoes.

All this evidently highlights the importance of considering the selection of running shoes as an important decision and investment, and not simply another simple purchase. Running shoes have an impact on your health, wellbeing and comfort, as well as on your performance and efficiency. So choose wisely!