The most important accessory for any runner is the shoes they wear. High quality shoes, which offer adequate support to your sole, ankle and lower leg, will help you run smoothly, and to your fullest performance and endurance. On the other hand, wearing inadequate, old and worn out shoes may even lead to serious injuries such as a sprain, Achilles’ tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.
For these main reasons (and many others), you should always wear specialised running shoes which fit your foot perfectly and offer you adequate support for your specific type of gait (we have touched on this subject already when we discussed the importance of knowing your type of pronation).
So, if you are just starting your running routine or you are a seasoned runner in need of a new pair of shoes, these are some of the things you should keep in mind when going shopping:
- Select a Specialised Sportswear Store
It may seem more affordable to buy no-name running shoes from your retail store (especially if you are a newbie amateur runner), but these are usually generic shoes which are not specifically adapted for running and will not offer you the benefits of a quality brand running shoe.
Plus, specialised stores have trained employees who can help you select the ideal type of shoes for your gait and pronation. You could either bring your old shoes with you, for the store staff to observe the wear-out pattern on your soles, or ask them to put you through a gait observation test to determine your type of stepping and running.
- Choose Shoes Adapted to the Running Surface
It makes a big difference if you run on a track, in a park, or on a treadmill. Each surface has different characteristics and degrees of hardness. Thus, if you run on asphalt alleys in a park, you will need light and flexible shoes to minimise the impact of the hard surface on your sole. If you select an off-road trail, your shoes need to have a denser sole to absorb the impact of stepping on uneven surfaces. These running shoes are also waterproof, to offer you adequate protection and comfort in case of a sudden rainfall.
- Make Sure the Shoe Fits Perfectly
Feet are just as varied in shape and size as hands. Some people have long and thin feet, while others have shorter and wider feet. It is very important to check that the running shoe you select fits you perfectly from the moment you try it on for the first time. For instance, if the shoe fits perfectly in length but your toes are squeezed together tightly, that is not a good shoe for you. Do not bet on it becoming looser as you wear it – that is not going to happen, instead it will affect your running gait.
- Select Shoes That Fit Your Arch
The foot arch is the portion between the heel and the ball of your foot, which is more or less concave. Some people have a completely flat arch (the whole surface of the sole makes contact with the ground), while others have high arch. Depending on the type of arch, your shoe needs to have a thicker or thinner midsection to offer adequate support to your foot arch.
- Wear Your Usual Running Socks When Trying on the Shoe
This may seem like pointless advice, but it makes all the difference in the world. Running socks are different from your regular cotton socks in terms of thickness. If you do not wear adequate socks when you buy your shoes, you may find out that they are too tight or too loose.
These simple tips will help you find the right pair of running shoes for your specific gait and foot type. Remember that you can always count on your physical therapist to give you further advice and even recommend you a specific running shoe model.
P.S Why not book a session with us and we can advise you on the best course of action to take …