Three Things to Consider Before Buying New Running Shoes

Don’t make the mistake of purchasing just any running shoe and expect to keep your feet and legs healthy and happy.

Half shoot tying shoe lacings
Get the best pair of running shoes you can afford to help avoid injuries.jeshoots.com

Avid runners who put in a lot of miles have one thing in common—they know what kind of running shoes they need and don’t skimp on getting the correct model for their feet. In fact, new runners who quickly drop out of the sport often do so because the shoes they wear don’t match their foot type or running stride, causing various foot and leg ailments. The fact is, the right shoe can make all the difference in determining whether you love running or hate it. Here are some things to take into account as you shop for the right running shoe for you.

Cushion

Brooks Mens Glycerin 17 Cushioned Road Running Shoe
These light, cushiony shoes are made for runners with neutral pronation.Brooks

“Pronation” is an important word in the running world. In a nutshell, pronation is the inward movement of the foot as it rolls to optimally distribute the force of impact on the ground when a person runs. Runners’ feet usually display one of three categories of pronation—overpronation, neutral, or supination. For runners that have neutral pronation, the foot “rolls” inward about 15 percent on the stride, comes into complete contact with the ground, and sufficiently supports a runners’ weight without any problems. These are the lucky runners that can wear cushioned (or neutral) running shoes. Cushioned shoes are typically much lighter and more flexible than the other types available. Neutral pronators should choose from this category instead of buying a shoe with more structure to it.

Motion Control

ASICS Men's GT-2000 7 Running Shoes
This motion control running shoe is designed to provide structure and stability for runners exhibiting severe overpronation.ASICS

For runners exhibiting overpronation, the outside of the heel makes the initial contact with the ground, but the foot rolls inward more than 15 percent. Consequently, the ankle and foot can’t stabilize the body properly, so shock isn’t absorbed as efficiently. Along with causing foot discomfort and problems, overpronating also causes extra stress and tightness to the muscles. Severe overpronators need a lot more structure than neutral shoes have to offer in order to keep from injuring their feet and legs. These are called motion-control shoes, and they are typically the most stable kind or running shoe available. Since they use a larger, more dense medial post for stability, they are heavier and stiffer than other running shoes.

Stability

Brooks Mens Adrenaline GTS 19 Running Shoe
This stable running shoe model is made for those with mild to moderate overpronation.Brooks

Stability running shoes are an in-between type of shoe for those who have a normal arch and only mildly overpronate. The most frequently purchased shoes today, stability shoes provide more support and stability than neutral shoes but are still lighter and more flexible than motion-control shoes. When choosing a running shoe in any of the categories, be sure that you get the correct size. Running shoes shouldn’t fit like other shoes. In a proper fit, there is one thumb width between the end of your foot and the end of the shoe. Width should be snug but allow enough room for your feet to move without rubbing. Also, consider whether you will be wearing aftermarket orthopedic inserts. If so, you’ll need a larger size than you would otherwise.


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