Take careful consideration when selecting your running shoes. There are many brands and styles of shoes on the market today; it is important to find the best shoe for your needs. There isn’t a “One-Size-Fits-All” when it comes to shoes for runners. However, there are general characteristics a good, safe running shoe should possess.
A running shoe SHOULD NOT do the work of the foot by providing excessive cushioning – it SHOULD protect your feet from injury. With newer companies and shoe options appearing on the market, you can do a bit of research online to find which shoe might fit you.
Characteristics of a good, safe running shoe:
- Lightweight: The ounces of the shoe should be close to the size 10 oz. for a men’s 9; 8 oz. for a women’s 8.
- Neutral: No motion control or stability enhancements. They can interfere with the motion of the foot.
- Minimal Heel-To-Toe Drop: This is the difference in the thickness of the heel cushion to the thickness of the forefoot area. Shoes with no drop or a small drop from 6mm or less are the most ideal choice.
- Toe Space: Be sure the shoe has a wide toe box: the area where your forefoot and toes are. If you can’t wiggle your toes easily, find a shoe that will allow you to spread your toes out and distribute the forces safely. Also, be sure there is at least 1/2 inch of room between the toes and the front of the shoe.
Characteristics of Shoes To Avoid
- High, thick cushioning: Softer cushioning may encourage runners to adopt bad biomechanics and land with greater impact.
- Extra Arch Support: Often unnecessary. Orthotics should be considered temporary fixes (<6-8 weeks) until the foot strength increases. A therapist can assist you with exercises that strengthen the foot so you can get rid of arch supports.
- Heel Slippage: Test your running shoe in the store. Be sure your heel is firmly grasped by the back of the shoe.
- Too Narrow: Take the insert out of the shoe, put it on and put your foot on the ground. Do the sides of your foot slip over the side? If so, find a wider shoe.
Do I Need A New Pair?
The general rule of thumb is to buy a new pair of shoes once you’ve traveled 350 miles, but science is limited and has not yet identified the ideal amount of time for all running shoes. Different shoes vary in wear-and-tear based on the materials they were made from. Faster wear may occur if the shoes are used on a daily basis, or in harsher conditions. Do your feet stink? Throw some of these sneaker deodorizers in your shoes!
Do not continue wearing shoes that reveal the sole layers underneath. Sole wear causes changes in running mechanics that lead to injury.
Research from theAmerican College of Sports Medicine
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