One of the single most important things to consider when you start running, is what shoes you are going to wear. Your shoes will completely transform how it feels to run and if you get this wrong, you’re going to make running much harder on yourself than it needs to be!
What’s more, is that running shoes (along with a few other things) should also be considered a crucial form of injury prevention. Read on and we’ll see how to choose the right shoes for the best chance of a positive experience.
Types of Running Shoes
The first thing to recognize is that there are different types of running shoes. These include those shoes that are more structured versus those that are more minimalist. And they include those that are aimed at people with a heal-toe strike, versus those with more of a mid-foot strike.
No one set of shoes is going to be the universal ‘right pair’. Rather, the key is to choose the best shoes for your individual running style as well as your objectives…
Getting the Right Shoes
The way you’ll do this, is by visiting a running store where they can measure your gait. This way, they will use cameras attached to a treadmill in order to measure your biomechanics. They will be able to see how your feet hit the ground and that in turn will tell them what type of shoes you need!
The best way to run is so that the ball of your foot hits the ground first, located directly underneath your knee. This allows your entire leg to compress, acting like a spring and thereby absorbing the impact naturally. For this, you want a shoe that is more ‘minimal’ and that doesn’t include much in the way of support – that lets the foot move naturally and freely.
Unfortunately though, decades of running on roads has taught many of us to run with our heel first – and this isn’t something you can change overnight! If you fall into this category, you will need a shoe with a more padded heel and probably more structure and support all around. This will allow your foot to roll through the movement and in some cases, it will be combined with more structure to help guide you through the movement for a smoother ‘ride’.
But then again, you may have a pronated foot, or a flat arch. In these cases, you may need something different altogether – which is why you need to have your gait measured before you buy!