Whether you're a lifelong runner or just starting out, a good pair of running shoes is non-negotiable. Just like you wouldn't put the wrong size or type of tires on your car, it's imperative that your running shoes fit both your feet and your needs perfectly.
It's easy to get swayed by colorful designs, popular brands, and showy commercials. However, the shoes you wear depend on a lot more than how much you paid for them and what brand gets the most likes. Your feet are composed of over 25 bones and more than 30 joints. Each person's foot shape, gait, and running style is different. Therefore, the shoes that work for your running partner may cause you nothing but pain.
Learning your arch type is easy. All you need is water and a colored piece of paper. Wet the bottom of your feet and step onto the paper with your full weight. The shape of your footprint will help you determine your arch type. There are three main types of arches: low (also referred to as 'flat'), medium, and high.
The way you balance on your feet is called pronation. You may have noticed that the outside or inside of your shoes wear out faster than the other parts. This is because of the way you pronate. Everyone walks (and runs) differently. Arch type can often reveal how your feet pronate. There are three major types of pronation:
If you're trying to figure out what gait type you have, just grab a pair of your old shoes, flip them over, and check out the wear pattern on the soles. If your shoes are more worn along the outside edges, you likely supinate when you walk. If they are worn on the inside, you generally pronate.
Different gaits require different types of shoes; if you have a neutral or underpronating gait, you can go for a neutral, cushioned shoe in lieu of a regular running shoe, but if you overpronate, you're going to need to look for something with some more stabilizing benefits.
Just like you wouldn't want to use a road bike on a mountain trail, you're going to need different running shoes for different settings. If you enjoy running around town or on a treadmill, then you're not going to need as traction or ankle support. However, if you prefer trail running, then you're going to need a pair of shoes that not only offers you the traction that you need to keep your footing, but you're also going to need much more ankle support.
Sprained ankles are not only painful, but they can be dangerous if you're running out in a low-populated area, especially if you're by yourself.
Just like with any other piece of equipment, the material that your shoes are made of is incredibly important. You're going to want something that not only holds up to the abuse of regular running, but also breathes well, isn't too heavy, and keeps your feet drying (running with standing water in your shoes is not only incredibly uncomfortable, but not exactly good for your feet, either).
When you're out shopping for running shoes, look for materials such as man-made leather or nylon mesh on the upper portion of the shoe, good cushioning (often made of foam) in the midsole region, and the proper type of rubber on the sole. If you're into trail running, look for shoes with carbon rubber, which tends to be more durable than its counterpart, blown rubber.
The fit of the shoe is arguably the most important part. For this part, we highly recommend that you go into a brick-and-mortar store and try them on in person, or otherwise order from a website with a good return policy.
When you shop for new running shoes, it's important to remember your foot type, and know how shoes should fit. Visit a specialty athletic store and ask for help if you're unsure of the shoe style or fit. Additionally, use these tips to help you find the proper running shoes for your feet.
Running puts a significant amount of pressure on your feet. Skimping on the right support can lead to foot pain, joint problems, and even problems with your posture. If you are seeking a new pair of running shoes, visit us at Omega Sports.com today.
If you need help figuring out what shoe you need, stop by one of our stores and our experts can help get you into the perfect fit.