As you may (or may not) know, choosing a running shoe is more than just about style.
Every day we meet countless individuals hoping to choose their footwear based on colour, style and popularity. Most of us are guilty of this, and we have every right to love the shoes that we buy; however more and more people are starting to understand the importance of the “right” shoe.
Your feet are more important than you think. When you run you place two times your body weight on the pavement with each step. Every condition, or faulty mechanics that occurs during your gait is exaggerated that much more when you run. So here’s the big question everyone’s wondering:
“What Type of Running Shoe Should I Be Wearing?”
There are various brands, Nike, Asics, Saucony, New Balance, Mizuno, Brooks. There are various styles; ones with arch support, ones with no arch support, ones with individual toes also known as the traditional Minimalist shoe.
Choosing shoes requires research. It is dependent on these factors: Your biomechanics, weight, activity level and the overall shape and width of your foot. There are a hundreds of different shoe brands out there with various fancy names for their cushioning technology, however at the end of the day it all really comes down to the feel. Everyone’s feet are different.
Brands such as New Balance and Brooks favor a wider foot, where people with narrower feet may lean more towards Asics, Mizuno and Saucony.
There are three things you should be looking for in a good shoe
- Sturdy heel counter
- Flexible sole
These 3 factors are essential for providing optimum support and comfort. Heavier individuals should be looking for denser soles that are more durable and can withstand a greater amount of pressure.
The three things NOT to do when buying running shoes:
1. Buying a shoe because of how it looks. Working out in a stiff, low quality (most likely made of cheap non-durable materials)
2. Buying the most expensive shoe. Shoes are individual, some expensive shoes may have great technology, or they may not… such as the NIKE SHOX.
3. Buying a shoe because your friend finds them really comfortable.
What about those minimalist shoes?
If someone who was wearing a close-to minimalist shoe (i.e. Nike Free) feels the need to further decrease foot support then they can transition into a minimalist. Their needs are most likely completely different from yours (and mine).
Another question that many of us fail to answer is how often should I be replacing my shoes?
The answer comes down to how often you wear your shoes and how much distance you have on them. A long distance runner who trains three times a week will wear out their shoes faster than someone who goes to the gym twice a week. As well as a heavier individual who trains twice a week will wear out their shoes faster than someone lighter training the same amount.
General rule of thumb – replace your shoes approximately every 10 months.
Your Shoe Can Talk
There are simple things you can look out for to see if your shoes are worn out:
- The Crash Pad – located on the outside of your heel you can see wear down first at this location.
- Look at the wear towards the midsection of your shoe. Is there more wear on the medial or lateral aspect of your shoe? This can tell you if you overpronate or if you supinate.
Take home message:
Check out your feet and your current footwear. Find out what your mechanics are and make sure you’re choosing the right footwear based on the right reasons. Remember you can find shoes that are right for you and style approved! All it takes is a little research. Places like Kintec in Vancouver can also give you more insight on the type of shoe you need
Feel free to post questions and comments.
– Written By Marilyn Chong, BHK
Kinesiologist at AK Fitness