How To Find The Perfect Pair of Everyday Running Shoes

Choosing Your First Pair of Running Shoes

In most cases, as you buy running shoes, you are likely to find sales clerks who can help you find the right model for your type of workout and gait pattern. At the same time, you also need to have as much information regarding the type of shoe that best suits your needs.

Running shoes may appear similar, but they possess some very important differences.

General features of running shoes

  • They should provide extra cushioning because landing generates a force that is 11/2 to 3 times your body weight.
  • The outsoles should be long lasting and provide good traction on dirt and pavements
  • They should provide enough stability and ease of flexing at the ball of the foot.

So, what do you need to do as you shop?

Analyze your gait

You need to understand your gait pattern before you shop for shoes because manufacturers offer running shoes for every type of gait. Do your feet roll inward a lot or overpronate? Then you need motion-control or stabilizing shoes to ease the problem. Underpronators have a high arch while overpronators have a low one.

For a runner whose feet land mostly on the outside edge of a shoe or oversupinate, a cushioning shoe with an emphasis on shock absorption will be ideal.

If you have a pair of running shoes that is well-worn, carry it as you go shopping for another pair. An experienced sales clerk can easily look at the wear pattern and analyze your gait. This will help them recommend the right running shoe for you.

A Gait Analysis Illustration. Image credit: Lane Community College

Find a good fit

As you shop for running shoes, the fit is vital. If a shoe fits badly, you are likely to experience painful feet, discomfort, fatigue, and worse still, joint problems. It will also make such important features like cushioning and motion control less effective.

It is advisable that you go shopping late in the afternoon as your feet tend to swell toward the end of the day. As you fit the shoe, make sure you wear the kind of socks you will be wearing with it and feel for bumps, seams, and rough spots.

Running shoes should feel good right out of the box without having to force your feet into them.

Take a test run

Jog or walk a little in the store, and if possible, ask to be allowed to take them around the block once. If they allow it, ask to buy, then use the shoes briefly on the treadmill at home and return if they do not feel right. This will ensure that you end up with just the right shoe for your needs.

Think about orthotics

Do your feet get sore when you run or walk? Then it might be time for you to try orthotics. Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts that replace the insoles. They might reduce a shoe’s cushioning, and it is important to consider if the problem can be solved with a new pair or new category of shoes.

Orthotics can be quite expensive.

Mizuno Wave Runner are a popular beginner’s running shoe. Image credit: Amazon

What features should you look for in running shoes?

A shoe that combines flexibility, stability, and cushioning is way better than one that does not. A lightweight and breathable shoe is also recommended. A good example is a brand like Mizuno running shoes that are generally considered to be very good all-round footwear for runners just starting out.

The sole

The sole is comprised of three layers, the outsole, the middle layer, and the insole

The outsole is the bottom layer and it should be made of carbon rubber which is highly durable. It should be patterned or grooved for traction and segmented for flexibility.

The middle layer is squishy and provides most of the cushioning. It should generally be made of shock absorbing foam, though it might also incorporate air sacs or gel and plastic torsion supports.

The insole or sock liner is the layer that is directly underfoot, and it should provide arch support and extra shock absorption. It is usually removable and washable.

The upper

This is the part of the shoe that is above the sole or the body of the shoe. The toe box at the front of the shoe should have enough room to leave about half inch space in front of the longest toe. They should also let your toes spread.

The rear should keep your heel from excessive slipping. If your feet sweat a lot, breathable shoes are the best for you, though less porous material is ideal if you will be running in the cold weather.

Lacing

Some shoes have extra top eyelets that provide a snug fit at the ankle. Metal, plastic, or fabric, lacing loops make tightening of the laces easier. Round laces are preferable because flat ones are likely to come untied or loose.

Reflectors

If you are fond of jogging at dusk or dawn, reflective tabs on the upper will provide additional safety by reflecting car’s headlights. It makes you more visible to the motorist, therefore the chances of being hit are lower.