Now that you’ve completed your season’s objectives, you’re ready to focus on winter training and next season. Your running shoes (your summer training partner) should be pretty worn by now. They’re very comfy and fit perfectly, but they don’t offer the same amount of cushioning and support as new. Change is in order!
Even for the most seasoned runners, picking the finest running shoes may be a challenge. Most likely, the makers of your present shoes have released a new model with significantly different features. Choosing a new pair is not nearly as simple as picking out a new pair of shoes, but it is essential to be selective.
In this post, we will try to explain the main things to consider while buying new shoes. Choosing the proper shoes can help you avoid injuries this winter and set you up for a great season next year. A bad decision may result in irritation, black toenails, or even a long-term injury that dashes all chances of a good season next year.
COMFORT IS NUMBER ONE
A running shoe should feel correct the minute you put it on. If the shoes are uncomfortable, return them. No matter whether Chrissie Wellington, Paula Radcliffe, or Alistair Brownlee endorse a shoe, they will not ‘wear-in’ and feel better.
A training shoe (not a race shoe) should feel cushioned enough to preserve your joints and muscles from the continuous hammering they will get during the next several months of running. There’s typically an ‘EVA’ foam mid-sole with air, gel, or soft neoprene-like rubber added for extra cushioning. The idea is to try them all and then determine which one seems the most natural and comfortable.
Choosing the right cushioning for your running shoe is a highly personal decision.
The issue of support in running shoes divides manufacturers and biomechanists worldwide.
What is it?
With little lateral mobility of the ankle and foot, support refers to the structural aid given by a shoe to enable an athlete’s foot to hit the ground and push off via the toes.
A more dense piece of foam (referred to as a “medial post”) beneath the arch of the foot provides resistance and reduces lateral mobility. There are many additional ways of support, so it’s essential to ask about them while putting on shoes.
Most running shoe makers categorize their shoes as Neutral, Mild Support, Moderate Support, or Motion Control.
In fact, there are as many degrees of support as there are running shoe types, and minor variations in construction imply that some are more or less supporting than others.
How much help do I need?
This is a tricky one…
For a fast examination (commonly referred to as a “gait analysis”), visit your local running shoe store. Contact a sports podiatrist or a university with a sports science/biomechanics department.
For more advanced analyses, you will be recommended to buy a custom-molded orthotic inner-sole that will support your particular foot-strike. If you have a highly unique footstrike, uncommon physical features (e.g. one leg longer than the other), or have had long-term injuries, orthotics may be unneeded. Ask the podiatrist/expert to suggest particular supportive running shoes or, if orthotics are required, to describe the issue the orthotics will address and why a supportive running shoe will not.
FIT the FITTING
Running shoes from various manufacturers, or even models from the same manufacturer may fit differently in terms of length, breadth, depth, and overall form. That’s why you should always try on shoes before purchasing them.
Your feet are unique, but with so many shoe brands available, there should be one that fits your feet perfectly.
For the toes to breathe and avoid chaffing, the shoes should be loose around the toes and tight around the sides of the feet to prevent slipping and sliding. Athletes, particularly women, are accustomed to having their feet ‘held’ by their shoes. This is not a running shoe fit and will result in black toenails and blisters. “Snugness” and toe room are essential.
The various innovations used by the main running shoe manufacturers on the market may appear bewildering to even the most seasoned runners. But be cool, since you have many advantages.
Several big running shoe shops now allow you to buy a pair of shoes and return them within a month if you don’t like them. Please examine your shoes thoroughly before returning them.
You are the expert.
Only you know what feels good and bad on your feet.
You’ve tried running shoes before and know what works. When trying on new ones, compare them.
You can get a lot of free advice.
Some of the best sources of information are free publications, running buddies, and retail stores. Seek as much information as you can to make an educated decision.
Enjoy your next set of training sneakers. Next season’s results will be built on the proper pair and a fantastic winter of training!!