When it comes to running, the first thing you need to do is choose the right pair of running shoes. People are generally under the impression that the costliest shoes of the top brands are the best. This is a huge misconception. You should choose the pair which gives you the perfect fit after examining your feet, your stride and your running style. A wrong pair of running shoes will make you feel highly uncomfortable and you could end up with painful ankles, heels or shin pain.
Here is a detailed guide that will help you choose your running shoes.
1. Know yourself:
Before you buy your pair of running shoes, you should know a few things about yourself such as your body weight, how often do you run / plan to run, etc. The most important thing is knowing your stride which plays a major role in comfortable and safe running.
Know your body weight: For a runner, your body weight matters a lot because every step that you take while running puts two to three times of your body weight onto your feet, joints and muscles. If your shoes don’t have proper cushioning, the shock waves would get transmitted directly to your feet and joints resulting in heel and joint pains.
Know your running frequency: If you are running 4 to 5 days a week, then you should go for shoes having advanced cushioning and support. If you run once a week for a distance of around 5 kms, then you can go with the basic shoes with basic cushioning.
2. Know your stride:
Human feet are categorized into three different types (Neutral, Over-pronation and Under-pronation). Each of these types of feet have a different running style and requires a different set of shoes. The details are explained below:
Neutral: In this type of stride the heel strikes the ground first followed by the forefoot and toes. Due to this, the entire weight of the body is distributed evenly on the feet. The shoes that are recommended for such runners should be a neutral shoes having better heel cushioning and medial support.
Over-Pronated: In this type of stride the inner heel strikes the ground first followed by the big toe. The foot rolls inward while running due to which it is difficult in stabilizing the body. The shoes that are recommended for such type of runners should have stability or motion control.
Under-pronated: Under-pronation is the exact opposite of over-pronation. In this case, the outer heel strikes the ground first followed by little toe and the foot rolls outward. The shoes that are recommended for such type of runners should have cushioning and quick heel to toe traction (flexibility).
How to determine your stride?
There are many simple tests you can carry out in your home to know your Stride. The two simplest techniques are as follows:
a) The Wet Test: In this test you have to take a shallow container/pan, pour some water into it and wet the bottom portion of your feet. Then, step onto a thick brown/dark colour paper and step off the paper. Compare your feet mark that is there on the paper with below images to know your stride.
b) Sole test: This is the simplest test but needs some analysis. In this test you will have to take out your old running shoes and check the wear pattern on the sole. Compare it with the images to understand your stride.
3. Know the running surface
Running surfaces are broadly divided into three different categorizes. The shoes for each of these surfaces are designed differently as per the usage. Hence, it is extremely important to know on which surface you are going to use it. The details of each of these categories are explained below:
a) Road running or plain surface running
These shoes are designed for running on plain surfaces with slight irregularities. These are very light shoes having good cushioning, flexibility and stability as per the stride requirement.
b) Trail running or rough surface running
These shoes are designed for rough surfaces having lots of ups and downs and rocks such as hills and natural terrain. It has good support, stability and a rugged sole to protect your feet from sharp rocks. It also has good traction for better grip.
c) Treadmill running or indoor running
These shoes are designed for running on treadmill and indoor activity. These are very light, flexible and has soft soles with good ventilation.
Purchase timing: It is always suggested to buy running shoes at the end of the day because continuous movement of your legs throughout the day makes your feet swell. Your shoes should fit you when they are at their maximum size. While running too, your feet would swell and it should not feel uncomfortable at that time.
Toe rules: You should always go for shoes having a gap of at-least ½ to 1 inch between your big toe and the front end of the shoes. While running, your feet slides insides the shoe so you should have enough space for it in order to avoid black nail which could be really painful.