Do you ever walk into your local sports store and look at the shoes displayed on the wall? You pick one up and then try it on to see whether it’s the right running shoes for you. It fits, but you feel that it's not the right one.
To make matters more complicated, there are many different brands and styles to choose from. Plus, you need to consider your running style, weight, height, arch type, and budget.
You also need to think about the goals you want to achieve in your running shoes. Do you want them for everyday use or just for when you go on a jog? Do you want them for heavy-duty marathon training or just for light running?
This article will help you learn how to choose the right running shoes for different purposes and situations.
How to choose the right running shoes for you?
Choosing the right running shoes for yourself can be difficult because there are so many different brands, types, and styles. You may also have your own different preferences and needs, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Luckily, there are various resources that can help you choose the right running shoes for yourself. Start by asking yourself these few questions:
- What is your foot type?
- How much cushioning do you need?
- What kind of terrain do you run on?
- What socks are you running in?
What is your foot type?
There are three main foot types: neutral, supinated, and pronated – all of which are determined by your arch height, affecting the direction and severity of how your foot rolls or pronates. Here are the three types and how they most likely roll:
- Neutral feet tend to have normal arches, allowing the feet to land on the outside of the heels and roll inwards to absorb shock and support body weight.
- Supinated feet tend to have high arches, causing the outer side of the heel to hit the ground at an increased angle with little or no inward rolling.
- Pronated feet tend to have low arches, causing the feet to land on the outer side of the heel and roll inwards, transferring the body weight to the inner edge instead of the ball of the feet.
If your foot type is neutral, you will typically run well in most shoes without any problems or discomfort. But if your foot type is supinated or pronated, your shoe search continues with the following sections.
How much cushioning do you need?
When you think of cushioning in a running shoe, you can consider the amount of comfort you get while running. You can determine your comfort level through the firmness of the foam and the thickness of the shoe material between your feet and the ground.
Some may prefer a plush, soft ride for extra comfort, while others prefer less cushioning for more response from each stride. The best way for you to decide is to try on as many shoes as possible and see how they feel during each stride.
Here are the different levels of cushioning:
- Maximum – Shoes with thick padding in the midsoles for the best comfort.
- Moderate – Shoes with moderate cushion strike a balance between comfort and response.
- Minimal – Shoes with minimal cushion at the midsoles are preferred by runners who want to feel more response from their strides.
What type of terrain do you run on?
Knowing what type of terrain you are running on as a runner is essential. This will help you to find the best running shoes for you because your shoes will make a big difference in how comfortable and injury-free your run is.
There are three main types of terrain: road running, trail running, and cross-country running.
If you are a runner who runs mostly on paved roads, you need a running shoe that provides good cushioning and stability for your feet. It should be light and flexible to provide optimal shock absorption and minimise your injury risk.
On the other hand, if you run in rocky or hilly areas, you will need a running shoe that has good traction and grip on uneven surfaces. It should also have thicker soles to protect your feet and provide ample ankle support.
If you’re doing a little of both, consider a lightweight running shoe with good flexibility and durability. This type of shoe generally works well on both roads and mixed trail conditions with a balanced mix of grip and cushioning.
What socks are you running in?
Much like the variety of running shoes available on the market, socks are also available in different thicknesses, and they can make a big difference to the fit and feel of your running shoes. So, when you go shoe-searching, make sure to wear or bring along the socks you intend to run in.
Which type of running shoes do you need?
Now that you know your foot type and the type of terrain you’re going to run on, it’s time to find the right running shoes. There are three types of running shoes for women, men and children: stability shoes, motion control shoes, and cushioning shoes.
Stability Running Shoes
These running shoes are suitable if you have normal arches as they offer the stability that comes from the extra arch-side support and high-density foam. They are typically built with a gentle arch from front to back that provides rear-foot stability and forefoot flexibility.
Motion Control Running Shoes
If you have low arches, these running shoes are for you as the arch area is filled in for increased stability. The extra rigidity in these running shoes prevents your heels from turning out and the foot from overpronating.
Cushioning Running Shoes
If you have high arches, consider getting a running shoe with optimum cushioning for maximum comfort during your run. They are typically built on a curve and made of lightweight materials that provide minimal rigidity.
Other than searching for the right running shoes, you may want to consider some accessories like a running pouch, phone holder, or water pouch to keep your wallet, phone, and car key while you’re running.
With the right running shoes and pouch, you can safely go on your run without worrying about your own safety and your belongings.
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