Running Tips: How to Pick the Right Running Shoes
If you plan to do a lot of running and training then picking the correct footwear is vitally important. You might not think it, but wearing the wrong type of trainers for your foot type can not only impact your performance but also have a detrimental effect on your health too – causing pain and damage to your toes, ankle and feet overall. Take a look below at our top running tips when it comes to picking the right shoes
Daniel Plummer, August 2015
There have been a lot of medical studies in this over the years with many varying results. The bottom line seems to be that the right trainer can improve performance in general.
This is all because of something call gait – this is the way that your legs and feet behave when running. Specifically you’ll want to look at your type of pronation which is the way your feet land and take off from the floor whilst in motion. There are three type of pronation and each has certain characteristics. The type of pronator you are is normally linked to the type of arch you have on your foot:
Neutral pronation – this is the most common and ideal type as during running you will land on your heel and naturally roll onto the ball of your feet to take off again. This rolling motion will be at an angle of around 15 degrees inwards. People who have a normal arch will generally have a neutral pronation.
Over-pronation – this type of pronation occurs when you roll too much inwards from the heel to the ball of your feet, going beyond the 15 degrees and end up putting pressure on your big toe and taking off from this stance. People who have a low arch will generally tend to over-pronate.
Under-pronation (supination) – this type of pronation occurs when the foot rolls outwards from the heel to the ball of your feet and ends up putting the impact and take-of pressure on to your two smallest toes. People who have a very high arch are more prone to this type of pronation.
How to find out your arch type
It’s very easy to find out your arch type by simply doing the ‘wet foot test’. To perform the test you’ll need a basin of water and a square of cardboard or paper big enough to fit your foot on. To perform the test simply lay down the card on the floor and dip your foot in the water ensuring the entire bottom of your foot gets wet.
Now lift your foot out of the water and shake off any excess water and then place it lightly on to the card for a few seconds. Now remove your foot and look at the print you have made. The print should show you your heel, the ball of your foot and joining the two your arch. That is the important bit – look at your arch and compare it to the chart below to know what arch you have:
Once you know your arch you can then start to look towards getting trainers or shoes that are made for your type of pronation. A lot of specialist shops will sell trainers designed for certain types of pronation and you should hopefully find that getting the right trainer helps with your overall performance and reduces the chance of pain whilst running.
Most trainers are very similar – they’re lightweight whilst at the same time provide cushioning for your feet and generally will curve upwards at the toes to help the rolling motion of running feet. But is there more to it? Why do some cost £100’s whilst others will cost you £20? Well it’s mostly about brand and style. For the most part there is very little difference in the materials or construction of the trainers you buy, so spending a lot more on some that look a bit better could be a waste of your money.
However you should always try trainers on before committing to them. Go to a local store and try on all the pairs you like, get a feel for them and be sure they’ll do the job before buying as you don’t want to be a few weeks in to your training suffering from sore feet or blisters from ill-fitting shoes.
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