It can be difficult knowing what to believe when it comes to running shoes! Everyone has different
feet, and mechanics, so there is no “right shoe” for all runners. However, there are some general characteristics of a good, safe running shoe.
Soles are important
Avoid thick cushioning and high soles. This can actually encourage runners to adopt poor bio-mechanics, and land with greater impact than shoes with less cushioning. This is important in avoiding knee damage.
Minimal heel-to-toe drop is better
This drop is the difference in the thickness of the heel cushion compared to the forefoot cushion. Shoes with no drop or a small drop 6mm or less are the best choice for allowing the foot to normally support loading during each gait cycle.
A big drop can interfere with normal foot motion during weight bearing.
What about my arch?
Extra arch supports are not usually necessary and orthotics should be temporary fixes (6-8 weeks) until foot strength is increased.
Foot strengthening exercises are far more beneficial than arch supports on a daily basis.
Do you pronate or drop your foot inward?
Pronation is a natural shock absorber.
Beware of running shoes with arch supports that attempt to stop pronation. These can actually cause foot or knee problems to develop.
Pronation can be corrected with therapy and exercises to strengthen the foot, leg and hip rather than by a shoe.
Buy the shoe that fits!
Sizes are just guides, and they change from shoe to shoe, so ensure that you have your feet sized in the shop. Ensure there is room for your feet to breathe, and never force your feet into shoes that are too tight, or cause you pain.
Don’t crush your toes
Be sure the shoe has a wide toe box. The toe box is the area where your forefoot and toes are. You should be able to wiggle your toes easily. Narrow toe boxes do not permit the normal splay, or spread of the foot bones during running. This will prevent your feet from being able to safely distribute the forces during the loading phase of gait.
There should be at least 1⁄2 inch of room between the toes and front of shoe, about enough space to place your thumb between your big toe and the front of the shoe. Be sure that the heel does not slip when you run.
Buy Your shoes in the afternoon!
Your feet swell slightly during the day, meaning that shoes that fit in the morning may be tighter at the end of the day.
When should you I replace my running shoes?
Replacing running shoes every 350 miles is recommended, but shoes will vary depending on the materials they are made with.
If there are wear patterns on the shoe that reveal the sole layers underneath, discard the shoes.
Uneven wear on the shoe sole causes changes in running mechanics that lead to injury.