Choosing the right pair of running shoes for you is like searching for your dream partner. If you’re going to be in it for the long haul, select wisely, invest and see your running shoes as a long-term acquisition.
After all, without the best footwear, you are only doing yourself a disservice and prohibiting your running progress, as well as potentially increasing the risk of injury.
If you’re training for a marathon, you need to make sure your runners will be your ultimate companion from those heavy training kilometres through to the finish line.
Here’s my top five easily digestible tips that should help you buy the right pair of runners…
1. Determine your running gait
It sounds a little complex and fancy but it isn’t really. On the contrary, it’s actually a process most runners go through as gait analysis essentially determines your foot type and how you run. From there, you can go and find the best and most comfortable fit.
The majority of stores – particularly specialised running outlets – will have in-house experts to help you, in addition to feet heat maps and even a treadmill.
You should also have an idea of your running stride pattern and foot-strike, i.e, if you’re coming down on the front part of your foot or have more of a mid-foot to heel landing.
Having had an accurate assessment measured, your foot type will be one of the following:
High-Arch (Under Pronation)
If you have a high-arched foot, whereby the middle of your foot doesn’t really make contact with the ground when you are stood up or running, you need a shoe with extra cushioning and stability, giving you more support. This is crucial, because often, runners with under pronation can suffer with calf and lower joint issues.
Probably the dream ticket for most runners out there, with this type making most trainers suitable for you.
Normal (Over Pronation)
You may have suffered with flexibility and rotation issues in the past, and as such, purchasing runners with a stronger material on the inside of the midsole can give you an extra element of support.
Flat Foot (Severe Over Pronation)
This is not ideal as you’re looking for a front foot to mid-to-front stride and strike when you run. Being flat footed can prohibit this and create impact injuries, especially when running on hard ground. If this is you, a top tip would be to get shoes with a thick mid and outsole.
2. It’s OK to shop around
There’s lots of running brands out there all competing for your hard-earned cash and never select a running shoe based on its cosmetic look, especially if it’s going to serve you for a while. Speak to other runners, friends and family – word of mouth is a great way to find out what other people are wearing and what works for them. It’s all about research and spending a bit of time finding the runner that fits the bill for you.
3. Buy your runners early
It may sound like an odd piece of advice but it’s amazing how many runners you see, for example, buying new trainers the day before a marathon at the Expo. If you’re building up to a race – whether it’s 10km or a marathon – you ideally want to spend a couple of months in the shoes, wearing them in and making sure they feel good. If you do just that, you’ll avoid any nasty injuries that could prohibit your competition participation and indeed performance.
4. The Classic
Always leave plenty of room between your big toe and the end of the shoe. It’s the old adage shoe test but believe it or not, it still works today. Running can cause your feet to swell up a bit so make sure you have at least half a full thumb’s nail length from your big toe down to the end of your shoe.
There’s nothing worse than shoes rubbing and then the onset of blisters – and probably plenty of blood.
5. Be prepared to spend
Everyone has a budget and it’s okay to look for a bargain but remember, investing a few extra pennies in the product that you think works for you over a cheaper, less quality alternative, will bring plenty more gains in the long run (excuse the pun).