Whether you're just casually walking, working on your feet all day, or training for your next marathon, having the right pair of shoes for your body can make all the difference in keeping your comfortable and injury free. With so many brands and styles out there on the market, choosing a shoe that's right for you can feel daunting at times. Coming to a local running store like ours can help you through the evaluation process and help you find a shoe that meets your needs. Ultimately, a good shoe for you will be one that feels comfortable from the start and complements your running style.
Some key decision points to help you decide on the right shoe for you may be to:
- Consider where you’re planning to run. Do you mostly hit the road? Or do you hit the trails and gravel paths? Your choices are road-running, trail-running or cross-training shoes.
- Understand whether you need a specific type of support for your gait. Most runners will be able to choose a neutral shoe, but if your foot tends to roll to the far outside or inside, there are shoes that can help you.
- Make sure the shoe fits. Your shoe should fit well from the start with no breaking-in period.
Where you feel you will be spending a majority of your time exercising makes a difference. Check out some key differences of 3 major categories of shoes below.
- Road Running Shoes
Light and flexible, they're made to cushion or stabilize feet during repetitive strides on hard, even surfaces.
Best for people who run on sidewalks, road, treadmills or track.
Road-running shoes have flatter, smoother soles to create a consistent surface for running on paved roads.
- Trail shoes
They have bigger lugs (the “cleats” on the outsole) than road-running shoes for better grip on uneven terrain.
They are sometimes fortified with plates underfoot to help protect your feet from rocks or sharp objects.
They’re generally stiffer through the midsoles for more support on rugged trails and uneven surfaces.
- Cross Training Shoes
are designed for gym workouts, cross-training or any balance activity where having more contact with the ground is preferred over a thick platform sole.
Depending on the workout, a good lightweight running shoe makes for a terrific gym shoe, often allowing the user to get a stable base for lifting and lateral moves, while offering more versatility and comfort for treadmill work and cardio.
HOW MUCH SUPPORT IS RIGHT FOR ME?
How does your foot hit the ground when you run? Pronation is the natural way your foot rolls inward when it strikes the ground and then transitions out of the stride propelling you forward. There are three different types of pronation (see below), and you may want shoes with features that support your pronation level. One of the biggest benefits of coming to Everyday Athlete is that we work with you to discover just what kind of shoes would be the best to support that motion. Brands will use different footwear technologies and features that reduce excess movement. The technologies are meant to guide the foot through a smoother transition.
The majority of us will fall into this category. Virtually everyone - whether we are walking, or running, most of us will strike the ground with our outside heel first and transition through the stride This results an even wear pattern throughout the show.
Often caused by collapsing arches, over pronation can result in a number of different injuries and ailments if not properly supported. Classic shoes to help this are called stability shoes, and typically feature very dense pieces of foam under the instep. This will prevent a rolling in over the ankle and collapsing of the arch as is pictures below, allowing you to walk/run more balanced.
Very rarely do people have drastic supination, but if your weight tends to carry through the outside edge of your foot through the stride, looking for shoes that are softer in the instep will allow you to compress the foam and come down more evenly.
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO FIT AND FEEL
Nothing beats trying on a shoe in person to put to the test show it fits and feels. Below are some considerations and tips to identify a good fit.
No Need To Measure: Measuring feet doesn't really do much on the spectrum of things. While it may offer a good idea of where to start, different brand (and even models within a brand) can vary differently on sizing. It's best to not get caught up in a size number and just try what feels comfortable.
Aim for a thumbnail's length of space in the toebox: You should be able to wiggle your toes. The width should be snug but allow a bit of room for your foot to move without rubbing. As long as you are secured through the back of the shoe and the midfoot, suggestions on room up in the front of the shoe are often subjective, but act as good rules of thumb.
Bring along insoles, running socks or orthotics (if you use them): Always a good idea to bring along anything you might be regularly using during activity to see how compatible they may be with a new set of shoes.
Make sure they’re comfortable from the get-go. A few years ago, a break-in period with shoes was not uncommon, but the materials have gotten so light, comfortable, and pliable, that the shoes should feel comfortable from the jump.
Consider aftermarket insoles (aka footbeds). A good running shoe can do a world of wonders for helping to improve comfort and reduce pain/running injuries, but there are aftermarket insoles come in models that can enhance comfort, support or fit—or all three.
Lace your shoes correctly: Certain lacing techniques can improve the fit of your shoes. The runner’s loop, for example, can help lock your heel in place. Window lacing (box lacing) can help relieve pressure points on the top of your foot.
While there are important considerations in finding a good pair of shoes, it is almost equally as important to not over think the process. When coming to Everyday Athlete to try on shoes, we have already edited your selection to offer the best and most trusted shoes out there, meaning you're always getting a quality pair of shoes.
Another thing that can definitely benefit most anyone wearing their active shoes. The life of a shoe is only roughly 400-500 miles depending on the user/terrain/etc. If you're not tracking miles, many people will find they should swap their shoes around the 6-10 month mark. Replacing shoes in a timely manner can prevent wearing a shoe that has been broken down and lost its support, which could cause problems.
Don't forget to come see us for your next pair of shoes to ensure a proper fit!