Running shoes are truly the only equipment you need to run. This is one of the reasons why running is such a popular form of exercise - it is quick and easy to throw on a pair of shoes and just get started.
Picking the right pair of shoes for you, however, isn’t quite so simple. The industry is flooded with tons of options and is infamous for trending on the latest features or styles.
I get it - it’s fun to buy on-trend and the marketing these days can truly convince you that you NEED the latest and greatest pair. I also know that when you are trying to buy what is BEST for YOU, you may hear conflicting opinions depending on the source.
I’ve spent years playing with different types of shoes for myself and looking at a variety of my client’s shoe styles, wear patterns, heel-to-toe drops, lacing configurations, etc.
I’ve spent many hours learning from a variety of running shoe store sales people, I’ve read research and I learned from the running experts in my industry.
Here’s what I know about what NOT to do:
Do NOT select a shoe based on your arch type. That theory is outdated and NOT helpful to reduce injury. 2014 study by Knapik et al concluded that selecting running shoes based on arch height had little influence on injury risk.
Do NOT buy a shoe to control or reduce pronation. This approach has no merit as there is very limited evidence that can link excessive pronation to injury. There are no established standards or rules for measuring pronation. Plus, our feet move a lot inside of shoes so we can’t truly know how much the shoe is actually controlling.
Do NOT shop for the latest trendy shoes. This is unpredictable because we all react differently in a particular shoe. A 2012 study concluded that minimalist shoes improved the running economy for many people, however, several study participants were less economical.
Instead, choose your shoes based on your level of running experience.
1. Experienced Runner without many injuries
Rely on your experience - know what works for you and stick with it
Don’t believe the hype - if you want to incorporate trends, gradually introduce these shoes and rotate them into your weekly mileage
2. New Runner
Try a few pairs in the store and run with them on their treadmill - go with what is comfortable
Try to stay away from extremes (high cushion or completely minimalist) and avoid arch supports or inserts
3. Runner who is repeatedly injured, despite trying different shoes
Realize shoes play a small role and would benefit from a physical therapy running specialist to assess the following
Strength & Mobility
4. Advice for all
Wear a few different shoes through the week (avoid extremes)
Rotating your footwear type can create a variety of different good stresses to your body
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