I’ve been running for a long while now, and running is a big part of my life. Not only I write this blog, that is mostly dedicated to running and proper nutrition, but I also look for ways to improve in every aspect. Hence, this time I’m here with a guide to selecting the right running shoes.
The importance of appropriate footwear for runners cannot be underestimated. Having the right pair of shoes not only minimizes the risk of injury, it also tremendously increases your performance, fitness level, and joy of running.
Finding suitable running shoes does require some knowledge though. In this article, I outline the most important things to be aware of, so that you can also find good running shoes. Trust me, it makes a huge difference!
Foot types and pronation
Modern running shoes are designed using advanced technology, like running sneakers designed by the Japanese designer Jun Takahashi which can be found in the NikeLab Gyakusou collection at SVD, but to be able to reap the benefits of the latest innovations, you first and foremost need to know which foot type you have.
A key term in this context is pronation. This term refers to the natural movement of the foot when it lands on the ground, during walking or running. People have a different ability, or tendency, to pronate. Your ability to pronate essentially determines which running shoe suits you best.
There are basically three foot types.
People with very flat feet and low arch are called overpronators. They make up approximately 25% of runners, and their feet tend to collapse inwards when running. This increases the risk of injury since shock absorption and stability is reduced. Overpronators, therefore, need shoes with more stability, support, and motion control.
People with very inflexible feet with high arch are called underpronators. They make up approximately 5% of runners, and they tend to run on the outside of their feet. To avoid injury, underpronators need well-cushioned shoes that absorb more impact and promote a more natural foot motion.
The remaining 70% of runners have a normal arch and neutral pronation. Normal pronators can in most cases wear almost any running shoe.
Trendy doesn’t necessarily mean right
A common mistake that many people do, is that they buy running shoes based on a recommendation from a friend, or based on what’s currently trendy. Please don’t do that. What works for your friend may not work for you, because you have different feet. Also, never buy shoes only because they look nice. You need to find out which foot type you have; then you can try shoes of different brands. All the major brands (Nike, Adidas, NikeLab, Puma, etc) have a variety of shoe models for every foot type.
If you don’t know what foot type you have, you can either go to a specialty running store and ask their staff for help, or you can take a simple test at home. It’s called the Wet Test and essentially consists of wetting the sole of your foot, stepping onto a piece of paper, and then comparing the shape of your footprint with images of the common foot types, which are easily found online. Now you are well-prepared to go shoe shopping!