Do not underestimate the power of your shoes to propel you forward or hold you back. We are usually drawn to the bargain shopping experience, and so we tend to do the same with our running shoes. But many of us will not bargain shop for a bad quality pair of pumps or work shoes, so why do we do it with the shoes we use to work out?
However, I do understand that the task of picking a good quality pair of running shoes is daunting, especially since we are not experts and find it difficult to understand the technical aspects of shoe design. But there are a few simple steps you can follow to choose the right pair of shoes for your feet.
What type of feet do you have?
Everyone has different feet, and so the shoes that we feel comfortable in are also very different. Between your heel and the balls of your feet, there is an arch on the inside of your feet, right? Depending on how high or low that arch is, you would need a different type of shoe. To measure you can dip your feet in water and step on a surface where you can see the outline of the shape the water would make when you step off (e.g. paper towels).
- A regular arch is where the part of your foot that touches the floor when you stand is a little less than half the width of your foot. This also means that there would be less pressure on the left or right side of your foot as you balance. People will regular arches should focus on comfort and stability, and so you should stay away from shoes where the whole sole has no inward arch. And definitely stay away from shoes where the sole has an outward arch. An example of a good shoe for the regular-arched people is the Adidas Women's Supernova Glide 3. See the curve where your foot arch is? That’s exactly what your foot needs.
- A low arch (also called overpronation or flat feet) is where the part of your foot that touches the floor where you stand is almost the entire width of your foot. So there is a lot of pressure on the inside of your foot where there shouldn’t be because you roll inward as you walk. Stay away from shoes with an arch as those would be uncomfortable. An example of a good shoe for the low-arched people is the New Balance 1123. See how it seems to focus more on motion from the heel to the toes as you land? That’s what your foot needs.
- A high arch (also called underpronation) is where the part of your foot that touches the floor where you stand is pretty thin, and almost not visible. There is a lot of pressure on the outside of your foot because the inside basically does not touch the ground. You need shoes that have a lot of cushion to absorb shock so that they could push some of the pressure off of the outer foot. An example of a good shoe for the high-arched individuals is the Nike Air Max+ 2011. See the cushioning on the shoe? That’s what your foot needs so your ankles don’t get sprained. I’m partial to Nike for underpronation because they make a lot of well cushioned shoes.
Although this is a great start, I want to stress that if you have a running store near you, please go there. They would measure your foot, your arch and degree of pronation, as well as your posture, what surface you run on, how long you’ve been running, and how much you weigh. Take your old shoes when you go to a store because they help the clerk figure out how you run. All the shoes I’ve named above are from major sneaker companies that have specialty stores. Go to one if you have a store near you. If you do not, use the tips above. And remember that your shoes could make or break your workout routine, so please invest in them.
If you have questions, let me know. It is not an easy process selecting the right shoes if you are serious about working out, but when you get the right ones, it is well worth it.
Cheers Eights & Weights!