How to choose running shoes

There may be no better and more easily accessible exercise than running. Whether it’s on the asphalt or on trails in the countryside, almost the only skill required to practice this sport is knowing how to choose a good pair of running shoes wide feet high arch that suit your needs.

Choosing running shoes according to the surface

The first condition we must take into account when choosing running shoes is to think about the type of terrain or surface on which we are going to run most often.

If the goal is to improve our brand in popular 10k events, a lightweight shoe can help. However, if outdoor running prevails, it is advisable to choose a more resistant, more protective model.

If your activity is mixed or depends on the time of year or the area you are in, you can explore hybrid shoe solutions that fit well in any context. Or simply have a pair of shoes for each condition that you can switch between.

Road running shoes are designed to cushion and absorb the impact of repetitive strides on paved or tarmac roads, even the firm surface of a treadmill. They are flexible enough to allow the foot to bend in the forefoot and move naturally from the strike to the thrust phase of the stride.

Their soles are designed to be used well on hard surfaces, and are smoother, with shallower tread marks on the soles. These soles balance traction with efficiency, and the heel reinforcements are positioned to promote forward motion.

However, shoes for runners in the field or on rougher, more irregular surfaces have sturdier soles with more robust uppers, designed to resist abrasion from rocks, sticks and weeds. Even some trail models have a thin, protective plate between the midsole and the outsole to protect the feet from sharp stones or roots that can be stepped on.

The soles are designed to give traction on softer, looser surfaces, with deep treads that grip the surface to keep balance on steep hills and tight turns. Also, other elements in the sole are arranged so that they can give traction when running uphill or help to brake when running downhill.

Most brands offer hybrid versions of their most popular models (you can see shoes here) that combine these elements in a seamless way so that you can gain on any surface you choose to run on.

Shoe models according to support and stability

The other decisive factor when choosing running shoes is the shape of your feet. The shape of the arch, the instep and the way they are supported when you step is decisive for the fit of the shoe and the improvement of running performance.

The natural rocking or inward footfall is called pronation. The outward movement is called supination.

Most people have a small degree of pronation or supination, but if the foot swings too much, it is advisable to benefit from a stabilizing shoe that helps you improve and combat certain problems that may arise from the type of step. Problems can range from muscle injuries to bone wear in the feet and legs or even spinal deviations.

The stability of the foot during the race is also important. To stabilise your gait by preventing your ankles from twisting, it can be helpful to look for stabilising shoes. They are designed to limit side-to-side movement as the foot hits from the heel strike to the toe impulse on each stride.

They use varying densities of foam or gel inside the midsole, positioned to distribute the impact of each step and to distribute the amount the foot supports while striking and leaving the ground.

Every runner is different, so there is really no rule for selecting a stabilizing shoe. Soft stabilization is generally appropriate for runners whose feet swing a little more than 15 degrees from the midline. A moderate one may be useful if it goes beyond those 15 degrees.

Although it may seem exaggerated, running continuously subjects the body to movements and postures that, if they are wrong, can lead to certain pathologies that must be avoided from the very beginning.

An adequate study of our footprint and the correct choice of shoes with the help of a biomechanics professional can give surprising results in performance and avoid undesirable ailments.

Height between forefoot and heel

Although less relevant, the “fall” or difference in height between the pad or forefoot and the heel also counts.

Traditional shoes have a drop that ranges from 5 to 12 mm. A running shoe that matches this height difference (about 5 to 9 mm) is designed to stimulate the strike in the forefoot and midfoot. A higher fall (about 10 to 12 mm) stimulates the heel strike. There are even minimalist models that reduce this drop to a minimum, with 0 or 4 mm.

This difference in the fall and the thickness of the cushioning in each area is already a very subtle choice that is often based simply on the sensations caused by its use by the athlete.

Fabric: waterproof and breathable

A shoe made of waterproof fabric is not only more suitable if we run in country areas or with grass and turf, but a better choice if the climate of the city where we usually train is simply wetter and colder. It will help us to keep our feet warmer and dryer and therefore avoid bad movements and rubbing associated with having them wet inside the shoe.

For the same reason, it is better to avoid shoes with waterproof fabrics in hot and dry climates. Sweaty feet are more unstable and, under those conditions, we are adding an extra layer of fabric, weight and insulation to the footwear that can hardly be positive.

A requirement we tend to forget about these waterproof capacity shoes is the convenience of keeping them clean, so that their fine pores do not get clogged with dust and dirt, something that is more difficult in more “open” models.

When choosing your size, you may notice that the average size you need in waterproof models is slightly larger than usual, due precisely to these waterproof and breathable linings it incorporates, which tend to have extra padding.

Shoe closure

Here we will be emphatic: forget the Velcro closures (if you have ever taken them into account). They cannot be compared to the safety and precise adaptability achieved with laces.

With a classic lacing system, you can vary the pressure on any part of the foot by changing the lacing pattern or by jumping over eyelets at your leisure. In other words, the laces give the shoe a further degree of personalization to your type of runner.

It is impossible for you not to find a type of lace, tie pattern or buttonhole attachment that is not perfect for you, with which you feel comfortable.

Trying on your shoes: it’s not that obvious

The ideal would be to try on the model of shoe that interests us in the middle of a training session, when the foot has the physiognomy and conditions with which we are going to use the shoes.

As that circumstance is rarely possible, one solution is to try them on in the afternoon or evening as they are slightly more swollen and the situation will be more similar to what we find in a race.

Now, once we have the shoes on, how do we know if they really fit? At Priveesport sports shop they give us these tips:

  • There’s about a finger’s width between the longest toe and the front end (toe) of the shoe
  • Neither the heel nor the forefoot or cushion, the two main points of support for the foot, are raised, slipped or rubbed
  • The shoe does not rub or create hot spots on the foot when stepping or walking around in it
  • You can comfortably bend your foot without feeling it pinch or squeeze

When to change the running shoes?

Uh-huh. We have learned a lot to choose a good running shoe and probably the model that fits us requires an investment. But when can we consider that this investment has been amortized? When can we consider, except for obvious disasters, that a running shoe is no longer useful?

Running in a worn-out shoe can cause injury, joint problems and pain. The surface you run on, your weight, and the way you walk will all influence how quickly your shoes wear out. And even if you don’t run often, the cushioning of the insole and midsole will give way with use and lose their function.

Pavement wears out shoes quickly; softer dirt or grass paths are a bit kinder to the sole, although it may attack the shoe’s exterior appearance more.

Most manufacturers recommend that you replace your running shoes after about 750 to 900 km. So, if you run 20 km every week, it’s a new pair at least once a year.

If you’re not in the habit of keeping track of your mileage, you can look for signs of wear and tear that indicate when it might be time to retire your beloved companions:

  • The outsole is worn and the midsole is even visible somewhere
  • The sole is deformed or has grooves that run along it
  • You can’t feel the foam compressing when you press on the midsole with your fingers
  • The heel lining is worn or has lost its firmness
  • The top is worn, has holes or is starting to tear
  • You’ve changed your laces more than twice
  • They smell very bad… even after they’ve been washed

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