• Alexa

Running shoe 101

I get lots of questions about running shoes and which ones to buy, so I wanted to put together my thoughts on this in one place.

  1. Most important is comfort and fit. Do the shoes feel comfortable and like they fit the shape of your feet? Are there any areas that are tighter or feel awkward?

  2. Buy them bigger than your usual shoes. Your feet expand in length (and a little in width) when you land on them as your arch flattens to absorb the impact and then springs back to push you off the ground again. Leave room for your feet to do this by leaving a thumb width of room between your toes and the end of your shoes

  3. Think about what grip you need. If you want to run off road get some off road shoes with grippy tread, they will make a huge difference to confidence on those surfaces, and how much you slip about. 

  4. Consider having two pairs and rotating them. It takes a day or two for the cushioning in the shoe to bounce back from the squishing it gets during a run, so rotating pairs means they protect you better when you are running.

  5. Retire the shoes once they've done 500 miles. Even if they look clean and bright and undamaged you can't see the deterioration of the cushioning and support which is the bit of the shoe that works the hardest. Retire them from running and donate to a shoe bank, or just use them for non-impact exercise.

Sometimes people ask me questions about brands and types of footwear...

  • I don't recommend brands, find one that fits your feet. Brands tend to have slightly different "template feet" that they design their shoe shape around. Experiment and find the one that makes shoes similar to your foot shape. Some brands spend far more on research and marketing, that doesn't necessarily mean they will be the best shoes for you.

  • Minimal vs standard vs maximal shoes. Oh wow theirs a lot of opinion (and some information!) out there about this topic. My only advice would be to mix it up a bit. Most running injuries have overuse as a contributory factor, this risk gets higher when you load exactly the same areas of your body all the time; one of the ways you can do this is by running in the same style of shoe all the time. As long as the shoes tick the 5 boxes above I don't care if they are minimal, maximal, or more standard shoes just don't wear the same shoe type all of the time!

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