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How to Pick the Right Pair of Running Shoes

Are you ready to start a new healthy habit of running or a seasoned runner looking to replace an old pair of shoes? Either way, it is very important to buy the right pair of shoes for you - not necessarily the ones that are the most technically advanced or on the sale rack!

At least for me, it is so tempting to hit the sale rack when I begin my search for new shoes. It kills me to spend anymore than I absolutely have to, but with running shoes, I have found, it is one thing to not spare any expense. Finding a great pair of running shoes is sure to save most people money with comfort and safety. Finding a pair for $49 does not do a lot of good if you hurt your knee the next day!

There are so many brands and styles of shoes that it's hard to know where to start when you walk into a retailer. If you're not sure where to start in the process, note the techniques listed below for finding the perfect shoe for your needs.

Find Your Foot Type:

Figure out how you run (outside of your foot, outside to inside, or straight down the middle). The easiest way to determine how you run is to look at an old pair of running shoes. If the shoe is worn on the outside of the heel and rolls inward excessively, you have a pronated foot type - the majority of the population (60%) fits into this category. You're more likely to have this foot type if you are flat footed.

If you have high arches, your foot is rigid and doesn't pronate (roll inward) so there is not an effective shock absorber. Roughly 30% of the population has high-arched or supinated foot types.

If you land on the outside of your heel and roll inward slightly to absorb shock, you are of normal weight, you are considered the most sound (biomechanically) runner. Only about 10% of the population has neutral/ideal feet.

Tips for Your Trip to the Shoe Store:

  • Examine your old shoes for tread wear.
  • Socks are important. Wear your running socks when you try on.
  • If your feet are different sizes, buy for the larger one.
  • Shoes with better breathability will help curb sweating.
  • Grooves in the sole offer more flexibility.
  • Flat feet need support rather than flexibility.
  • If you tend to overpronate, look for shoes that will lace higher up so you can better customize the fit of the shoe.
  • Shoe should feel comfortable right way - they don't need to be broken in.

When to Buy New Running Shoes:

  • Look at the soles. If they are worn out or very unevenly worn it is time for a new pair.
  • If you've traveled roughly 400-500 miles on your treadmill or it's been six months, it is time for a new pair. Remember, if you are wearing your shoes for other activities, those miles count too!

What questions should the salespeople ask?

  • How long have you been running?
  • How much mileage are you doing per week?
  • Are you training for a particular event?
  • Where do you do most of your running?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • Are you aware of any foot problems?

Make sure that your shoes fit properly, below are some tips to help:

  • Check for adequate room at the toebox by pressing your thumb onto the shoe just above the longest toe. Thumb should fit between the end of the toe and the top of the shoe.
  • There should be adequate room in the widest part of foot. The shoe shouldn't be tight and your foot shouldn't slide around.
  • You heel should fit snugly against back of shoe without sliding up and down when running.
  • Run around in the store - try on a hard surface, not just on the carpet to get a true feeling on how the shoe will react outside.

Simple solutions will get your running. The more you know about your feet and what activities you will be partaking in, the more prepared you will be to find the right pair of shoes. Shoes are important for the health of your feet, but for the rest of your bones and joints as well.

Robb Ksiazek is an author and web publisher writing about mind, body, and soul for He believes that our bodies have the power to heal themselves, we just need to allow them.


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