In determining how to choose a running shoe, your choice of running shoes can make the difference between having a good or bad experience, running in comfort or pain, and, most importantly, whether you stay healthy or get injured.
The biggest and most common mistake I see novice runners make, is to bargain shop for an inexpensive first pair of running shoes right off the shoe store clearance table, or worse, off the rack at a department store. After all, who wants to pay a lot for shoes when you may not actually use them much? How do you justify a higher priced running shoe? Aren’t you just paying a lot for a logo on the side?
All these observations make sense. But this kind of thinking will likely lead you to the equally logical decision to quit after a couple of miserable runs. Others willwait until they suffer a blown-out knee or serious shin, hip or foot problem. Forget bargains. What you need to start running is the right shoe, not the cheapest. Choosing a running shoe can be an overwhelming task given all the high-tech shoes available today and all the special features each running shoe claims to have.
Here are 3 Simple Steps for Choosing a Running Shoe. Use this as a guide when researching or purchasing footwear.
- Understand Pronation.
- Determine Your Foot Type.
- Select Your Gait Type.
1. Understand Pronation
Pronation is the rolling of the foot from heel to toe through the foot strike. Proper or neutral pronation is hitting the outside of the heel and up to ball of your foot evenly across the front. This is how your foot reduces the stress of impact.
Underpronation is not enough evening out so the outside of your foot takes most of the shock instead of finishing in the neutral position.
Overpronation is too much roll across from the outside to the inside of your foot. This is often seen in people with ‘flat feet’.
To determine your level of pronation, look at your shoes you walk or run in. Most everyone will begin on the outside of the heel, the real indicator would be the wear on the forefoot (underneath the balls of your feet) of your running shoe.
If most of the shoe wear is:
•On the medial (inside) side then you Overpronate and probably need to choose Motion-Control Running Shoes
•On the lateral (outside) side then you Underpronate and most likely need to choose Cushioned Running Shoes
•Uniform across the forefoot then you have a Neutral Stride and are best suited for choosing Stability Running Shoes
2. Determine Your Foot Type
Another method of determining pronation and, ultimately, foot type is by checking your arch height. The easiest way to figure out your arch height is by using the Wet Test. To take the test, wet the bottom of each foot and stand normally on a paper bag. After a minute or so, step off and observe the imprint left by your foot. (Trace the outline with a pencil if you want to look at it later.)
You have a normal arch (neutral pronation) if:
There’s a distinct curve along the inside of your foot with a band a little less than half the width of your foot connecting the heel and toe. (Choose Stability Running Shoes)
You have a low arch (flat feet/overpronator) if:
There’s not much of a curve along the inside of your foot and your imprint shows almost the entire foot. People with low arches are more likely to overpronate, which can lead to overuse injuries. (Choose Motion-Control Running Shoes)
You have a high arch (underpronator) if:
There’s a very sharp curve along the inside of your foot and your imprint shows a very thin band between your heel and toe. People with high arches typically don’t pronate enough. (Choose Cushioned Running Shoes)
3. Determine Your Gait Type
(using the right foot)
Severe Overpronation: The outside of the heel strikes the ground first and the foot rolls inward excessively which means the foot and ankle cannot properly stabilize the body. The best running shoes are Stability shoes or Motion Control shoes depending on the severity of overpronation.
Mild Overpronation: The outside of the heel strikes the ground first and the foot rolls inward slightly absorbing the shock more effectively which allows the foot and ankle to properly support the body. This is the most common foot type. The best running shoes for mild overpronators are Stability shoes.
Neutral: The middle to slightly outward part of the heel strikes the ground first and the foot rolls inward slightly absorbing the shock more effectively which allows the foot and ankle to properly support the body. The best running shoes are Neutral Cushioning shoes for feet that are more rigid
Supination: The outside of the heel strikes the ground first but the foot does not roll inward during the gait cycle. Instead it stays on the outside causing the impact to be concentrated on a smaller portion on the lateral side of the foot. The best running shoes are more flexible Neutral Cushioning shoes.
Keep in mind that these are guidelines and individual modifications may need to be made based on other factors (i.e. previous injuries, the use of orthotics etc)
If you’ve followed all the steps listed above, you probably have a pretty good idea of what type of running shoe you should be looking for and how to choose running shoes. However, it still pays to go to a specialty running store (at least for your first running shoe purchase). The people who work in these stores are knowledgeable and will guide you to the appropriate shoe models.
For more information on selecting a proper running shoe or if you would like to book a free consultation, please contact our office at 905-820-7746 or send Mississauga chiropractor, Dr. Nekessa Remy an email at email@example.com