How To: Choosing your running shoes – some things to consider

As Christmas and New Year approach, it is often the kind of time a lot of people promise themselves to be a lot fitter. Personally, I blame it on the over indulgence during the dark and wintery months, but nothing should really get in the way of a fitter and healthier you. Running is probably one of the easiest and most convenient hobbies to pick up for the sake of fitness. It burns a lot of fat, gets your heart rate in the right zones, and most of all, builds your endurance. Depending on where you live, you may not even need to go far from home. Just put those shoes on, have some running gear, maybe some music, and you’re good to go.

The kind of shoe you choose may have a massive effect on how good or bad your running experience is. For ages I was running in ‘bad/all purpose’ trainers, and while I was still able to run, the performance was never great. As soon as I decided to take the plunge towards getting some proper footwear, everything improved. Most importantly, I started to enjoy running, something I never thought would happen.

Here are a few simple tips to consider and watch out for when considering new shoes. Once you have some of the answers, you can head to any or most shops you like and find something for yourself.

Know yourself

There are quite a few factors that can help you choose the right kind of shoes for your feet. Some of them include:

  • Your age and gender
  • Your height and weight
  • Your running experience
  • How much you run
  • You running pace
  • Any injures you may have had in the past year or so

All of this can help you choose the right kind of footwear. Gender and age determine your bone structure, and height and weight define how you run. Injuries are important to consider too, as you don’t want a shoe that will make things worse.

Know your feet

You thought we were going to cover this under knowing yourself, right? No. Your feet (and knees) are the most important tools for running. For shoes though, it is all about the feet.

Learn the kind of arch your feet have. Is it flat, is it medium, or is it high.

Also, find out how wide your feet are. While most shoes are designed for normal feet, if you find them tight or uncomfortable, you can find shoes that are designed for a wider fit as well.

An easy way to check fit is to go to a shop and try shoes on. The internet may be an easy way out, but it always helps to try shoes out before you buy them, specially when it comes to fit.

Know your gait

While walking and running may look similar, we all have different gaits. Some of us run with our toes coming in first, some run flat and some bring the heel in first. Similarly, we also focus on the left or right side of our feet as we run. Your shoe needs to give you the right kind of support for these various gaits.

If not, you may find the sole of the shoe wears out unevenly and causes injuries such as twisted ankles.

Know your running surface

Another important thing to consider is your running surface. Depending on the kind of route you take, you may need shoes for roads, trails, or a mix. They all vary in terms of the grip they provide. The right grip for the right surface is quite important, as you don’t want it to hinder your run or cause you slip or trip.

Don’t be scared to ask for help

The best and easiest way to get help is to ask for it. Most dedicated running shops will have some kind of a setup that helps them help you choose the right shoe for you. There are a few factors as stated above, and most people who help you will be able to identify them for you.

A cheeky method a lot of people use is to go to these shops and get your gait, etc identified, and use that information in your future purchases. Some people also go as far as finding the right shoe and then buying it on the internet at a cheaper price.

Do you have any tips for buying the right shoes? Do you know of any shops that offer a great surface? Do let us know in the comments section below.

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