Choosing a Running Shoe
Whether you are participating in a marathon or jogging on the treadmill at the gym, running requires proper shoes in order to compensate for the constant impact your body absorbs.
Running shoes have cushions made act like a shock absorber on a car allowing your body to feel comfortable while cushioning the impact. In the same way tires on a car determine the type of terrain, style and comfort a ride is, the same goes for athletic shoes. You definitely get what you pay for.
Stepping into a shoe store can be quite an overwhelming experience. With so many possible choices just with running shoes, you’ll first need to consider factors when choosing the right one. Many hours of research and development done by shoe companies have inspired many designs specifically to prevent injuries caused by running sports. Choosing the perfect shoe is highly influenced by the mechanics of your feet. Keep in mind that everyone is unique and there is no perfect shoe, but if you take the time to narrow down your particular style of running shoe, your feet will thank you in the long run.
Types of Running Shoes
There are three types of running shoes. They’re specifically designed for certain foot types. The types of shoes are related to the preventative injuries that occur from wearing training shoes. It is this reason why it’s critical to choose your foot type first.
Motion Control running shoes are designed for people with severely flat arches or flat feet. When the foot excessively rotates inward after each step, this is called overpronation. The shoe compensates for this by having a medial post in the sole thus providing rigid support and stability.
Cushioned running shoes are designed for high arched feet. The foot has barely any rotation upon lift off, which is called underpronation or supination. The impact is much higher thus the joints receive an excessive amount of shock. Cushioned shoes are designed to absorb the shock, which is why it is essential for people with this type of foot.
Stability running shoes are for normal or medium arched feet. When the foot travels and strikes the ground the runner has a normal pronation. These shoes have light support on the medial side and well cushioned midsoles. Some rigidity occurs enough to allow slight rotation upon lift off.
A fairly new type of running shoe that’s been gaining popularity across many sports has been "barefoot shoes". It sounds like an oxymoron, but these special shoes are designed to fit naturally around your entire foot including the individual toes. The idea behind the design is to create a natural body awareness and range of motion between the ankles, feet, and toes as if you were running barefooted, thus the coined term, "barefooting".
Determine your Foot Type
A great way to determine your arch type is the barefoot wet- test. Just wet the bottom of your foot and step onto any dark colored surface that will create an imprint. Based on the footprint you can get an idea on the type of feet you have. Use the diagrams as a guide to compare your footprints.