It's hard to underestimate the importance of your running shoes. Sure, the perfect running shoe for one person may not be perfect for another, but you still need to take a variety of factors into consideration when shopping around for footwear. If you're in the market for new or first-time running shoes, don't just grab whichever pair looks the most comfortable or has been sitting on the shelf longest. Follow these five tips to find running shoes that will support your feet and prevent injuries and health conditions in the future.
1. Choose a firm sole
You want the midsole of your running shoes to be firm. It should feel like running on a solid, thick mattress or roll of quarters. A good way to determine the firmness is by using a floor scale, and you can measure this with an untied shoestring. As for the heel sole, stay away from spikes and other similar bases used for sports like soccer. The sole of your shoe should maintain a firm platform in comparison to how it feels when you walk on hard surfaces, such as concrete or wood.
2. Avoid narrow toe boxes
If your toes feel cramped or uncomfortable when you're testing out new running shoes, it's time to go back to the drawing board. The toes of running shoes are meant to be wide-fitted for comfort and support. Toes that are too narrow can lead to a whole host of foot problems, from hammertoe to ingrown toenails. You'll feel miserable after your next run if your toes curl up on the trail. Instead, choose something that gives your toes room to wiggle free of any pressure or pinching.
3. Avoid too much cushioning
The cushioning inside running shoes is meant to increase comfort by absorbing shock during impact, but too much padding can add weight without providing adequate support for the foot. As such, you're surprisingly more likely to face an injury while running in overly cushioned shoes.
4. Pay attention to the structure
Running shoes are made from a variety of materials, depending on the manufacturer. One key factor to consider is how structured the sole is. You want to make sure your shoes don't bend or twist when you move them in different directions. This can lead to discomfort while running and even blisters.
5. Look at your arches
If you have high arches, try running in lightweight running shoes with a flatter sole structure like trainers or racing flats. If you have low arches, opt for more support and cushioning with a shoe that has a higher-cushioned midsole. If you're not sure what type of feet you have, don't hesitate to contact a podiatrist. While most runners only consider seeing a podiatrist when they need treatment, these professionals are great at helping you prevent injuries, to begin with. A podiatrist can thoroughly examine your feet to determine your arch height and other factors that impact your needs while running, helping you choose the right shoes for you. Contact a podiatrist for more information regarding sports podiatry.