With so many models available on the market, picking out the most suitable running shoe can be a tricky task. As a general rule of thumb, your decision should be based on comfort, fit and functionality. However, it is also worth noting that different runners have varying needs, and taking into account your personal attributes will help to determine which type of model will be best for you.
To make the decision process a little easier, here are some useful tips to consider when choosing running shoes:
While it’s easy to get hung up on aesthetics, comfort is a crucial factor when performing exercise. Trainers that are too tight can cause friction that will result in blisters and overtime, can result in swelling around the ankles.
A snug fit can enhance running efficiency, however it is worth remembering that feet naturally expand as you move around. Shoes that are made with elastic, breathable fabric are designed to mould to the shape of the foot to aid flexibility, allow moisture to evaporate and provide maximum comfort.
To be able to reach the speed you want, the shoe will also need to be lightweight and have good outsole grip. Clunky shoes will be less streamlined, impede agility and generally slow you down. Likewise, shoes with poor outsole grip can lead to slips and trips, especially on wet, slippery surfaces.
You may also want to check the inside cushioning around the heel and front of the shoe, as this area can facilitate bounce and reduce landing shock. If your feet require extra support, you will need a shoe with a sturdy heel cuff to hold them firmly in place when in motion.
If you run and exercise regularly, your shoes will suffer a large amount of wear and tear. It is therefore important to consider shoes that are durable and can withstand regular use. As a general rule of thumb, a running shoe should have good strength and stability without compromising on flexibility.
Shoes specially designed for exercise are now tailored to suit different types of running and pronation types (the way in which your foot rolls when it lands on a surface). For example, motion controlled shoes are designed for people with flat arches, whereas cushioned shoes are suitable for feet with high arches. Your stride and movement pattern may also need to be taken into account.
Fit for purpose
It is also important to think about what type of exercise you will be doing. Different terrains, such as cross country or road running, will require different types of shoe. Training and racing will also require different models. For example, lightweight and narrow trainers are ideal for long distance and fast paced racing. Spike pads can also be used to enhance grip, especially when travelling across uneven or rugged terrain.
To find the perfect shoe, you can head to companies such as Le Sports which offer a variety of bespoke, high quality shoes that are specifically designed for exercise.
Don’t forget that the design of running shoes is fundamentally different to normal trainers. While it may be tempting go for the cheapest, or even most fashionable model, it’s important not to cut corners. Ultimately, the purpose of the shoe is to offer support, prevent injury and to help the body cope with the various demands of physical activity.
Image by Josiah Mackenzie.
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