Choosing The Right Shoe For The Job (Running)

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Much like tools, shoes are built for specific purposes and this is a point that is really important when it comes to your fitness and athletic training goals. You wouldn’t think twice about wearing your stilettos to weightlift so why would you wear a set of Converse hi-tops to do a marathon? The result could be disastrous like this video below:

Deadlift in Heels Epic Fail

 

I’m going to start off talking about running shoes. As the name implies, running shoes are meant specifically for running. Before we buy a fancy pair of runners we need to determine what kind of surface you’ll primarily be running on or activities you engage in more often. Shoes are broken off into different categories:

 

Road-running shoes are shoes that are built primarily for running on pavement and some packed surfaces with slight irregularities. These shoes are usually light and flexible, and made to cushion or stabilize the feet on hard and even surfaces.

 

Trail-running shoes are shoes that are designed for running off-road where there are more irregularities like mud, rocks, roots and other debris. These shoes have aggressive tread for better traction and are fortifies to offer stability, support and underfoot  protection.

 

 

Cross-training shoes are shoes that are designed more for gym use where contact with the ground is preferred over a thick sole platform for foot stability during longer distance running.

 

 

Minimalist/Barefoot shoes are shoes that are designed to provide minimal to no support to the feet, allowing for more natural movement in the feet and with training having the the mid to front of the foot striking first when running rather than the heel. This is due to the fact that the heel on these shoes are not elevated as compared to that of a traditional running shoe.

Due to muscular imbalances, injuries and other issues, our running style may be less than ideal, particularly for the longer distance running. Luckily for you, shoe engineers have taken this into consideration and have designed different cushioning types in running shoes to account for people’s running gaits. It is highly recommended that you have your gait accessed before you invest in a pair of running shoes to avoid injury or problems. Ask your fitness professional or running coach to help with this. Here are types of running shoes you’ll find on the market:

 

 

Cushioning shoes are shoes that provide increased shock absorption and a little bit of arch support. This type of shoes are good for people that have a neutral, mild pronation or mild supination when they run off pavement. The Super-cushioning shoes variant offers up to 50% more cushioning that your traditional runners.

 

Stability shoes are made for neutral runners or  those with a slight overpronation while they run. These shoes usually have a firm post in the arch for reinforcement.

 

Motion control shoes are shoes built for more severe overpronation. These shoes offer firm support with stiff heels or built on straighter lasts to counteract pronation during runs.

 

Barefoot/Minimalist shoes are shoes made for people who wish to have more natural movement in their runs. Traditionally running shoes are built on an elevated platform encouraging a heel strike. While running barefoot a mid to forefoot strike is preferred, however, most of us have been climatised to running in a shoe with heel elevation and will have a heel strike motion even when running in a barefoot or minimalist running shoe. It is recommended that you consult with a  fitness trainer or running coach that is familiar with barefoot running mechanics before attempting to make a complete switch over to this style of running.

 

That’s quite a bit of information about shoes isn’t it? Well don’t get too intimidated with this information. The best tip I’ve got to offer is that you should go talk to someone who can access your running gait before you decide to buy those fancy looking runners even if they look cute and match your outfit. Being comfortable and injury free is always more preferable. If you are really serious about your running go to a specialty shop, they generally have people there that can assess your gait as opposed to your big chain sport stores.

 

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