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How Important Are Running Shoes, Anyway?

Jun 28,2018

            You’ve been doing all the right things. You’ve been training regularly, eating healthier, and getting better sleep. Everything seems to be going in the right direction, except when you finish working out. Your knees and hips are sore and your feet are tired. While it’s normal to have some muscular soreness after a tough workout, did you know that wearing the incorrect shoes for your feet can make your workouts harder and cause you additional pain? This doesn’t apply solely to running shoes. Wearing the best shoes for your feet and workout type can make a significant improvement on your performance.

            Your shoes are the foundation of most exercises you complete on a regular basis. Add this to the fact that you are applying anywhere from three to eight times your body weight in force on your lower limbs, depending on the type of workout you’re doing, and you’re going to want to take care of those puppies. The correct pair of running or workout shoes is going to help reduce the risk of injury to your lower limbs. Some of the most common running injuries (shin splints, tendonitis, blisters, etc.) can be effectively eliminated by wearing the proper shoes that aren’t too worn down.

            So, where do you begin? Entering the world of running – or any other sport, for that matter – can be daunting for a new runner. You want to make sure you get the best information and the best equipment for you and your body. We’ve outlined a few tips below!

1-      Go to a store that specializes in running or workout shoes.

This is important for multiple reasons. The first being that the staff at these types of stores are going to have a better understanding of your needs and which shoes will best complement those needs. While you might be okay picking up a cheaper pair of shoes from a department store, you are relying on luck that they’ll fit the way they’re supposed to, provide support where your foot needs it, and be the right quality for the training you do, how much you weigh, etc. There are a lot of factors that go into running/workout footwear, and the staff at a running shoe store can help guide you in the right direction. Really good stores will even have treadmills that you can walk and run on to test out shoes, analyze your stride, and make sure your feet are getting the correct amount of support they need.

2-      No two feet are the same, so there isn’t one BEST running shoe out there.

A frequent question among newer runners is: “Which shoe is the best out there for running?” This can be confusing as there are “best of” categories for most things we purchase from cars to technology. The reason this doesn’t work for running or training shoes is that everyone’s feet are going to have different needs depending on their physical structure and exactly what type of training they are doing. Some people have feet that rotate too far inward, known as overpronators, while others have flat arches. These are things you’ll want to take into account when trying on new shoes. You’ll also want to share any previous injuries with the staff member helping you analyze your feet and stride. If you have recurring injuries, this can be very telling on where your old shoes aren’t giving your body the proper support or stability.

3-      Your shoe needs will probably change over time.

A common rule you’ll hear amongst runners is that running shoes need to be replaced every 200-500 miles ran, depending on how often you run, total mileage, and how much you weigh. Every time you need to purchase new shoes, it’s a good idea to get your feet and running stride re-analyzed at a running shoe store. As you train, you may lose or gain weight, your stride might change, and your muscles are going to get stronger. All these changes can directly impact what type of shoe you’ll need, so it’s always a good idea to check in and make sure you’re still wearing the best shoes for your feet.

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