As you prepare for any type of running, the shoes you choose will be one of the most important decisions you make. Here are some factors to consider in your search for the right shoes:
- Three shoe types: Stability, neutral and motion control – Neutral shoes are designed for people who are biomechanically efficient and tend to have higher arches. About 45 percent of runners wear this type of shoe. Stability shoes are a little bit stiffer in the middle of the shoe to add some support to moderate arches that collapse inwards. Stability shoes are worn 50 percent of runners. Motion control shoes, which are worn by about five percent of runners, are for very flat feet and tend to be the stiffest shoes. Figuring out what your feet do when you move is the first step in determining what type of shoe you need.
- Function over fashion – We all love our shoes to look nice, but when it comes to running shoes, the shoe that feels the most natural is usually best. Make sure to try on a number of different models from a number of different brands, and don’t be afraid to step outside the box in regards to color!
- Size up – Many people have gone through their running careers with shoes that are too small. Compared to your everyday shoes, you want your trainers to have about a thumbnail’s width of room between your longest toe and the edge of the toebox. Even though you may have worn a size 10 all your life, you’ll most likely be a 10.5 or 11 in a running shoe. It’s just a number!
- Rotating shoes – A recent sports-science medical study showed that runners who rotated through two or more different pairs of shoes throughout the duration of the 22-week study had a “39 percent lower risk of running injury than those who almost always ran in the same shoes” (Link here). Speaking from personal experience, my marathon training went fantastic when I rotated through about three different pairs of shoes. So, if you can afford it, I would highly recommend it.
- You’ll get what you pay for – Be prepared to spend at least $100 for a pair of quality running shoes. At that price point, the manufacturer is able to use higher quality, longer lasting foam and better materials in the upper (the materials above the foam), which improves the fit.
- Don’t forget socks! – Never underestimate how your sock will affect your run. Avoid cotton and focus on polyester and nylon socks. Those two fibers are designed to move moisture from your feet and they fit snugger to the foot, decreasing the chance of friction. Also, because of the higher needle count in technical socks, you’ll get socks that will last longer. They’re fantastic!