When you decide to start running long distances or to join the next marathon, the very first thing you need to do is purchasing a decent pair of running shoes that fit your feet perfectly. We recommend you to visit a specialist running retailer who is able to give independent and experienced advice.
Good running-store employees will, most probably, ask you whether you’ve run before, how many miles you plan to do and what kind of surface you’ll be running on. The answers to such questions will help them to steer you in the right direction. Many of these retailers can also offer some type of ‘running analysis’, whereby your style is analysed using a treadmill, a camera and computer. From this, they’ll be able to tell what sort of a runner you are and what kind of shoe you’ll need.
Running shoes fall into a variety of categories designed for different runner types. Descriptors such as ‘motion control’, ‘support’, ‘guidance’ and ‘neutral’ all relate to shoe types and feature technologies that complement the runner’s style – or gait – or correct any imbalances. You’ll most likely hear the term ‘pronation’ bandied around in any conversation about buying running shoes.
Running shoes for pronators and supinators
Pronation is the rolling of the foot from heel to toe through the foot strike. Pronation, in itself, isn’t a bad thing because it helps your feet and legs absorb shock. However, excessive pronation – rolling in too much – can cause increased injury risks. That’s referred to as over-pronation, and the answer to it is finding a shoe with good motion control or guidance properties.
A less frequent problem is supination. Runners who do this tend to have inflexible feet (and, usually, high arches, too) and, when they land, their feet don’t make much of a rolling-in motion. The result is a lot of pounding force and so they need a shoe with plenty of cushioning, or support, to absorb the shock.
When you’ve established what kind of shoe you’ll need, it comes down to choosing a brand. You might have a personal favourite, nevertheless it’s worth keeping an open mind about your shoe choice. Many runners experiment with different brands and models until they find just the right fit, feel and functionality.
Feel the shoes in action
In the end, a proper fit is the crucial step in finding the right running shoe. A shoe that suits will be snug, but not too tight. Once you’ve found running shoes that really feel right, walk/jog/run in them as much as you can. Some stores have a treadmill, others allow a run around the car park and some don’t allow you to do anything other than bounce up and down. However it’s important that you feel the shoes in action.