Friday, October 14, 2011

Fitting Shoes for your Feet

Asics Gel-Kayano 17
While this blog covers what's currently hot and fashionable in sportswear, when it comes to running footwear it's best not to choose a shoe solely on looks. Why? Because running shoes are manufactured specifically for each "type" of runner which refers to the biomechanics of one's feet. Choosing the wrong type of shoe can cause pain or even worse an injury.

Here are some guidelines to steer you in the right direction:

  • Figure out your running "type."  There are three "types" of runners: supinator (or underpronator), overpronator, and neutral runner. Supination and pronation refers to the outward and inward motion of your foot as it rolls during running or walking.

    • A running specialty store can help gauge your biomechanics by analyzing your running gait and measuring your feet.
    • Bring your old running shoes in so they can look at your wear pattern on the bottom to help determine your biomechanics.
    • In addition, bring the socks you normally run in as well to help make sure the shoe is a good fit.

  • Determine your shoe category.  There are three main categories of running shoes:  cushioned, stability and motion control.  Each is designed to address the above mentioned three "types" of runners.

    • Running shoes vary by the amount of support they provide, based on the degree to which runners supinate or pronate. This is why it's important to find a pair specific to your needs as it can help avoid injury down the line.

  • Test out shoes.  Most running specialty stores will allow you to run a bit in the shoes after trying them on to make sure they feel comfortable.

  • Be prepared to spend money.  A good cushioned running shoe will cost anywhere from about $75 to $150 so be prepared to spend some money. You might think you'll save money by buying a cheaper pair but often those shoes do not offer the same support or cushioning and will break down faster. 

  • Replace your shoes periodically.  Running shoes typically need to be replaced every 300-500 miles. The number will vary depending on different factors such as: the material of shoe (foam will break down quicker than polyurethane) and weight of runner (a heavier person will break the same shoe down faster than a lighter person).

Happy running!

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