Are you a runner? Do you know how to choose the right running shoes for you? The process involves more than just picking the size you think you wear off of the rack. You really need to understand your feet, so you can choose the right style, size and type of running shoe that properly fits you and works well for the way you run.
Our bodies each function differently, and we don’t all run with a biomechanically efficient gait. If you’re choosing shoes that aren’t made well or don’t fit well, you can be setting yourself up for injuries and time off from running. However, by choosing a quality shoe that fits properly, you’ll be able to compensate for gait inefficiencies, maximize your training efforts, and help prevent overuse injuries. Plus, a good pair of running shoes will last longer – potentially saving you some money.
Steps for Choosing the Right Shoes
- Have your feet examined by a certified professional. They can analyze your gait cycle and determine how you pronate as you walk or run. Pronation describes the movement of the foot from heel to the toe through the foot strike. During proper or neutral pronation, your foot hits the ground on the outside of the heel and you roll the weight of your foot up to the ball of your foot evenly across the front. Proper pronation reduces the stress of impact on your foot. However, if your feet are out of alignment due to structural issues, you may be overpronating or supinating when you walk or run. When you overpronate, the outside of your heel strikes the ground first and your ankle rolls inward excessively. Overpronation can lead to overuse injuries. During supination, your ankle rolls outward. Supination can cause pain and injury in your ankles. Also, your legs will absorb most of the impact while running instead of your arches.
- Have the professional measure your feet with a Brannock device to determine the arch height of both of your feet. Each foot can have a different arch height – normal, low/flat or high. A foot with no or low arches is considered a flat foot. If your arches have fallen, you’ll tend to overpronate as you run. If you have high arches, you’ll tend to supinate when you run.
- Choose running shoes for your arch height and gait type. If you have a normal arch with a neutral stride, choose a stability running shoe that offers moderate pronation control. If you have low or flat arches and overpronate as you run, choose a motion-control running shoe. If you have high aches and supinate as you run, choose neutral cushioned running shoes.
- Determine what kind of cushioning you need. If you’re a large runner, you’ll need more cushioning since you have more body weight impact to absorb. If your heel absorbs most of the impact as you run, you’ll need more cushioning in the heel. If your feet strike the ground at midfoot, your midsole area will need extra cushioning.
- Pick the right shoe shape for your feet. Look at the bottom of the shoe to figure out its shape. Choose a running shoe with a semi-curved shape if you have a normal gait. Choose a shoe with a straight shape if you overpronate. Choose a shoe with a curved shape if you supinate.
- Make sure your running shoes fit properly. Refer to our Shoe Fitting Guide for more information on foot measurements, shoe sizing and how to obtain a proper shoe fit.
By following these steps, you should be able to find the right running shoes that fit comfortably. However, some runners may find they need additional foot support for issues with overpronation or supination. Or, they may suffer from foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis or heel or arch pain. If this is the case, you may want to consider getting custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Custom Performance Orthotics. These custom orthotics are made specifically for each of your individual feet. These orthotic devices will align your feet into the proper biomechanical position your feet need as you run. With ezWalker® Custom Orthotics, you’ll find that you run more efficiently. Plus, your body won’t have to compensate for poor positioning and decreased stability, so you’ll have less pain in the joints of your feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
Ultra thin and ¾ length, ezWalker® Custom Performance Orthotics fit in running shoes with ease. So for maximum comfort when you run, order your pair today.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.® And you’ll run even better.