There are a few things we encourage you to think about before you buy a new pair of running shoes. A few simple checks, a tweak here and there and an expert’s eye, examining your feet, can work wonders and ensures you will buy the best fit for your feet.
There are a lot of brands and even more styles for you to choose out there. They are basically all made for the same purpose but target slightly different issues or support various areas of your foot, which can make the whole process a little bit confusing. But you are not alone! This guide is here to help you find exactly what you are looking for and narrow down the endless supply of choices to not only enhance your performance but also to keep you injury free.
This next section covers nearly everything you need to know to get the right shoes for your feet. Use this guide and a recommendation from your Podiatrist, and you will never find yourself standing confused in front of a wall full of running shoes ever again.
- Your foot type
If you have a supination foot type, then a natural shoe will be the right fit for your feet. Your new pair of running shoes should have a slightly wider last to create stability and to prevent the shoe from giving way on the lateral border when put into action. If this sounds like your type of feet, then look out for a shoe with adequate cushioning to prevent ankle sprains and other nagging ankle injuries. Without favouring any particular brand, our podiatrists as well as our patients have been quite happy with the Brooks Dyad runners and would recommend them to anyone with this particular foot type.
Consider yourself lucky if you have a neutral foot type because you are an easy one to please! Nothing too fancy. Maybe just something with a little bit more flexibility through the midfoot and some added cushioning. Over the years, we have recommended a range of runners such as the Asics Nimbus, the Brooks Glycerine, the Mizuno Enigma, the Nike Vomero or the Adidas Supernova Glide to runners with a neutral foot type.
“Guidance” is the magic word for this foot type. If you are diagnosed with a mild pronation, then we suggest, you hunt for a pair of shoes with a firmer heel counter and less midfoot flexibility. Unlike other foot types cushioning isn’t something you have to worry too much about and we recommend a moderate support, which can be found in the Asics Metarun and Kayano, the Mizuno Inspire or the Saucony Guide for example. Other alternatives for this foot type are the Nike Odyssey and the Brooks Ravena.
Support, Support, Support is what you are after! You want a pair of runners with a firmer heel counter, moderate cushioning and a re-enforced midsole for less flexibility. You might find your runners a little stiff to start with but don’t worry; they will wear in and fit perfect with time. Ask your sporting good store for the Asics 3000, Mizuno Paradox, the Brooks Transcendence / Adrenaline or the Saucony Hurricane for optimal fit and maximum comfort.
Motion control is the key for maximum performance and comfort.
A wide last and less cushioning are what you are after if you have a severe pronation foot type. Also, make sure you purchase a ridged shoe with at least 1cm heel pitch. For best results ask your footwear specialist for the Brooks Beast or the Asics Divide.
- Ankle motion
Without getting too technical, we have to get technical here. However to keep it simple, let’s just say your ankle motion determines the heel pitch in your shoes. Each shoe is slightly different and can range from 0-12mm with a few exceptions.
We say exceptions because there is a good chance that almost everyone, reading this blog, will fall into one of the four categories below.
Less than 90 degrees’ dorsiflexion – 10-12mm heel pitch
Moderate ankle motion
90 degrees’ dorsiflexion – 6- 10mm heel pitch
Good ankle motion
10 degrees dorsiflexion – 4-10mm heel pitch
15 + degrees dorsiflexion – 8-12mm heel pitch
- Injury History
If you have a history of injuries such as heel pain, shin splints, calf pain or Achilles pain then make sure your shoe has a heel pitch of 10-12 mm. Also, be careful when buying your pair of runners and make sure your shoes don’t bend through the midfoot.
- Type Of Running
Competition vs. Training vs. Speed workouts vs. Long Runs. There are so many variables when it comes to running. For example, racing shoes are very different to training shoes and should only be used for the occasional speed work session and race events. These shoes are lighter, flatter and more flexible than the average pair, which increases the risk of injuries considerably. Doing your due diligence and carefully evaluating the purpose for your runners can save you a lot of headaches in the long run. We suggest you take the time and talk to your sports store’s shoe specialist about your training regiments and goals to get the most appropriate footwear that fits your needs.
Are you running cross-country or on solid ground? We would like to encourage you to think about your footwear the same way you think about the tires of your car. Off road cars have solid tires with a lot of grip for enhanced traction whereas race tires are slick and thin, designed for speed and performance. Well, your shoes are no different! Off road shoes are a lot firmer than your everyday pair of runners. They are designed for stability and support with features like the extra grip or water-resistance, which in return changes the structure of the upper on your shoes.
- Running style
The more you land on your rear foot, the more cushioning, support and heel pitch you need. Over the years working with professional athletes and everyday runners, we have seen a lot of different foot placements which all have an impact on your feet. Your heel pitch should be between 8-12mm if you come down rear first when running. If you have more of a mid-foot running style, then we recommend a heel pitch between 6-10mm or 4-8mm if you come on your forefoot.
You are ready now! Our guide should help you decide on the running shoes you want and what level of support you need. We all been there and know how overwhelming it can be to buy the right pair of runners to not only perform but also to stay injury free. We hope this guide makes your selection a little bit easier and helps your thought process in deciding on the best possible fit for your feet.