Running is a great way to get out there to exercise in some fresh air. Most seasoned joggers and runners have long since found a running shoe that works for them. However, those new to jogging may still be struggling with finding the perfect shoe.
Maybe you want to get out there and start jogging to improve your health or shed those extra pounds, but your running shoe, while comfortable leaves you with sore feet, sore ankles, or even a few blisters shortly into the run. This is the biggest indicator that you are using the wrong kind of running shoe for your body type.
Know Your Running Area
Are you running on a nice paved surface like a well maintained road or indoor track? Or are you running the trails at a national park or through the grass? The area you run in heavily impacts the types of shoes you want to buy.
When running on a road, side walk, or indoor track you can go out and buy that nice comfy running shoe. Make sure it is light and flexible so that it will work with the natural bending of your foot while you run. If you are running on a road or side walk, there is no natural padding like grass or padding like at an indoor track. This means you will want to go with shoes that provide the padding for you. Get comfortable running shoes with insoles or cushions so that the hard ground is not so taxing on your feet and knees. However, you want to make sure that padding is in the right places for your type of body to keep you stable and prevent you rolling your ankle. We will discuss this in a later section.
If you are more of a trail runner then great! Trails are a great way to see some interesting sights while jogging. However, you cannot just simply make a grab for that comfortable road running shoe. That is a good way to get hurt. To find a proper trail running shoe, you must look at the bottom of it. Trail running shoes are equipped with aggressive outsoles that provide solid traction on uneven surfaces.
Where as a road running shoe needs to be quite flexible, a trail running shoe should play with the line between flexible and sturdy. You wouldn't want the sole to break or get stabbed by a stick mid run. Make sure your trail running shoe is sturdy, yet comfortable and provides plenty of underfoot protection. If you are running on grass, particularly after the rain or early morning, make sure it has some form of slip proofing as well.
Know Your Feet
It is important when picking a proper shoe to know how both your feet and ankles move when you are running. There are two types of feet that dictate how your ankles pronate and thus require looking for a particular type of shoe. Those types are high arches and flat feet. Pronation is the direction in which your ankles roll when you propel your feet forward. They can either over pronate, in which your ankle rolls inwards, or under pronate in which the ankle rolls outwards.
You can also tell which way your pronate by looking at what side of your shoe wears out the fastest.
To tell if you have high arches, make a foot print and if your foot print curves in at the center almost to other side you have high arches. Those who have high arches tend to under pronate when they run. This means your ankle rolls in towards your other foot. Those who under pronate need to find a shoe with extra motion control and stability to prevent sore ankles and possible ankle injury.
If you have flat feet, where the foot print has little to no visible arch, you are more prone to over pronate. For this type of pronation, you should find a flexible and cushioned shoe that is comfortable for your feet.
Wear Proper Fitting Shoes
When buying a running shoe you should never buy them online unless you have worn them before and they work for you. Shoes, especially when being picked for a specialized activity, need to be tried on first.
When picking a running shoe, take a few laps around the store first or go at the end of the day. Feet swell, even if you cannot see it or do not think so. Feet swell especially when running so aim for a time near the end of the day after you have been on your feet a lot. This will help you get a properly fitted shoe.
When fitting a shoe, never think that if you are a size 8 (or whatever) that it is concrete. Make sure there is at least a thumbnails length of space at the tip of your running shoe. This extra space will accommodate swelling feet and running downhill.
If you use an orthotic or insert for running, or just wear them in your usual shoes, bring it along when trying on shoes! Make sure it fits in the shoe and the shoe still fits properly after you place it in.
If you have a foot type that demands extra stability and comfort like flat feet, you may want to consider buying insoles before buying running shoes. This way you can refer back to my previous tip when fitting yourself for a running shoe.
Lacing Up You Kicks
How you lace your shoes makes a difference? I have heard that all the time. I was surprised to hear it too when I was first told by the doctor that fit me for orthotics. How you lace your running shoes does indeed make a noticeable difference and can help with all sorts of foot ailments when running.
If you have hammer toes, where your toes bend down towards the ground instead of laying flat, it can be painful to run. However, try lacing your laces so that the lace in the bottom rung on your big toe side skips the all the other rungs and goes straight to the top one. This will help you run by lifting up your toes so they do not curl down.
If you have a problem with your heel slipping and it is causing blisters, lace your shoes with a crisscross pattern except for the top set of rungs to lock your heel into place and prevent slipping.
If you have high arches, lace your shoes using the box method to remove pressure from pressure points on the sensitive nerves on top of your foot.