5 things to consider when buying running shoes

December 16, 2014

Running is an affordable and healthy exercise, and all you need to get started is the right pair of running shoes.

5 things to consider when buying running shoes

Know how you run

Analyze your running style before buying athletic shoes.

1. How you run: Your running shoe should match your natural stride. People who run on the forefoot for example, don’t need to worry about heel cushioning as much as people who run heel-to-toe.

2. Runner type: Running mechanics fall into three categories: pronation, overpronation and supination. Pronation, or neutral, means you land squarely on your feet. Overpronation favours the inside edge of the foot. Supination favours the outside edge.

3. Arch shape: Runners with flat feet have low or no arch and need extra support through the midsole to keep the ankle and foot properly aligned. Runners with normal or high arches can do with more general cushioning. Find out what kind of arch you have.

4. Weather: You need shoes to match your climate. Ventilated shoes in dry heat or waterproof shoes in wetter climates.

5. Shoe size: You may think you know your shoe size, but our feet change throughout our lives. Start by having your feet measured for the right size.

Types of running shoes

Cushioning shoes: Built for maximum shock absorption, cushioning shoes are best for runners looking for heel-to-toe comfort, who don’t need a lot of support or motion control. Cushioning shoes are also the best trail running shoes.

Stability shoes: These shoes can help flat-footed runners with overpronation but also offer neutral runners extra support in the midsole. Features like solid posts in the middle and extra ankle support help you run longer.

Motion control shoes: If you suffer from overpronation, motion control shoes offer extra support to protect your knees and shins from undue stress. They secure your feet in place with dual density midsoles, foot bridges or roll bars.

Barefoot running shoes: Barefoot shoes offer the bare minimum protection between your foot and the ground. Designed to encourage your natural stride, barefoot shoes offer no support and little cushioning.

Minimalist running shoes: These lightweight shoes are halfway between barefoot shoes and regular running shoes, provide little cushioning or support and encourage a natural running motion.

Running shoe shopping tips

  • Shop for a running shoe later in the evening as your feet tend to swell throughout the day and during exercise
  • Don’t be afraid to give shoes a little test run in the store to make sure they give you the cushioning and support you need
  • If you start to experience aches and pains after running, it may be time to replace your shoes

When you're ready for a new pair, take your old running shoes with you to the store. An experienced salesperson can tell a lot from the wear pattern. Enjoyable running starts with good running shoes that match your body structure and goals.

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