Exercising Right: Selecting Your Best Running Shoe
Tips for choosing the right shoes to get your run on
-The Betty Editors
The beauty of exercising by running is that all you really need to do it is a pair of shoes. Lace them up, head out the door, and you’re off. But making sure you have the right pair of shoes is vital to ensuring that you run right and get the maximum benefit with the least amount of stress on your body.
We asked Betsy Hughes, co-owner of Track Shack, a running-gear store in Orlando, to give us the rundown (sorry!) on what you need to know to select the best shoes for you.
Where do I even start in selecting a running shoe-there are so many brands, styles and features?
It’s easy to get lost when buying running shoes because there are so many styles and brands and things to consider. Start by bringing your current shoe and favorite socks to your local running specialty store and let a specialist measure your feet and evaluate what you need based on your running habits, goals and recent aches and pains. That means you are not allowed to just choose the shoe for your favorite colors.
After your feet are measured, try on a minimum of three pairs, walking and running in them to determine which is most comfortable.
Running specialists can help you to see the things that you miss about your shoes, even the small things. We had the most bizarre thing happen last week. A guy came into our store because a podiatrist had advised him to come see us and he was walking very strangely and was in a lot of pain. We sat him down and had him take off his shoes and we found that the paper that comes in from shoeboxes at time of purchase, was still inside his shoe!
What does it mean to overpronate? How do I know if I’m doing it?
Overpronating is not a bad word! Most of us roll our feet inward to some degree as we walk and run. Have someone watch you run. You know you are overpronating if they tell you that your foot crashes inward toward your arch. Also, if your shins or knees hurt after running it is likely you pronate.
Once I find a shoe I like should I stick with it, or change things up once in awhile?
We would love it if they didn’t ever change our favorite shoe, but every season most shoe styles will likely be changed due to research and development at the shoe company. The change could be good or bad for your feet. However, we never recommend stockpiling your favorite shoe because you never know. You shouldn’t buy more than two pairs of shoes at once because shoes can go bad, even sitting in a box!
How often do I need new running shoes?
Depending on how far you like to run and whether they are used just for running, you will likely get anywhere from four to six months out of a good running shoe. Sometimes you can get as many as nine months. Depending on the surface you are running on, your shoes may last longer. For instance, treadmills have less impact on the shoe and you will get more time on your shoe if that’s where you primarily use them.
Does it matter what socks I wear with my running shoes?
Socks make a huge difference. Ladies with small feet sometimes wear their husband or boyfriend’s socks and it makes a big difference in how their feet feel in the shoe. A sock should feet snug, around the heel. It should also be a moisture-wicking fabric, cotton is a no-no in running.