Selecting an appropriate pair of running shoes from the vast array available on the market poses a considerable challenge. This article aims to assist you in picking running shoes that align with your specific requirements.
Choosing the right running shoe entails considering various factors, including your needs, material, color, style, and price. However, for the purpose of this discussion, we will forgo the secondary considerations and concentrate on the primary factor: selecting a shoe designed to cater to your running preferences.
Criteria for selecting running shoes
Apart from running attire, shoes stand out as the most crucial component. Several criteria come into play when choosing running shoes, including:
- Your needs and running style
- Styles tailored to meet your requirements
- Design of running shoes
By taking into account the running needs of numerous individuals, we can categorize running shoes into three distinct groups:
Road Running Shoes
Road-running shoes are specifically crafted for running on asphalt surfaces, including asphalt roads, sidewalks, and other common terrains. These shoes typically feature a simple and lightweight design, with elastic soles providing good flexibility and thin foot pads.
Trail Running Shoes
Trail running shoes are designed for traversing challenging terrains such as hills, sandy paths, and uneven surfaces. These shoes generally have a slightly larger design compared to standard running shoes, with thicker materials, particularly in the sole for added stiffness. Additionally, the shoe’s bottom often incorporates a thicker and more robust tread compared to regular running shoes.
Common Running Styles
To select the appropriate running shoes, it is essential to understand your running style. Typically, there are three distinct running styles: normal, pronation, and supination.
In a normal running style, the foot nearly makes full contact with the road surface. Opting for shoes that provide enhanced stability and balance is advisable.
Pronation occurs when, during running, the feet tend to land on the inner edge while in contact with the ground. It is recommended to choose motion control shoes featuring a stiffer heel and thicker cushioning to provide adequate support for the foot.
Supination, or underpronation, happens when the feet land with the outer edge making contact with the ground while running. For this style, selecting stability shoes with soft soles—avoiding excessive hardness—is recommended to ensure a smooth landing on the outer edge.
A Guide to Selecting the Right Running Shoes
Upper (the upper part of the shoe)
The upper refers to the entire top section of the shoe. Nowadays, most shoes use a combination of fabric and mesh. Different brands may employ various materials, but the upper is typically seamlessly stitched onto the sole.
To choose the appropriate upper, inspect the shoes for tear resistance, elasticity, lightweight construction, and sufficient thickness to protect the foot. Additionally, ensure that the toe area is intact. These visual and tactile criteria are the initial benchmarks for selecting a quality upper.
Ankle Collar (shoe collar)
The ankle collar serves to protect your ankle and is usually crafted from softer and more pliable materials than the upper. However, some shoes may feature thinner collars.
To make a selection, first, assess the collar’s feel with your hands, and then try on the shoes to determine if the collar securely fits around the heel without slipping or causing discomfort.
Heel Counter (sole protection pad)
Modern sports shoes commonly incorporate a heel counter to stabilize your heel. This section of the shoe is typically stiffer than other parts of the upper, providing both heel protection and balance.
To evaluate the heel counter, gently apply pressure to the pad. If there is no distortion, the shoe can be considered suitable for use.
Toebox (the part that wraps the instep)
The toebox, responsible for protecting the instep and toes, usually possesses a certain degree of elasticity. When choosing, ensure that the shoes cover the instep while allowing your feet to move freely by trying them on for fit.
The outsole is the foundational part of a shoe and is typically constructed using a combination of mixed rubber or other highly resilient and durable materials.
Careful inspection of the outsole is essential. Check for any signs of peeled glue and assess whether it aligns with your specific running requirements.
The midsole holds paramount importance in a running shoe. Usually composed of materials such as foam particles or air cushions, this section often incorporates various advanced technologies to deliver optimal comfort to runners.
When selecting shoes, prioritize those with a resilient and elastic midsole. I recommend trying them on, walking, or even jumping a few times to ensure the base remains non-deformable, chip-free, and comfortable, as these are key criteria for making a suitable choice.
The insole, also known as the inner sole, may be stitched together with the shoe insole. It is typically made of softer and more elastic materials to enhance the comfort of your feet.
Wear the shoes and assess whether your foot fits comfortably on the insole. If it feels tight or uncomfortable, consider opting for another pair.
Curvature of the Toe
Running shoes are designed with a specific curvature tailored to the contours of your foot bones. The aim is to ensure comfort and reduce pressure during running.
A quality shoe conforms to the natural curvature of your foot and movement. Rest assured that most running shoe models have undergone calculations by manufacturers to ensure the right curvature for runners.
How to Choose the Correct Shoe Size
Determining the right shoe size is a straightforward process that involves drawing your foot shape on paper and measuring it.
- Step 1: Locate a sheet of paper and place your feet on its surface.
- Step 2: Stand on the paper with or without socks, ensuring your feet are firmly positioned.
- Step 3: Use a pen to outline the shape of your foot on the paper.
- Step 4: Utilize a ruler to measure the length and width of the drawing, providing you with the dimensions of your foot.
Men’s and women’s running shoes often exhibit variations in size. If you’re able to visit a store, you can directly select shoes. However, if an in-store visit isn’t feasible, consult the size chart of the specific shoe brand you’re considering for guidance.
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While many brands may share the same shoe sizes, some may offer unique sizing variations for added comfort. To navigate these differences, seek input from users or consult the advice of the brand’s staff. Armed with these insights, you can confidently find a suitable pair of running shoes and kickstart your running journey.
Johnny Jacks was born in 1985 in Texas, USA. He is the founder of Good Health Plan and is passionate about helping people improve their health and physical well-being. With over a decade of experience working in the healthcare industry, he currently works at Goodheathplan.com – a blog that shares knowledge on beauty and health.