How can a runner find their bet running shoe? I am undertaking a lot by even attempting to scratch the surface of this topic in a 400 word blog post, so let’s dive right in!
I included the words “for you” in the title of this post, because the best shoe really is whichever one is right for YOU. Not necessarily the shoe that the most professional runners wear or the one that your best running buddy wears.
I think one of the best ways to illustrate this is to look at the recent history of running shoe trends. It has really not been very long since “barefoot” running shoes were everywhere. Lately we have gone the opposite direction and shoes with very big soles are flying off the shelves.
Here are three things to consider if you are new to the world of running shoes or if you are looking to make a change.
Go to a run specialty store if you are able to.
A run specialty store is just what it sounds like – a store that specializes in selling running shoes and gear. There are some that have clusters of locations around the country. (Fleet Feet, Road Runner or Pacers) These stores also have an online presence. Other running specialty stores are local, privately owned small businesses. In Duluth we have Duluth Running Company, Tortoise and Hare and Austin Jarrow.
The staff members at these stores are often runners themselves and are great resources. Some locations have treadmills in the store and will let you run in a pair of shoes to get a feel for them.
Buy from a store that will let you return a worn shoe within a certain period of time.
Even if you run on the store treadmill in your new shoes, you won’t really get a feel for how an entire run (especially a long run) will go. Even one run won’t be a perfect indication because the shoe might be a little stiff when it comes out of the box. At the store, be sure to ask the sales associate if they have a trial period during which a worn shoe can be returned.
Have an experienced clinician watch you run before you go shopping.
We have not yet gotten into a lot of the confusing parts of choosing a running shoe. Keep your eyes open for more upcoming posts on topics like pronation, motion control, “drop” and carbon fiber. To simplify the process, an athletic trainer, physical therapist or podiatrist can evaluate your running gait to help you demystify your foot. For example, did you know that everyone is supposed to pronate some when they run? We often hear it talked about like a bad thing, but your foot has to pronate as part of the running gait.
If you want to know more, reach out to Superior Running Medicine for a video gait analysis! I would be thrilled to help you find your best pair of shoes.