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When it comes to running, the first thing you need to do is choose the right pair of running shoes. People are generally under the impression that the costliest shoes of the top brands are the best. This is a huge misconception. You should choose the pair which gives you the perfect fit after examining your feet, your stride, and your running style. Here's an expert guide on how to choose between different types of running shoes, whether you're planning for road running, trail running, or cross fit training. A wrong pair of running shoes will make you feel highly uncomfortable and you could end up with painful ankles, heels or shin pain.
There are two basic criteria for choosing the right shoes in order to reach your goal: the frequency (the number and the length) and your pace.
1. Running frequency
The number of sessions is a good indicator to determine your running profile: regular? Intensive? Your pace will then guide you to find shoes to fill.
If you are used to running more than three times a week whether it is for training or preparing for a race, it is preferable to choose footwear with good cushioning (and socks) that will ensure maximum comfort. Your pace will then determine the most suitable footwear for your needs.
2. Running intensity
For long runs or competitions from 6 to 8mph
Are you planning to complete more than three long runs per week at a speed of less than 8mph? Choose footwear with good cushioning that will reduce shock waves and ensure maximum comfort. The stability of the footwear will also be important for supporting your feet throughout your long outings.
For slightly faster running and competitions faster than 8mph
We suggest slightly more lightweight shoes. These have a more dynamic structure, providing better boost.
For achieving personal best times with speeds >9mph
If you enjoy running fast and achieving personal best times, you will regularly be running faster than 9mph during your running or training sessions. An ultra-light, fast, and dynamic shoe will be best for beating your personal best time. It is a perfect complement to the other models depending on the type of outing and session.
3. Know yourself
Before buying yourself a pair of running shoes, you should know a few things about yourself such as your body weight, how often you run / plan to run, etc. The most important thing is knowing your stride, which plays a major role in comfortable and safe running.
Know your body weight
For a runner, your body weight matters a lot because every step that you take while running puts two to three times of your body weight onto your feet, joints and muscles. If your shoes don’t have proper cushioning, the shock waves will get transmitted directly to your feet and joints resulting in heel and joint pains.
Know your running frequency
If you are running 4 to 5 days a week, then you should go for shoes with advanced cushioning and support. If you run once a week for a distance of around 3 miles, then you can go with the basic shoes with basic cushioning.
4. Know your stride
Human feet are categorized into three different types (Neutral, Over-pronation and Under-pronation). Each of these types of feet have a different running style and requires a different set of shoes. The details are explained below:
In this type of stride the heel strikes the ground first followed by the forefoot and toes. Due to this, the entire weight of the body is distributed evenly on the feet. The shoes that are recommended for such runners should be a neutral shoes having better heel cushioning and medial support.
In this type of stride the inner heel strikes the ground first followed by the big toe. The foot rolls inward while running, making it more difficult to stabilize the body. The shoes that are recommended for such type of runners should have stability or motion control.
Under-pronation is the exact opposite of over-pronation. In this case, the outer heel strikes the ground first followed by little toe and the foot rolls outward. The shoes that are recommended for such type of runners should have cushioning and quick heel-to-toe traction (flexibility).
5. Know your running surface
Running surfaces are broadly divided into three different categories. The shoes for each of these surfaces are designed differently. It is extremely important to know on which surface you are going to run on. The details of each of these categories are explained below:
Road running or plain surface running
These shoes are designed for running on plain surfaces with slight irregularities. These are very light shoes that have good cushioning, flexibility and stability as per the stride requirement.
Trail running or rough surface running
These shoes are designed for rough surfaces having lots of ups and downs and rocks such as hills and natural terrain. It has good support, stability and a rugged sole to protect your feet from sharp rocks. It also has good traction for better grip.
Treadmill running or indoor running
These shoes are designed for running on treadmill and indoor activity. These are very light, flexible and has soft soles with good ventilation.
It is always suggested to buy running shoes at the end of the day because continuous movement of your legs throughout the day makes your feet swell. Your shoes should fit you when they are at their maximum size. Your feet will swell while running and it should not feel uncomfortable.
You should always go for shoes having a gap of at-least ½ to 1 inch between your big toe and the front end of the shoes. While running, your feet slides insides the shoe so you should have enough space for it in order to avoid black nail which can be really painful.