7 Tips for Selecting the Right Running Shoes

Running shoes are a runner’s most important athletic purchase. You don’t want to walk out of a store with shoes that seem to fit, only to find them uncomfortable when you take your first run in them. Following are seven tips for purchasing the right running shoes.

Make running shoes an end-of-day purchase to ensure fit

Did you know your feet actually enlarge as the day goes on and you’ve take more steps? Your feet swell when you’ve been on them for a while, so buy your running shoes near the end of the day — not in the morning.

Bring the socks and inserts you wear with your running shoes

Socks vary widely. Wool to cotton to synthetic, and thin to extra-thick, they can change the fit of your running shoe. Bring the socks you’ll be wearing with the new running shoes, along with inserts or orthotics you normally wear.

Get your feet measured before you buy

Even if you think you know your shoe size, have your feet measured before buying new running shoes. Your feet tend to get wider as you age. If you’re a recreational runner and there’s been a hiatus since you last ran, whether because of an injury or another reason, your feet could be a different size. Pregnancy also can change your shoe size; your foot may be bigger after the birth of your child.

Your feet may not be exactly the same shape and size; the two sides of your body may not be exactly symmetrical. Some runners buy a different size for each foot. Too, if you’ve had foot surgery, your foot size may have changed.

Make sure you can move your toes easily

Road Runner Sports says you should be able to “play the piano with your toes.” The shoe should be wide enough at the top and around your toes and the front of your foot for you to wiggle your toes freely. If the shoes are too narrow, you won’t be able to distribute pressure correctly when you’re running.

Experts advise to have about a half an inch between your forefoot and the front of the shoes. Your big toe shouldn’t feel tight against the wall of the shoe, and your little toe shouldn’t be wedged against the side.

Know your foot arch

If you have medium arches, you can wear a variety of running shoes. These “neutral” shoes provide a moderate amount of cushioning and arch support.

If you have high arches, you likely place more force on the outside edges of your feet (called under-pronation), so a shoe with extra cushioning helps reduce the shock of impact. Some running shoes can provide up to 50% more cushioning than others.

If you have low arches, your feet roll to the inside to a significant degree (overpronation)  when they hit the pavement. Look for running shoes that provide stability. These shoes may include a “post” of firmer material on the side of your shoe at the midsole where your arch is.

If you have flat feet or very low arches, you may want to ask for running shoes that have motion control features that include firmer heels and a design that counteracts your overpronation.  

Choose lighter shoes

Running with heavy shoes increases the load on your body. If all else is equal, choose the shoe that weighs the least.

Go for a test run around the block

A good shoe store permits you to take a short test run. Jog around the block at your usual pace. Do the shoes feel comfortable? That’s the true test.

Call or book an appointment online with Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center. We keep your feet in tiptop shape.

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