The mark of a good pair of running shoes is the impact it has on your running. A decent pair should protect your legs and feet from repeated impact and should also be flexible enough to prevent injuries. However, choosing a pair that suits your pace and gait requires a little bit of research.
No two pairs are alike and what might suit one runner may be completely unsuitable for the next. Each of us has a different way of running. Our feet are not the same size, we don’t weigh the same and our feet land differently compared to others. The shoes you get should accommodate these features for a comfortable run.
The best pair is always one that suits how you run. If you land heavily on your feet for instance, you will need shoes that are cushioned for impact and runners who are lighter on their feet will prefer a minimal pair. If you prefer to run for hours, you will need a comfortable pair that has bounce as well as cushioning. For a race, lighter and faster shoes are winners.
Determine how you run
To determine how you run, check your old pair of shoes. The wear pattern will tell you how your feet land and which part of the foot lands first. Here are some terms that can help you figure this out:
Pronation–If you have pronation, your shoes will have a wear pattern that is centralized at the ball of your feet. This refers to the inward role of the foot as the heel impacts the ground. If you have neutral pronation, then that means you are in prime running condition. This pronation absorbs impact which relieves stress on the knees and joints. Efficient runners are known for this trait.
Overpronation – If the wear pattern inside your shoes is along the inner edge, it points to overpronation. This means that your feet have a natural inward roll when you run as most runners have. However, this also opens you to more injuries so you need shoes that can control motion. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 is one of the best running shoes for overpronation.
Supination – This is also known as under-pronation and will appear as the wear around the outer part of the shoe. It occurs when the feet roll in an outward direction on impact, resulting in insufficient impact as you land on each foot during a run. For one of the top supination/under-pronation running shoes, check out the Nike Free Run 5.0.
Most runners don’t supinate but if you do, go for running shoes that offers flexibility and cushioning. This will prevent injuries and protect your feet.
Barefoot or Minimalist running – Most running shoes allow the feet to hit the ground heel first due to the elevated cushion. If you prefer to run barefoot, that means your mid or forefoot strikes the ground first.
To determine the type of feet you have, check the height of the arch through a ‘wet test.’ Drench both feet and then stand on a paper bag for 10 seconds then observe the print you get. The size of the curve you get will help you determine the type of running shoes you should get.