Why should you listen to me?
I have within the last six months worked full time at a running store that specializes in running shoes and all the problems that accompanies the running lifestyle. I have so far sold close to 1000 shoes and are daily guiding between 10 and 30 customers through a selection process where they get the best shoe for them.
I believe that finding the best running shoe at a given time is paramount to being injury free and ready to run as much as you want. Normal people don't know all the facets of running shoes and tend to simplify the process without knowing the right facts.
This usually results in people buying the same shoe over and over again online, not realising that every manufacturer usually changes their designs from time to time, resulting in a shoe that doesn't fit the same as the old one did.
It's important to notice that I am not an expert that have studied physiology through school, but have gained experience from working with cases and solving them together with running coaches and physiotherapists at our store.
My taste has NOTHING to do with it
People have different tastes, I might love one shoe brand more than others, but I would not use my preferences in order to get you into those shoes. I myself use four different brands of shoes at this moment and my favorite seems to change almost every day. When I guide customers through our selection I try my best not to influence them to select a brand based on my taste, but rather let them decide from what they have experienced in the last 15-30 minutes.
How often should I buy new shoes?
A long distance trainer is made to last between 800 to 1000 kilometers. Remember to keep track and change your shoes before you pass this threshold. Combining two or more running shoes can increase the amount of kilometers a shoe can handle. If you have difficulties remembering how far you have run, consider using a gps service like Strava, where you can enter all your gear in order to keep track of the usage.
Things that doesn't matter!
Many people come to me with an attitude that running shoes should look one certain way, but what I have figured out during the last six months is that this view varies far too greatly. Color and looks have close to no importance when buying new running shoes and should never influence your decision!
Brands are far less important than people think. There is a huge crown of competent companies making running shoes now. People who have set their sights on one brand tend to favour these in the testing phase, purely because they have a bias towards that company's products. What type of shoe you want is a lot more important. All the different shoe manufacturers have their own visions of how a shoe should be, resulting in a diverse market.
Many people overpronate, and this is why all the manufacturers make shoes that are designed especially to increase the support needed on the inside of your foot. Support can be important if you overpronate, especially if you also have weak ankles. There are many overpronators that run perfectly with neutral shoes, meaning support isn't always needed. Soft neutral shoes have less support though and can more easily lead to injury if you don't have the necessary strength.
When deciding what type of support you'll need, it is important to keep the natural movement and not fixate the ankle. Stopping in from it's natural movement results in different and unusual movement patterns for your muscles and tendons, which can overstrain them. It's more correct to support or reduce the ankles motion, than to stop its movement completely.
Heel drop is one of the most discussed aspects of a running shoe. Many are advocating a minimalist running style with shoes that resemble running barefoot.
Research says though that the running techniques that a lower heel drop gives you, can also be taught, and thus it is more important in my opinion to use different heel drop shoes in your training to become a more diverse runner.
What is clear though is that a lower heel drop can reduce the need for support.
How the shoe fits your foot is by far the most important factor. It needs to be a shoe that you are comfortable with and a shoe that fits your running style. To achieve a fit like this you'll need to try the shoe yourself, and not rely on the information from a web page.
Perfect fit depends on a lot of things, and to achieve it by depending on others senses would be pure luck.
It's important to try many models and brands. Every shoe is unique, and every brand tends to mold their shoes after different sized feet, giving a lot of variation in foot shape.
Try them out!
You are buying a running shoe, and you won't know how they feel until you run in them. Try them out in the store, if they have a treadmill to run on, than great! If not, then just run a couple of laps inside, and you'll quickly get a little more comfortable in your choice.
Too much information?
Ask in the comments if you have any question or tips that you use when buying new running shoes. I am always open to feedback, so please comment if you disagree with some of my assessments.
Many of these topics will be explained more in detail later in another article.
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