How to Pick Running Shoes
“A good shoe cannot help you win races or run faster, but a shoe not fit for your running needs or foot shape can no doubt impede your ability to run well.”
How to pick the optimal shoe for you may be one of the most misunderstood aspects of running.
For years it was standard practice to go into a specialty running store and have the employees examine your feet for how they are shaped and in what way they move.
You’ve likely experienced this. Barefooted, you walk back and forth or stood stationary as your feet were observed, maybe run on a treadmill. Possibly took a wet-test. Probably asked or told that you pronate, which means your foot and ankle move inwards. The outsole wear on your old shoes was observed.
Yet, the kicker is that these methods of prescribing footwear have not been shown to be reliable when it comes to picking footwear that help prevent injury.
Below are some features that we feel you should seek out in your running shoes, no matter what brand you decide on. These are the defining characteristics we’ve built into all of our models:
Light Cushioning and High Flexibility
These two generally go hand in hand, but in opposite directions.
The ability to feel the ground is very important while running. Cushioning does indeed play an important role for many runners, however we believe there is a point of diminishing returns. If you have too thick of a sole, the flexibility suffers. Your feet move in a variety of directions, so why shouldn’t your shoes? Yet if your shoes are too thin, you may suffer on farther runs.
It’s about finding the amount of cushion best for your own running, which can vary depending on the distance and speed of each workout.
In an effort to interfere as little as possible with normal foot movement and load bearing, we’ve not included any roll bars, wedges, or additional stability/motion control features in our footwear.
We feel feet are best when allowed to function in as natural a way as possible.
Shaped Similar to Feet
The best shoe for you is going to be the one that’s most comfortable. This means toe-boxes should be plenty wide (but not too wide) to allow for proper toe splay, outsoles should be curved in instead of flared out, and same heel as midfoot height (your own feet do not have a raised heel!
Generally we recommend that a properly fitted shoe has half to a full thumb width of extra space in front of the big toe. This is to prevent your toes from rubbing against the front of the toebox.
Doing long runs with lots of downhill can cause toe blisters or black toenails due to the foot sliding forward in the shoe and rubbing, however having too small of a pair of shoes can do the same. Also shoes of the proper size will allow your toes to spread well when the foot is on the ground, which is good for balance, stability, and power.
There are of course times when some type of support is helpful, however for most people that may not be the case. How your arch appears during a wet-test or stationary observation is not true of your arch while in motion during the run gait.
We have shoes that may feel more comfortable to a high or low arched person, due to the shape of the shoe’s midfoot, however none of our shoes offer arch support in the traditional sense.
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