Thursday, March 3, 2011
How to Buy Running Shoes
I was thinking last night on my run that all I really do on here is go blah blah blah about my running progress and that maybe I should actually write about something that will be helpful to readers. What better place to start than informing people on how to start running? Running is free and that's pretty much the beauty of it BUT it's probably wise to buy some decent shoes before you get going. I spent two years working at a local running store and I definitely learned A LOT about, well, everything that has to do with running.
You might think that running shoes are running shoes, right? Wrong. Every brand makes excellent shoes and every brand makes some not so great shoes. Let's start with the types of running shoes out there. There tend to be two categories of running shoes: neutral shoes and stability shoes. Neutral shoes are softer and have less dense foam in the insole. Stability shoes have a denser foam on the inside and keep your feet rigid. Neutral shoes are built for people who don't over pronate (their feet don't roll in.) Stability shoes are for people whose feet roll in. The stability will help you stay efficient and keep your body in alignment. To find out what kind of shoes you need, I highly recommend going to a running specialty store and being fitted. Sometimes you can tell from sitting to standing how much your foot spreads out and changes in size. There is something out there called "the wet bag test." It says that if you put your wet feet on a paper bag and look at the outline you can tell by your arches what kind of shoe you need. (The theory is high arches=neutral shoes, flat feet=stability.) Don't do it!!! It's very often inaccurate. For instance, I have high arches but guess what? I over pronate a lot! I ran in neutral shoes for years and seriously hurt my knee so it is really important to get into the right shoes.
You can find running shoes for any range of price but it's probably better not to get the $45 shoes from TJ Maxx. Go out and spend $100 on your shoes. I know you're thinking "what a racket!" but for the extra $55 you are getting a shoe with more cushion, more features, less time sitting on the shelf so the materials aren't disintegrating, and a knowledgeable sales associate (gasp!). Your feet will thank you.
(That shoe above is my holy grail running shoe. I love you Nike Triax! xoxo)