When choosing footwear for daily use, we think of a limited amount of vaguely defined factors that make up our decision making process. We want them to look good, be a good fit, and preferably come at a bargain price. While these things matter, choosing running shoes is a significantly more complex process. A poor choice of running shoes can significantly affect your performance and increase the risk of injury. So it is important to consider a few key factors when making your choice.
When speaking of type, it is important not to confuse it with style, such as low-top or high-top. In fact, looks are perhaps the last consideration you should have. Running shoes are to be chosen the same way as professional gear – being fit for purpose is paramount. Running shoes usually differ based on the terrain you’re looking to run on and whether you’re planning to run competitively in them. Most running shoes on sale are for the casual jogger, who runs around the paved parks of the city. These shoes are designed to be a compromise between all running shoe attributes that you will be looking for. They’ll tackle rough pavement and remain in good shape for a few months of regular use, but won’t be the lightest option out there, nor the best option for trail running. If you are looking to go into forest trails with different terrain and changes and elevation, then look specifically for trail running shoes. They will be a bit more robust and heavy to keep you comfortable and stable on uneven surfaces. If you want a pair of shoes specifically for a marathon, then for lightweight running shoes. Their advantage, obviously, is in their light weight, at the expense of long-term durability.
Knowing your shoe size is only the beginning. Spending the day at the office doesn’t put your foot through any athletic strain, so choosing a shoe that feels good in the moment you try it on in the store is perfectly acceptable. It is a different story with running shoes. When you’re running your foot constantly spreads and contracts inside the shoe, not to mention that it tends to swell somewhat under high stress. This means that a shoe too tight or too loose will cause significant problems in performance and comfort. Make sure it has the appropriate amount of space where it is important. There should be about an inch between your big toe and the end of the shoe for comfortable movement. The sides of the shoe should be snug, but not too tight, and the foot must rest only on the platform of the shoe. If the sole of the foot is touching the walls, then you’ll need a wider model. Running shoes are more likely to have a selection in width in addition to the general size, so make sure to take advantage of that. Finally, if you are experiencing pain when running regardless of the shoe you buy, consult your doctor. You may need a specific type of sole for your foot.