How To Buy Running Shoes [infographic]

by | Feb 18, 2019

Shopping for running shoes is unnecessarily complicated. Much of that has to do with the crazy amount of choice you get when you walk into a running store but it’s all made much harder by everyone’s differing opinions on what the best running shoe is.

Each shoe company then also markets itself as having superior technology to their competition with shoes that will make you faster with fewer injuries.

But the research tells us something different…

The truth is, the best pair of shoes for you are the ones that feel the best on your feet. Shoes that feel comfortable to run in are the ones you’ll perform best in, not the ones with the latest tech features.

I know that sounds oversimplified and it’s tempting to believe the promise that new tech will make running easier. But remember, shoe companies are driven by marketing, not science.

So, forget what Nike and Asics have told you. Here are the facts.

Despite over 40 years of shoe technology research and advancements, running injury rates have not improved. Statistically, still around 8/10 runners will get injured (to varying degrees) in a 12 month period. So the question is, do shoes play a role in this?

For years we’ve been told that wearing the ‘wrong’ shoes will make you susceptible to injuries like Runner’s Knee and Plantar Fasciitis. Although there is some evidence to suggest a link between footwear and injury, it isn’t as significant as we previously thought.

You vs. The ‘Experts’

One of the biggest mistakes runners make when choosing footwear is selecting based on other people’s recommendations rather than testing and trusting their own perception of what feels right.

Your running friends, Podiatrists, and Physiotherapists will all have opinions about the best running shoes on the market. They might even tell you what shoes you need to run in. But the reality is, unless the shoe feels comfortable it’s not right for you.

As a Physio, I used to be guilty of this. For years I used to recommend only Asics and Brooks to all my patients. I also told everyone to stay far away from Nike Frees. Although this advice was clinical and based on my experience, ultimately the advice was wrong.

Physios are often asked, “what shoes should I run in?”. Patients want a definitive answer to that question. They want to go to the store and feel confident buying the right shoes. Replying with something vague like “it depends on what feels comfortable” isn’t what people want to hear. It can also make the Physio sound like they don’t know what they’re talking about. So, Physios name a few shoes they like and trust, and send their patients off to the running store.

The problem is, your Physio can’t predict what will feel comfortable – and that’s the most important thing. So take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt and trust yourself more than the experts.

Next time you’re on the hunt for a new pair of running shoes use this infographic to help you shop smarter and choose the right pair without wasting time or money.

Size and Fit

Your running shoes will probably be a half or full size bigger than your other day-to-day shoes. This is because running makes your feet swell. Having extra space in your shoe will accommodate for this and prevent uncomfortable pressure around your foot midway through your run.

But going half a size bigger doesn’t mean you buy ‘loose’ shoes. It’s important that your foot and particularly your heel feels secure and locked in place.

Test Run

Don’t commit to shoes without test running them. Walking around the store is not the same as running 5 miles. If you’re a road runner, ideally test the shoes outdoors. Many running stores now offer test trial periods so you can trial the shoes and return them if they don’t feel right. If your local store doesn’t allow that, at the very least test run them on the store’s treadmill.

Explore But Don’t Venture Too Far

While you’re in the store take your time and try on as many pairs as you can. You might be surprised by the brands you haven’t considered before! However, it’s smart to stick to styles that have been comfortable for you in the past. That’s to say, if you’re used to running in high support, rigid shoes (and they feel comfortable), don’t go buying minimalist shoes. A sudden change like that will get you injured quickly.

The Transition Period

No matter what shoes you get it’s important to give your body time to adjust and adapt to the new pair. Keep your old shoes around for a few weeks and alternate them with your new pair. Wear your new shoes on shorter runs and slowly build up the mileage.

Thank you for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this article please spread the love and share it with your running buddies!

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ABOUT ALINA KENNEDY

ABOUT ALINA KENNEDY

Alina is an Australian Physiotherapist, Strength & Conditioning Specialist and avid runner. She works exclusively with runners in injury rehabilitation, prevention and performance improvement. Learn More Here

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