Running doesn’t have that much in terms of fancy gear. Watches, apps, reflective clothes, and headlamps are all nice but not necessary, right? All we really need is a shirt (maybe), shorts, and shoes. Ding, ding, ding! That last one is very important.
We don’t have that much gear but that one thing, our shoes, is extremely important.
Let’s look at it a little.
1. DO NOT buy cheap running shoes.
There is no purpose to buying cheap running shoes. It’s extremely tempting to buy twenty, thirty, or forty dollar shoes. Especially when we know we should be rotating them out every so often. (More on that later). So when we go through so many pairs in a year, it isn’t that surprising that we would want cheap running shoes.
But we can’t give into that.
Cheap running shoes are just that. Cheap. They aren’t made with the same quality so they don’t last, they don’t support you, and they don’t protect you. I went ahead and I spent a year running on cheaper running shoes. I had run before on Nike and Asics and when I went to cheaper running shoes…I hurt. My knees hurt. My back hurt. My feet hurt. Everything hurt.
And I was slower.
But I stuck with it for a full year (I don’t know why) and when I bought my next pair of Nike shoes after that break…my body was so happy. Within a week all my aches and pains went away. I was running lighter. I was going faster. My form was better.
Expensive running shoes are worth it! Go name brand, it’ll protect your body. Running does involve impact on your body but it’s coming through your feet. It would make sense then that we need to give them the very best.
2. Keep track of your mileage and wear.
Each of us are going to wear through shoes at our own individual rates. Heavier people might wear through shoes more quickly than lighter people. Those with different foot placement might wear through their shoes more quickly. There are all sorts of factors but we still need to check our shoes out.
If the soles are bad, the shoe is bad.
This is a little controversial, but if you see a lot of wear on the soles then you can bet the cushioning is well on its way out. A lot of apps like the Nike Run app give you options to keep track of your shoes and how many miles you’ve put on them. If you aren’t into this, a spreadsheet tallying up all of your miles will help. Change ’em out every 300-500 miles.
3. Treat them nicely
This is a personal deal but I like treating my shoes nicely. That means using a shoehorn and unlacing them when I take them off. It also means taking out any rocks that might get stuck in them. This helps them do their job and helps you keep them as long as possible. Also, don’t be afraid to buy another pair and rotate your shoes out! Not only is this good for your feet but it’s good for your shoes.
I know it isn’t to figure out what shoe is right for you. A good hint is to Google it.
Here are some factors to consider when buying a new pair of running shoes.
Shoes ought to be snug but not so much that our toes can’t flex. Something we might think less about is the top of our foot. We have tendons there that bring our toes up. If our shoes are too tight, we are putting pressure on those tendons which eventually leads to tendonitis. No fun! So even if you have the right size shoe for you, play around with lacing patterns and how tight you are tying your shoes. It can make a huge difference.
Give them room! This is definitely a fit thing. Some shoes just aren’t right for our tootsies. If when you give a shoe a little test run your toes feel at all cramped or as if they are rubbing all over the place, it’s not the right one for you. Also check to make sure your shoe bends where your toes bend. I had one pair of shoes that didn’t fit quite right but felt fine until I had a rough go of it with turf toe. Turns out, the inner sole of the shoe was designed bend at a point halfway down my toe, not near the actually bending point.
Here’s an important one. A lot of times we accrue injuries through our various activities or we come into running with an old one. Point is, shoes can make a big difference in supporting your old injuries and preventing new ones.
What it gets down to is this…you have to find out what’s right for you. Picking out a pair of running shoes isn’t as simple as picking out a fun color or even one that initially feels nice. They need some research behind them. You have to know your foot best.
So try some on! Shop around. There’s plenty of options out there.