What running shoe is best for you?
Updated: Feb 3, 2022
"What running shoe do I need?" is a common question we get asked from runners. In this blog, we cover the key things to help you find the perfect shoe!
In the past, running shoes have typically been prescribed depending on the appearance of the arches of the foot (supinator, pronator or neutral). However, recent scientific research has shown this categorization to be ineffective at reducing injuries. (Knapik 2010, Nielsen 2013)
There is a myriad of choices when it comes to running shoes, whilst it is beyond the scope of this article to recommend a particular shoe model (mainly because brands are constantly updating models), this blog will allow you to find the combination of features that your perfect shoe should possess.
What shoes are you currently running in?
What do you like or dislike about these shoes?
Is the sizing right? Are they too tight on the top of your foot or does your foot slide around too much? Have you enough room to wiggle your toes? Do you need a wider shoe?
Do they feel like they offer too little or too much support & cushioning?
What is the heel to toe drop of your current shoes? The heel to toe drop is the difference between the cushioning in your heel and the cushioning in your forefoot. To search your particular model, head here
What is the stack height of your shoes? This is the amount of cushioning in the heel. Again, head here to find out what your current model is.
Much like suddenly increasing training loads, a sudden change in the type of shoewear may contribute to injury. It is advisable to avoid a change in the heel to toe drop greater than 4mm, and avoid rapidly changing from a very supported shoe to a minimalist, lightweight shoe.
What type of runs will you be wearing the new shoes for?
Easy runs: more cushioned shoes may be the better choice here
Faster sessions or races: consider lightweight or carbon plated shoes
Trail runs: look at trail shoes that have better grip and are more suitable for these conditions
Do you want comfort, support or performance in your new shoe?
Comfort: then look for cushioned shoes
Support: consider stability running shoes
Performance: consider lightweight or carbon plated shoes
Injuries: Are you currently injured? What is your injury history?
Shoes can change where the load is distributed in your body and can therefore be used to offload any problematic areas you might have.
Knee pain? You may potentially benefit from shoes with a lower heel to toe drop & more minimalist shoes (less cushioning)
Achilles tendon or calf issues? You may benefit from a higher heel to toe drop, maximalist shoes (highly cushioned) or a carbon plated shoe
Plantar heel pain or Toe pain? You may benefit from a rocker soled shoe or a stiffer carbon plated shoe
Using the answers to the questions above, we advise shopping for running shoes in a running speciality store that allows you to test various shoes that fit your criteria. This allows you to try and compare models.
You should feel immediately comfortable wearing your new shoes, there should be no friction points, and there should be no "wearing in period".
We've previously written about the benefit of rotating shoes here so it’s not a bad idea to have a couple of pairs of shoes that you can rotate during the week!
If you need help with your running shoe selection, don't hesitate to contact us at www.healthhp.com.au