Alright fitness aficionados, I’m here to give you a little guidance on one of the most important pieces of fitness gear in your closet, your shoes! Let’s face it, these puppies support your whole body and if you’re wearing the wrong shoes you can wreak havoc on your whole day. Your shoes can literally add pep to your step, or cause you a great deal of pain. They can however correct problems you’ve been having your whole life like, pronation or supination.
Runners need to be especially mindful of their footwear choices, as they can be susceptible to injury if their feet and ankles are not supported correctly. They are also prone to shin splints and knee injuries, and wearing the correct shoes can add a layer of protection.
So how on earth are you supposed to pick out the right shoes?!? There are an over-abundance of choices, colors, styles, barefoot running, cross training…The market is endless. It should be a no brainer when it comes to trying on, and buying a pair of shoes, but there are many variables to consider.
- Level of support: Do you need high arch support, do you need extra ankle support, do you need heel support?
- Toe box shape: Do you have a wide set of toes or narrow toes? Do you have bunions or an injury? I personally need a wide toe box due to having all of my toes broken at least once.
- Lace style: do you need laces that can be cinched down tightly, or do you need more room on top of your foot? Maybe you don’t want to mess with laces and go with a Vibram 5 fingers type of barefoot running shoe.
- Weight: do you want a more substantial shoe that can withstand trail running, or do you prefer a uber light-weight feel?
- Style: yes this is important, if you think your shoes are ugly you aren’t going to wear them, so you might as well not buy them.
When all else fails consult an expert. My podiatrist gave me some good advice for shoes for my type of feet and based on the type of activities I do. A really fantastic resource that we have in the Reno area is Reno Running Company. They have a really cool tool called the “Running Lab” that analyses the way you run and then allows their trained staff to guide you on buying the right pair of shoes. It’s a free service and you don’t need an appointment. Another good tip from my friends over at runnersworld.com is to get measured each time you buy a new pair of shoes. Your feet can change sizes over time and it’s important to get the right fit. Also, don’t be afraid to get rid of a worn out pair of shoes. As shoes deteriorate over time and use, they could begin to affect the way they fit and support your body. Replace your shoes every 300-500 miles.
So take a good look at your beloved Nikes and evaluate their effectiveness of your fitness routine. Is it time to chuck them since your big toe pokes through the top of the mesh? Do they make your feet hurt, or are you prone to twisting your ankle when you wear them? Look for wear and tear and uneven wear on the bottoms. Check seams, and overall structure and if they aren’t up to snuff it’s time to replace them. I will be getting my next pair of shoes with the help of the folks at Reno Running Company, you should go check them out if you’re in the market for new kicks. Leave me a comment and let me know what makes or breaks your running shoe preferences.