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The Basics

How To Get More Out Of Your Next Set Of Running Shoes

Running may be one of the simplest forms of exercise in the world, but it’s still been the subject of considerable study. One thing that research has proven consistently is that the shoes you wear make a big impact on your running. If you want a better fit and a better running experience from your next pair of shoes, consider the following information carefully.

Good Shoes Encourage Healthy Running

When you read science-heavy articles on running, you’re likely to stumble across the term “biomechanically efficient stride.” This is just an extra-fancy way of referring to a healthy footfall that conserves energy and doesn’t bend your angle unnaturally. The bad news is that a lot of runners don’t have that perfect biomechanically efficient stride. The good news is that choosing the right running shoes can improve your stride, making it more efficient and easier on your joints.

The Mysteries Of Pronation

“Pronation” is the next technical term that comes right after biomechanical efficiency. Again, it’s a very scientific way to refer to a very simple phenomenon. Pronation is simply the bend in your ankle (if any) when your foot hits the ground. The healthiest form of pronation is neutral pronation; this is where your ankle is straight, the center of your heel is the first part of your foot to touch the ground, and the ball of your foot lands evenly. Overpronation is what happens when your ankle tends to curve inward slightly. You put more weight on the inner side of your heel and the inner half of the ball of your foot. Underpronation (also called supination) is the opposite problem, where your ankle bends outward and you favor the outer parts of your foot. Overpronation is far more common than underpronation, but most runners tend to veer a little bit in one direction or the other.

What Your Old Shoes Have To Tell You

It’s a lot easier to pick out a better pair of running shoes if you can study a well-worn set first. If you take a careful look at the tread on a well-used pair of your running shoes, you should be able to detect any pronation issues you have. Compare the wear on the inside and outside of your heels and the balls of your feet. Greater wear on the inner portion of your soles indicates overpronation, while greater wear on the outer edges shoes underpronation. Stability shoes can correct moderate overpronation; they have added stiffness in the arches. Motion control shoes are built to handle severe overpronation with stiff heels and straight lasts. Heavily cushioned shoes are ideal for handling underpronation and service.

Specialized Shoes

Pronation is certainly not the only factor you need to consider when you’re shopping for running shoes! You need to keep your preferred running conditions in mind and get a pair of shoes that’s built for the terrain you’re going to cover. Road-running shoes are built specifically to handle pavement. They’re light, and their cushioning is deployed to help you deal effectively with a hard, consistent surface. Trail-running shoes are constructed to handle more varied terrain. They have extra tread to provide superior traction, and they’re often stiffer and sturdier than their road-going cousins. Cross-training shoes are favored by runners who also spend a lot of time in the gym. They have thin soles that enhance your balance and give you more contact with the ground.

When And How To Shop For Shoes

Always put off your shoe shopping until late in the day. Your feet swell when you run, and they also swell up over the course of the day. In the late afternoon or early evening, your feet are perfectly sized for fitting a new pair of running shoes. Always bring along the proper accessories: wear or carry the same type of socks you use while running. If you have orthotics or insoles, bring them too; they can significantly alter a shoe’s fit. The feel of a properly-fitted running shoes will be snug without pinching. Aim for a tiny bit of “wiggle room” past the end of your toes – no more than a thumbnail length, though! Also, don’t be afraid to shop across gender lines. Women’s shoes can be ideal for men with narrow feet, and women with wider feet may get a more comfortable fit from men’s shoes.

Picking out a great set of running shoes is, like most aspects of running, a skill you can improve over time. The more experienced you get with your personal running style, the better you’ll be able to zero in on the ideal shoes to help you perform at your full potential.

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