Shoppers' Guide: Tips for Buying Running Shoes
Running without the proper footwear can lead to cramping and stress on your muscles, which can result in some serious long-term consequences. Whether you're an avid runner or just starting out, don't take any chances with questionable shoes.
We asked Blaise Dubois, a physiotherapist and the founder of The Running Clinic, for his tips on what to look for in a shoe.
1. Go minimal
"Choose the least amount of shoe you can safely wear now, depending on your habits," says Dubois. This means skipping bulky soles (which can impede natural movement) and finding a shoe that's durable enough to provide your foot with a bit of cushion as it strikes the ground.
2. Ensure enough space to function naturally
A shoe that is roomy and light enough to allow your feet to flex is ideal. "For fit, look for enough space for the toes and a comfortable length and width," advises Dubois. Shoes with too much padding can alter the shape of the foot and hinder its natural motion.
3. Look for adequate support
Finding a good running shoe is all about understanding the natural mechanics of your feet, including pronation. The pronation of your foot refers to the flattening of the arch when you walk or run -- part of the body's natural shock-absorption system as the foot hits the ground.
Don't opt for what Dubois refers to as "un-support." Too-soft "marshmallow" shoes will increase the pronation in a way that your body is not used to, he warns. Excessive pronation is a major reason for chronic foot pain.
4. Indoor versus outdoor shoes: it's all the same
Should you be wearing a different shoe for the track than for the street? There's probably no need, says Dubois. "Except if it's to run on trails or in the winter, in which case you'd need an outsole with more grip or something waterproof." Unless you're doing some hard-core off-roading, the criteria for outdoor running shoes and indoor running shoes are just the same. Go for comfortable, light and durable shoes and your feet will thank you every time.