When it comes to choosing your running shoe there can be a vast array of choices and it can be very difficult to decide what is best. Coach Brendon from Endurancecoach.com takes a look at the best way to ensure that you get the right shoe.
Before you go charging off to the local mall and corner some sales person in the local sports/running store, you might like to consider some important points that can help you to get shoes that work for you.
Firstly how do you know if you need new shoes?
I use the tried and true scientifically proven kitchen bench inspection method. If I can make the shoe rock with one finger on the heel counter, that is usually a good sign to get a new pair. If the shoe sole is noticeably worn more in one part than another, don't wait until you get injured. Finally, if you can see that the midsole has compressed, get them replaced.
I'd start by asking other runners where they shop and what their
experiences have been like? Did they feel that they got pushed into a pair of shoes rather than getting advice on the options. Does the store carry all the major brands or just one or two? Do the sales staff actually run themselves?
Resist the temptation to buy the shoes that are on sale. Nothing wrong with buying a pair of shoes at full price and then later when you see them on special, picking up a couple of extra pairs. Also don't wait until 4 weeks or less out from your major event. There is nothing worse than hearing about the runner who got injured in the last few weeks before a major event.
Purchase your shoes when you are building up the volume, before you get into the serious stuff in the 2 months out. I like the stores that can video you in a shoe at training pace. You can not only feel how the shoe is but also get a visual look and advice from the retailer.
If you are injured or think you are likely to get injured running and you have tried a gradual buildup of your training volumes, visiting a foot doctor (Podiatrist) could be very valuable. They can look at your foot function and determine if there is a need for an orthotic (shaped shoe insert). The orthotic may function better in a particular shoe so it can pay to do this prior to visiting the shoe store. I have also noticed that since I started using orthotics that my shoes last a lot longer.
Obviously your running technique and body size are going to determine the best type of shoe. If you are 90kg don't expect to get 4 months out of a light weight trainer/racer. Also the event and the amount of running you are going to do will influence shoe choice as will typical training terrain and if you run off road or not. Make sure you take these point into consideration when making your selection.
Look to Your Old to Discover the New
Your old shoes carry a wealth of information. Turn your old shoes over and have a look at the wear pattern on the sole of the shoe. Have you crushed the midsole on the inside or the out side on the back? What about the front of the shoe have you worn the rubber sole away on the inside the outside or down the middle? A hole in the heal cup fabric can tell you about the heel area. What has happened to your feet? Blisters on the arch? Blisters on the toes? Take your shoes with you to the running store or podiatrist (you won't offend too much them if you wash them first!) an experienced person can tell a lot about what is required.
Shoe Type Main Features
Harder midsole on the inside of the shoe and tough rubber outsole material. Often very straight and are generally heavier and usually longer lasting. Often very inflexible. Good for people who wear the inside of the back part of their shoes (Pronators) and often ideal for runners with Orthotics. Usually a good choice for heavier runners (90kg plus), runners with flat arches and often better for runner who have suffered 'shin splints'.
Usually have reasionable cushioning with some midsole features (dual-density midsoles) to improve stability. Often made with a semicurved shape and are ideal for most runners, including those without major motion-control problems. They are suitable for average builds (70-90kg), runners with normal arches and are often good for runners who have suffered Achilles tendonitis in the past.
Soft midsole, less support but have soft impact. They are ideal for those that wear the outside of their shoes. (supernators), for runners with high arches (poor ability to absorb impact) and runners who run more on the toes.
These are light, flexible, have little motion-control, stability or cushioning. They will wear quickly due to light thin rubber sole and thin midsole. These shoes suit the very light (less than 70kg) and efficient runners or those looking to do good times in events.
These are super long wearing, have grippy soles / durable uppers are tend to be quite heavy. They are ideal for off road running and are often a good stable shoe for pronators and those that wear orthotics.
Lastly, the best advice I can make is that once you have found a shoe that works and does not cause any problems, buy two or three pairs. This will counter the problem you have when shoe companies do their yearly change in shoe design, not only that but the shoes will also last a lot longer as the mid sole cushioning will get a chance to recover and re-expand towards new values.
About the author of this blog post
Since taking up Endurance Training back in 1984, Coach Brendon, head coach of Endurancecoach.com, has been a leader in the development of the art and science of triathlon and endurance sports training, competition and coaching. He has held many top coaching positions including: Olympic Triathlon Coach 2004; New Zealand Elite Team Coach 2005; Consultant Coach to the Chinese Olympic Triathlon Team 2006; Member TriNZ High Performance Commission 2002-2005; Triathlon New Zealand High Performance Coach; Consultant Coach to Polar International. Many athletes trained by Coach Brendon have achieved podium success on the international sporting stage.
His personal sporting achievements include: 1990 New Zealand Commonwealth Games Triathlon Team; 1991 New Zealand Triathlon Champion; 1993 6th Ironman New Zealand and 8:59 at Ironman Canada; 1994 New Zealand Elite Team Member; 1998 2nd New Zealand Sprint Champs. Coach Brendon has a New Zealand Prime Ministers Coaching Scholarship; Level Two Triathlon Australia Coaching Accreditation; Level One Triathlon New Zealand Coaching Accreditation; Bachelor of Science degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Physiology
Endurancecoach.com believes that every athlete is different and therefore needs a training program geared specifically to their personal ability, taking into account any weaknesses, time available and circumstances. Endurancecoach.com offers a variety of services ranging from one-on-one coaching to training plans for specific events and races. Visit Endurancecoach.com for more information or if you are looking for world leading coaches to assist you, e-mail Endurancecoach.com at firstname.lastname@example.org.