Sole searching can be a pretty daunting task given how many options are out there. But since your shoes play a major role in how you run, it‘s important to get it right.
Running in the wrong shoes can be a recipe for disaster, especially if you plan on running long distances or on uneven terrain. Improper footwear is the leading cause of typical running injuries like shin splints, plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. If you find that your feet are feeling a bit worse for wear lately, it could be a sign that your shoes aren‘t right for you. Keep an eye out for these warning signs.
Toenail Loss or Bruising
If you regularly wear shoes that are too small for you, you risk putting too much pressure on your toes and causing blackening or loss of the nail. There‘s actually a term for this: jogger‘s toe. To stay on the safe side, leave a thumb‘s width space between the tip of your longest toe and the front of your shoes. Don‘t be afraid to size up!
If you‘re blister prone, you‘re not alone. Probably the most common complaint amongst long distance runners, these painful little guys may be a sign that your shoes are too tight or narrow in certain places. While your sneakers are designed to provide support for your foot, they should still allow for a full range of motion as you run. Our tip: blisters are often caused simply by lacing up too tightly. Try testing out different lacing techniques to find a comfortable fit for your foot.
Heel pain from plantar fasciitis is a common running injury, often caused by running on hard surfaces in the wrong shoes. Think about it: as you run, your heels are making constant contact with the ground. Sooner or later they‘ll start to show signs of stress if your current kicks don‘t offer enough cushion or support to absorb the shock.
As a rule of thumb, you should be upgrading your running shoes every 600-800 kilometres you run. Keep an eye out for whether your shoes appear asymmetrical in their wear, for example, if the heel of one shoe appears more worn down than the heel of the other. It may be a sign that you need custom insoles to balance your body.
So how do you pick the right one?
- Consider the type of surface you will be running on. Road running requires a lighter shoe and trail running needs traction.
- Invest in quality – don‘t buy cheap running shoes or the pair that ‘looks the best‘!
- Make sure you buy shoes that are specifically designed for running. Regular training shoes don‘t have the support or traction needed for longer runs, and won‘t help you conquer that next half marathon.
- Get a professional evaluation of your feet at your local running shop. This will include gait analysis, which helps determine the features you need in your next pair of shoes (i.e., more support). It‘s a good idea to get these regularly, as your feet change as you age.
- Try as many different pairs as possible to get a feel for what‘s out there and what‘s right for you. While buying shoes online can sometimes be more affordable, there‘s no substitute for trying them on in person.
- Get fitted in the afternoon. Your feet swell up over the course of the day as a result of physical activity. Try and go for a shoe that‘s half a size larger than you would normally buy.
An easy way to reduce the risk of injury from running is by choosing the right shoes. Don't be afraid to try a few different styles and brands to find what's right for you and your style of running.