Sole searching can be a pretty daunting task given how many options are out there. But since your shoes play a major role in absorbing the impact when you run, it‘s important you take your time and 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. Many foot injuries can actually be traced back to poorly fitting shoes, and 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: Often, blisters can be 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 one of most common running injuries, and running in the wrong shoes, especially on hard surfaces like concrete, is a typical cause. 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. For example, road running will require a lighter weight shoe and trail running should have good 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 (ie, more support). It‘s a good idea to get these regularly, as our feet can change as we age.
- Try on as many different pairs as possible in the store, 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, as 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.
Follow these tips and say goodbye to many of the injuries you might have experienced over the course of your training career. Happy Running!