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A shoe-shopping guide for marathon runners


55,334 – that’s roughly how many steps it takes the average runner to complete a marathon. You don’t have to be a runner to imagine the amount of stress this puts on the body. Not just muscles, but bones, joints and nerves are all affected by the impact of each one of those steps. Luckily, your body was made to run and designed in such a way to withstand the impact. The danger really lies in your failure to prepare.

First failure: choosing the wrong footwear. Runners, take note:

One size does not fit all

Forget your usual size. When it comes to buying new running shoes, always try a variety of sizes, starting at least half a size bigger than your everyday shoes. This extra space prevents your feet from jamming against the front of the shoe when running downhill and also reduces the likeliness of blisters occurring. You should have at least a thumb space between your toes and the front of the shoe.

Forget fashion

At the last race, you noticed many runners wearing the same shoes. Does this mean you should be too? No. Never base your shoe choice on what others are wearing, style or color.  The pavement doesn’t care what you look like and your calves certainly won’t benefit from the latest trends, so leave looking good for the club. Runner’s all learn to choose function over fashion at one point in their running career – we suggest you take note now rather than learn the hard way later.

It’s not a case of bigger cushion, better support

The best running shoes are the pair with the thickest, chunkiest sole, right? This may be what the industry makes us believe, but actually it’s not necessarily the case. Flat shoes are making a comeback. Why? Because overtime doctors and podiatrists have realized that big, motion-control shoes with a thick, cushioned heel could actually be preventing our feet from working the way feet are supposed to. We’ll go into more detail about flat shoes and barefoot running in an upcoming article, but for now, if your running shoes do have a large, cushioned heel that’s causing you to heel-strike, next time you go shoe-shopping ask the assistant if you can try out a flat or minimalist shoe. It might feel strange at first but by gradually dropping down to a flatter shoe, you will overtime help to strengthen and mobilize your feet. And trust us…this will do your marathon-running career, as well as your body, a world of good.

No days off!

So far we’ve only mentioned running shoes. But when it comes to supporting your feet, there are no days off. Every single shoe you wear has an impact on your body. Whether it’s to work, walk or chillout in, choose comfortable, flat shoes that won’t shorten your tendon or kill the range of motion in your feet.

Buying time

This sounds simple and ironic at first but your feet swell during the day and during a run. So buying shoes at night time, when your feet are at their largest is going to give you the most comfortable fit.

Let's recap:

Before you take one more step as preparation for your next marathon, check if you already have the optimal running shoes. If you don’t, you may find yourself experiencing pain in your entire body – not just your knees and ankles – due to a lack of support and also the wrong support. Take the time to invest in your well-being, research what’s right and prepare as best you can.

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