by Heba Hosny in Training Tips, image by Sean Dreilinger

What happens when you wear the wrong running shoes

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Finding the RIGHT running shoes for YOU can be daunting task taking into consideration the endless options you have but it is certainly worth the effort. Your running shoes play a major role diminishing the effect of the hammering of your feet when they hit the ground. In addition, your shoes absorb all kinds shearing and twisting forces generated when you run.

So, if you choose the wrong running shoe, you will have to deal with all these side effects. This article provides essential running shoe buying tips to help you out. Let’s get started…

What is pronation and how does it affect your choice of a running shoe?

Pronation is the rolling motion that absorbs the effect of landing on the outside of your heel as your feet hit the ground. That’s why; pronation is essential in helping you balance your run. However, it is not uncommon for runners “overpronate” and roll their feet too far while running.

You need to find out if you are an “overpronator” or not prior to buying running shoe as there are many shoes designed to help you control your foot strike and minimize the effect of overpronation.

In order to figure out your pronation level, you can get a Gait Test – a specialized test designed to test foot pronation level.

Running Shoes Types/purposes

  • Neutral: These shoes are designed for runners who have a normal pronation and those who “underpronate”. Underpronators in particular should look for well-cushioned running shoes.
  • Support: These types of shoes offer some support for overpronation reduction but they still have the same cushioning as neutral shoes. These shoes are ideal for those who mildly overpronate.
  • Motion Control: These shoes provides excessive support for heavy overpronators.
  • Trail: If you are running off road, go for these types of shoes
  • Lightweights: These shoes can be supportive or neutral but in both cases they are designed for use in racing or fast training
  • Racers: These shoes are designed exclusively for racing or ultra-fast training. Although these shoes are very light, they offer limited protection. However, some of them include overpronation support.

General running shoe buying tips

  • Try to buy your running shoes as late in the day as possible since studies have shown feet tend to expand few millimeters up to 2 centimeters by the end of the day
  • Go to specialized running stores or go for the running shoes section in big stores. Many runners have indicated that they get a much better quality in specialized running stores compared to ordinary sports shoes
  • Here is a common sense advice: make sure to try out the shoe wearing the same sock you plan to wear when running later on
  • Make sure to change your shoes after 400 miles of usage at most. This is because by that time, the shoe heel and mid sole will start to degenerate. You can still wear the shoes causally for walking or any non-running activity if you wish.
  • Make sure to measure your feet whenever you buy a new running shoe
  • In order to protect your toes while running and allow for the swelling of your feet as you run, make sure there is a finger-width space between your great toe and the shoe box. Alternatively, you can have a thumb width at the end of the shoe. You will end up buying shoes that are bigger in size than what you normally wear but that’s perfectly OK.
  • Enough is enough! You shouldn’t exceed the finger-wide span because it is not recommended to wear very loose running shoes.
  • if your running store offers a treadmill or forceplate assessment, by all means take advantage of that. However, to ensure accuracy, make sure that the one doing the assessment is qualified
  • NEVER wear a brand new running shoe for a race; make sure you already used them for 100 miles runs at minimum
  • Another common sense advise: avoid going to running shoe stores during weekends when they are overly crowded and you might not get the assistance you need

Does that sound like a lot of work?

Well, you must take your running alongside its requirement seriously. However, you may kiss running shoes goodbye forever and try barefoot running. Most barefoot runners are so happy about the experience but the final decision is yours. Whatever you do, make sure to keep running. Have fun!




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