Nothing seems as simple as putting on a pair of running shoes and doing what your feet and legs were meant to do: Run. But after five minutes your lungs burn, your legs hurt and you can’t help thinking, “this is supposed to be healthy?” This article in two parts gets you on track.
You And Your Feet Are Special
The first thing we have to look at is the shoe you want to start running with.
If you just want to find out if jogging or running are the right thing for you, almost any sneaker will do the job for those couple of times.
But if you plan to keep it up, not any old sports shoe is right for the task. There are a couple of parameters that have to be accounted for:
- Your feet. If you have flat feet you need a shoe that gives specific support to their arch or instep, while the exact opposite applies when you have feet with high arches.
- Your running style. When running, some people roll their feet over the insides, others over the outsides, some first touch ground with the heels, others with the mid- or forefoot.
- The environment. If you usually run on pavement, your shoe needs to absorb more shock than when you run on dirt roads. If you run on a treadmill, your shoe should have only little cushioning, as most treadmills already have built-in shock absorbers.
Therefore even the latest $200 jogging shoe will gain you nothing, if it isn’t the shoe that literally fits your feet.
Getting The Right Shoe
The proper course of action is to go to a sports shoe store and have a running analysis done. This means you will step on a special treadmill and sensors and cameras record how your legs move and how your feet get in contact with the ground. On the basis of this analysis and by explaining on what surfaces you want to run, a qualified employee should be able to recommend a model that fits your need.
Some clerks will of course use this chance to showcase their latest and most expensive model. You don’t necessarily have to buy that one. The truth is that running shoes aren’t rocket science and changes to them are rather small, even when various companies tout their newest models as technological breakthroughs that will revolutionize the concept of cardio fitness.
Ask for a model that is from last year and fits your specifications. It may have been discontinued and is now sold at much less than the original price. Put them on, compare how you feel in them and hop onto that treadmill again to check how they perform when they do the job they are meant for.
I also highlighted the whole concept in this video, if you would rather listen to me explaining it. Please be kind; it was the first video I ever filmed and although I may hide it well, I was rather nervous:
Ready, Set, Go
You should now be well-armed to get the best possible shoe for you and your money. In the second part of this article we look at how we put your (new) shoes to good use.
Picture courtesy of “lululemon“.