Now that the weather is starting to change for the better we are all finally able to get in a few outdoor runs! With this desire to get outside for some sunshine and exercise comes a dilemma: which running shoe is right for me? Minimalist or Extreme Cushioning? Extra Supportive or Neutral? Do I Pronate or Supinate? The whole process can be enough to make someone throw their hands up and give up running. But, fear not Fitness Lofter! We are here to take the anxiety out of running shoe buying. Armed with these tips, we will have you out there putting in miles in no time.
Tip #1: DON’T just pull those 2-year old runners out of the closet and start running!
Running shoes have a shelf life, the cushioning and support material in running shoes only lasts for so long. After that support has broken down, you will absorb more impact in your feet and legs which can lead to tenderness, soreness, or even injury. Most running shoes will last 200-400 miles, after this point they need to be replaced. Running on worn out shoes will make running a painful activity for you, and will discourage you next time you think about getting out there. This is the opposite of what we want. I know that running shoes can be expensive, but you must think about them as an investment in a better and healthier you. Before you start running this summer, get yourself a new pair of runners and keep those legs, ankles, and feet healthy! Quick Tip: Write the date of purchase on the soles of your new running shoes so that you can reference exactly how old they are and replace them before they break down and make running uncomfortable.
Tip #2: Try and avoid the big chain sporting goods store in favor of a specialty running store.
When the time comes for a new pair of runners, most of us instinctively head down to the giant sporting goods store down the street. This works fine if you know exactly what type and brand of shoe you need, and have no questions about different running shoes and their pros and weaknesses. But, if you do have questions about the different brands and styles of shoes, and want to know what will be best for you and your style of running, I would highly recommend heading to a specialty running store. There are numerous running specific shops around the Columbus area, and in my experience they are extremely helpful. These shops specialize in selling running shoes to runners: they will watch you walk or jog to get an idea of your gait pattern and strike point, and ask you questions about your running habits so that they can get you the best shoes for your running needs. We are all at different points in our running training, and have different needs from our shoes. Working with an employee at one of these specialty stores can help you hone in on what type of shoe will best fit your running needs and goals.
Tip #3: Listen to your body and not trends. Find what works for you and what doesn’t.
Running companies want to sell running shoes. They sell a sports equipment product, but in many ways they work very much like the fashion industry. Trends pop up in running shoes all of the time. By this point they have ‘reinvented’ the running shoe many times, and will continue to many times in the future. You may remember a few years ago when ‘barefoot’ and ‘zero-drop’ running shoes were all of the rage. Well, oddly enough the current trend is the exact opposite, ‘extreme cushioning’. Do your best to ignore these trends, and try on as many styles and brands as you can. Once you find something that works and feels great, stick with it. It is tempting to rush out and buy the latest and greatest shoe, but you have to treat your runners more as exercise equipment than fashion accessory. A great running shoe is a shoe that feels great on YOUR foot, everything outside of that is irrelevant.
Tip #4: It’s NOT all in the Shoes.
Runners can become a bit passionate about their preferred shoes. You can imagine how opinions can become overinflated and exaggerated. Running is about exercise and bettering yourself each and every time out. You will make yourself a better runner, no pair of shoes can do that for you. There are many other aspects to becoming a better runner aside from the shoes on your feet. They are a necessary and vital piece of equipment, but they are just that, equipment. You want to find a comfortable and supportive shoe that does not pinch, hurt your feet, legs or ankles. Do not stick with a shoe that give you blisters, or rubs on any part of the foot in a way that causes discomfort. The best shoes feel supportive, comfortable, and light. After you have the shoes, it is up to you to put in the work. Happy Running!
If you like to run, would like to run, and maybe make a few new friends, we would love to have you at the Fitness Loft Run Club! We meet Saturdays at 9am at the Front Desk. All ability and experience levels are welcome!