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how to choose the right running shoes

Choosing the right runners

Melbourne summer is fast approaching. A much nicer place than the winter we have just left behind us. Coming out of hibernation, we are all excited to get moving.

Whether its a gym membership, a personal training class, or like me a return to running. The one piece of equipment everyone will need is a pair of runners.

But choosing the right runners is not always so simple. Today I want to help guide you through the process of choosing the right runners for you.

Do I even need new shoes? 

Good question! If you have had your runners for a year, or even longer, the answer is generally yes. The lifespan on a general pair of runners is 800km, give or take. If you are not so big on tracking your km’s then 10 months to a year is a good life for your runners. If you are on the larger side, heavy on your feet, wear them every day, or always run on the road then the life of your shoes is likely even less.

My advice is, go and talk to an expert, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Who should I ask?

If you are a runner or a walker I am a big fan of a local run specialty store.

There are a few great examples in Melbourne.

Which has stores in Camberwell, Prahran, Heathmont and Sandringham

For the Inner North, situated in Clifton Hill.

The reason I recommend that runners head to a specialty running store is because they allow you to do exactly that, run.

If it is a gym activity, sports like tennis basketball or netball, or a mixture of all of the above then The Athletes Foot can be a great place to start.

What type of shoes should I get?

There is new research to suggest that the best expert opinion to follow when choosing the right runners yours! That’s right, congratulations on becoming an expert in yet another field you star!

Research out of the University of Calgary has described a new idea in footwear prescription that is really quite simple. It’s called the ‘comfort filter’ which describes a complex mechanism within your own body that identifies a ‘preferred movement pathway’ that your own body finds most efficient.

“Put simply, if a shoe is the most comfortable when trying on and running in a range of shoes, it is probably best for you”

There are a few fundamentals that we need to get right, however:

  • Runners and walkers should choose a running type shoe.
  • Court sports like netball, basketball and squash should look to a cross trainer style shoe.

So when you get started, instead of trying on every single running shoe in the store you can use this as a general rule:

Don’t change too much from the shoes you are currently running in (providing that you have liked them, and are injury free). If you are in a traditional running shoe, that has some built-in support, don’t rush into a racing flat. Similarly, if you are successfully running in a lightweight shoe, don’t go into something too heavy with beefed up structure.

What if I pronate?

Pronation is a word that you have probably heard thrown around if you have purchased running shoes, or read about them online.

Pronation is a natural movement of the human body.

Foot pronation is a rolling in type action at a number of joints below the ankle.

Pronation is one of your body’s shock absorbing mechanisms, and everyone, absolutely everyone (with a foot) will pronate to some degree.

Your foot pronating is not a reason to rush out and get a ‘supportive’ shoe. Again refer to the above advice. Don’t change too far from what you have been previously running in, and above all, be comfortable.

The wear in period

New shoes require a period of “wearing in” as our bodies become accustomed to the changes they bring. In new shoes, our lower limb joints move just a little differently, muscles contract and pull on tendons in a new manner and bones respond to a change in the distribution of ground reaction force (how our body weight hits the ground). We don’t want to introduce new stimuli to our muscles, tendons and bones too quickly.

We know our new shoes will have some influence on the way our body weight is transferred into the ground – and therefore the way the ground puts force through our leg (for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction – cheers Newton). The take-home message here is introduce this change in force (the new shoes) gradually.

“As a general rule I ask my patients to do a 20 minute walk in the new shoes to begin with, and listen to the body from there”

If you pull up well then increase, gradually, the time spent in your new shoes, and move on to a jog. If however, you experience some muscle or foot soreness, take time at that reduced distance while your body adapts to your new shoes.

Good luck with the shoe shopping, and enjoy getting moving!

If you have any questions about footwear, or if you are finding it difficult to find a shoe that works for you please give us a call and come and talk with us at PridePlus.