Running Shoes – What to look for?

Running is a popular form of exercise for many reasons, some of which include the low cost and the convenience. All you need is a pair of shoes, and you’re good to go!

Every year, around February, we start to see people who made a new years resolution to get in shape and start running trickle in the physio doors. Most of the time they have simply done too much running, leading to overuse and injury. However, quite often they have little idea about the only piece of equipment you need for running – the shoes on your feet. So here are some basic tips to help you pick a running shoe that will help keep you and your feet happy.

1. Not too tight!
Your feet/toes ‘splay’ out when they hit the ground, and need room in your shoe to do so. You should have about a thumbs width between the end of your big toe and the end of the shoe, and you should be able to wiggle your toes and see them wiggle through the fabric of the shoe.

2. Correct size
Make sure your whole foot fits on the sole of the shoe, and you don’t have the ball of your foot or pinky toe squished in/hanging off. If you have a wider foot, you may have to look into brands that provide wider options (such as ASICS who provide normal, 2E and 4E widths in some shoes).

3. Find the right support
If you have a flatter arch or are a heavier runner, you will probably be better served with a stiffer arch support. You can test the stiffness of the arch support by poking into it with your thumbnail.

Hopefully this goes without saying, but base your decision on the practical aspects of the running shoe, not how they look. Running shoes are a piece of equipment designed for a purpose, and while there is nothing wrong with choosing shoes that you think look awesome, that is not the most important factor when deciding which shoe is right for you. The right shoe will keep you comfortable and help prevent injuries for many kilometres to come!