Running Shoes: Do Your Due Diligence to Choose the
Right Pair for YOU
Spring is in the air, athletes are itching to get into full-bore training, and with that comes a deluge of questions about running shoes.
"Should I be in a stability shoe?"
"Can I try minimalist running shoes?"
"How about this shoe for trail running? "
I'm sure you have asked some version of these questions yourself. So let me spend a moment guiding you on the best way I, personally, advise runners on how to go about choosing proper running shoes. We also have a free ebook offer at the end of the post that provides even more detail and guidance.
The truth is, despite the confusion running shoe manufacturers or your local store fit "expert" might stir up, there IS an appropriate running shoe for every single runner. To get to that proper running shoe choice, however, there is quite a bit more information that should be examined.
To determine which running shoes would be appropriate, the most basic questions to start with are:
1. How much ankle dorsi-flexion do you have?
2. How much do you pronate?
3. Is the pronation beyond what would be considered ideal, or is it within an ideal range? (A certain amount of pronation is not only normal, it is necessary.) Does your pronation come more from the front of the foot (varus) or the back of the foot?
4. How much do you weigh?
Running shoe companies want to sell shoes and are great at marketing their messages. In our Gait Analysis Lab, we have worked with many runners and triathletes who became injured switching to a shoe because they saw an ad, or because someone who didn't have a clue suggested they try it.
Running: A Holistic, Total-Body Activity
For example, if you have limited dorsi-flexion, you have no business whatsoever wearing minimalist running shoes with near zero drop. If you have limited dorsi-flexion, wearing a Newton-type shoe with an elevated forefoot is a recipe for disaster.
If you have limited hip mobility, or an extreme forefoot varus or any of a variety of other issues that reflect the simple fact that running ISN'T just about the weight or color of a shoe, but a HOLISTIC, total body activity requiring everything along the chain from the big toe to the trunk to be in balance. Every part of the chain must be doing "its job," or something along the chain is very liable to break at some point in time--and usually at the worst time in your training. For what its worth (and its worth a lot I think!), these things aren't just about staying healthy--they're also about reducing energy leaks and being able to run faster and longer, as well.
Baby Steps: A Runners Guide to Feet, Shoes, and Dating
My partner at Pursuit Athletic Performance, Dr. Kurt Strecker, put together a concise e-book on the topic of the "feet" titled, Baby Steps: A Runners Guide to Feet, Shoes, and Dating. We have it available for you below. When you share it, the direct download link will pop right up. Just copy and paste it into your browser to access it immediately. Have a read (pay no attention to the dating part! 🙂 ), and be empowered with with the information you need to set yourself up with some nice, new kicks!