It won't take long for a runner to realize the overwhelming importance of shoes. Poorly chosen footwear can cause injury under the wrong circumstances. So, what constitutes a good choice in footwear? Read on to discover the RIGHT way to select running shoes.
First, the proper fit. Too tight or loose can cause rubbing or otherwise cause pain. It isn't sufficient just to put the shoe on, if possible move the foot through a range of motion and as much of a running gait as is practical. It is entirely possible to find shoes with subtle imperfections in the fit that aren't immediately apparent.
Second, we should worry about your running technique. A proper motion for the foot rolls from heel to toe, and has a slight inward rotation as the ball of the foot touches the ground. There are shoes to compensate for a greater tendency to wear the inside, outside or other parts of the shoe tread. As well, there are shoes to compensate for greater or lesser than normal amounts of this standard foot motion, called pronation. The simplest way to determine this is to examine an old pair of running shoes and check the wear pattern. Excessive wear on the inside of the front part of the shoe indicates over pronation, such wear on the outside of the front of the shoe indicates supination.
Third is the priority of the shoe. Shoe designers tend to create shoes to emphasize stability, cushioning or motion control. If you don't know which of these you actually need, stability is probably the place to start. However, cushioning should be a given. Each time your foot hits the ground, you are dealing with an impact of around three times your body weight, and you'll do this fifteen hundred times a mile.
Brand is not unimportant, but there are so many and they change rapidly enough that it makes little sense to cover in an article this of this size. Instead, you should simply keep in mind brands you like and try their products first. There are many ways to achieve cushioning and stability, and you simply might be well suited to the one a given brand uses. Appearance matters not one bit, when considering a running shoe. If your priority is a given look, spending the money for a running shoe is a waste of funds, possibly much funds.
Finally, shoes can be optimized for a given type of running. This can be high performance competition shoes, shoes for running on pavement and shoes for running on broken surfaces or cross country.