Whether you run for enjoyment, as part of a workout, or as part of a weight loss regimen, you want to put your best foot forward. The last thing you want to do is hurt yourself. But if you do not understand what is involved in choosing the right footwear, you are more likely to feel pain and the pain will certainly send you out of course. If you feel a pinch that was not there before, maybe it's time for some new shoes, and to know thoroughly the function and design of the running shoes to help you find the perfect fit.
The key to choosing the best running shoes, in my opinion, is to be able to forget that you actually have shoes on your feet. I prefer to think about how I can break my last record or run an extra mile, not how much my feet hurt or how heavy my shoes feel.
Holley Nees, runner, Lufkin, Texas
Why your shoes are important
Making the right choice of running shoes benefits the casual runner and the elite athlete alike. Whether your goal is simply to stay fit and injury-free or perform at a higher and more competitive level, there is a shoe that perfectly suits your needs.
But in the end, regardless of your level of experience, the true purpose of a shoe is to support and protect your body while allowing you to enjoy your sport.
David Loncarich is an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon, as well as an avid runner, based in Houston, Texas. He has treated numerous patients with injuries resulting from inadequate shoes.
"This includes stress fractures and tendinitis," Loncarich said. "More often, it's foot pain and discomfort, rather than a specific injury."
To understand the importance of a runner's shoe, keep in mind that the fundamental principle of its design is to absorb the impact placed on the body when you are running.
"They are padded on the heel and the middle part of the foot to help the energy absorption in the tread, they are generally lighter because they require less energy for each cycle, which helps when you are repeating the cycle of thousands of Sometimes, "explained Loncarich," they are flexible to allow the foot to move more naturally and absorb the forces, and they are more spacious and breathable to avoid problems with sweat, rubbing and pressure. "
When it comes to the biomechanics behind the actual execution, more casual runners probably do not spend their time carefully analyzing the process. And why would they do that? For most of them, running is innate and natural. It does not require a lot of thought.
The reality, however, is that the science behind the operation is complex.Loncarich makes it easier to understand by breaking it down into three general phases: the heel strike, the medium support / flat foot and the toe-off. The heel strike occurs when the foot hits the ground, which absorbs the strength of the body. The middle phase of flat foot support takes place during the transition from the back of the foot to the forefoot. The detachment of the fingers occurs when the foot becomes really rigid and pushes the body forward.
Thus, while the body functions to accommodate the runner throughout the workout, the runner, in turn, can help alleviate the workload by wearing the appropriate shoes. This will help avoid unpleasant aches and pains, as well as more serious injuries.
Factors that runners should consider
Even when quality training shoes are worn, runners need to have other things in mind. Loncarich says that the biggest problems, for example, are often due to inadequate training.
"I see the biggest number of foot problems in people trying to increase their mileage too fast, this can happen to the novice runner and also to the experienced runner," said Loncarich. adapt and get stronger, but you must have the right amount of time to do it. "
All runners should go slowly in any new training program, in order not to overload their body and avoid a greater potential for injuries. This is especially important for new riders. The best advice: do not exaggerate.
Runners who are not in shape could also find themselves paying a big price, and in those cases, you can not blame their injuries on shoes alone. Maintaining a good form throughout the race not only helps with performance in general, but also to avoid injuries.
If you think that in your running training you might need some advice, find a coach to help you. If it is not possible to hire someone, go to a specialized store to look for advice. Many of these businesses see you running and give their opinion about the form and technique of your career.
Holley Nees of Lufkin, Texas, runs to stay in shape. She hits the pavement three to five times a week for at least an hour.
"Running is a great relief for tension when life gets complicated," he said.
Nees admits he probably expects more than he should to buy new shoes. "I usually get distracted by a nice pair of high-heeled shoes."
However, she maintains that her shoes are an essential component of her training.
"I'm usually very picky about the shoes I select to stay with me for miles and miles," Nees said.
General manager at Fleet Feet Sports in Houston, Texas, Danny Braden says that the occasional runner has good reason to be concerned about quality athletic shoes.
"While a shoe problem is more likely to worsen over the course of 50 miles per week than 15 miles per week, the reality is that the occasional runner is usually equal, if not more, susceptible to injuries. "Braden explained," This is due to less conditioning, less muscle stability, and in all likelihood, a worse way to run. "
Find the right pair
Of course, nobody expects you to go looking for shoes with a huge checklist in hand, especially when there are qualified experts to help. But nothing is lost with having some ideas in mind.
Nees, for example, knew exactly what he was looking for.
"I want my shoes to be light and almost feel like I'm wearing only a sock," he said. "The key to great running shoes, in my opinion, is to forget that you actually have the shoes on your feet I prefer to think about how I can get through my last time or run an extra mile, not how much my feet hurt or how heavy my shoes feel. "
But for brokers who have no idea what they are looking for, there are professionals like Braden who can help find the most appropriate system, guiding them through an evaluation.
In Fleet Feet, each runner will go through a gait analysis. A qualified store clerk observes the runner walking on a treadmill or on the ground, examining the feet of the runner, and then interviewing the runner to learn more about individual needs.
"There is a complex variety of personal aspects to consider when looking for the right running shoes: jogging, arches, foot size, foot shape, body weight, bone spurs, neuromas, injuries previous, just to name a few, "said Braden.
Depending on your body and shape, you are helped in the selection of a shoe from one of three categories: neutral control, stability and support, and movement. Loncarich says that these are based on the alignment of the foot type and the arch.
"There are supinators, which are rarely mentioned in my experiences, whose heel rotates on the foot and has a raised arch, the neutral alignment in which the heel is vertical or gently turns outwards." Finally, there are hyperpronators -excessively discussed - whose heel rotates outward significantly. "This could also be classified as a flat foot," explained Loncarich.
There is not really a shoe designed for supineurs, but the best option is a neutral shoe. If you tend to pronation, most likely you should wear motion control or stability shoes.
"The stability and movement control shoes are made with the inner heel developed and stiffer to limit the pronation of the foot when standing," Loncarich said.
It may seem a bit overwhelming, but buying running shoes can be fun and rewarding. There are a lot of designs and brands to choose from and, if they fit you correctly, you will most likely find a shoe that you like and want to keep.
Although quality shoes are not cheap, you should be able to find a good pair in the range of US $ 60 and US $ 100. Think of it as an investment and a motivation to keep fighting for your fitness goals.
When it's time to remove your shoes
Digital Vision / Valueline /
An alternative to running shoes is running barefoot or with minimal footwear. David Loncarich, a foot and ankle doctor, says there is a small but growing controversy about running shoes.
"Barefoot running and minimalist shoes are gaining popularity based on the belief that currently designed shoes are bad for your feet and actually lead to injury," he said. "Defenders believe barefoot footwear and running barefoot allow you to exercise more naturally, which is, in turn, better and safer for your feet.Unfortunately, I have not seen any scientific study with a large number of runners to support this belief. "
Loncarich adds: "There are individual reports of runners who have changed and observed improvement, there are also biomechanical studies that show that the forces acting on the foot and body are less when running barefoot than with shoes and it is not known if this It translates into fewer injuries - for most runners, I think normal shoes will be the best option. "