You will never find Tim Lincecum in the mound in the bulky basketball shoes. Nor can you expect to see Reggie Bush cutting through the defenses with golf shoes. However, every weekend, thousands of runners come out and hit the pavement in shoes that are not designed to run.
If you're running in tennis shoes, it's very likely that everything goes well-at least for a while. But the truth is simple: the team matters. And having the right shoes can be the difference between getting stronger or being in trouble for pain and discomfort.
"Years of anecdotal evidence suggest that proper footwear can reduce the risk of injury," says JD Denton, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Davis, Calif., A veteran with more than 30 years selling the appropriate footwear. You can also increase your enjoyment of this sport and your longevity in it, he says.
To reap the benefits and find your pair of shoes, the first step is to find a specialized racing store. The employees of these stores tend to be more educated in the operation and to understand more adequately than the cashier staff of the larger sports chains. Any running store is worth its weight in energy gels, it has trained its employees to evaluate your needs from scratch. Once you're inside the store, this is what you should be looking for.
"Years of anecdotal evidence suggest that proper footwear can reduce the risk of injury."
JD Denton, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Davis, California.
If this is your first time, expect to spend between 30 minutes and 1 hour for your installation. "Tell the person who greets you that you are new to running and you want to get a pair of shoes," Denton said. The staff will start from there, from a visual evaluation.
Some stores will simply see you run. Others may choose to film while you run and review your form by playing the video in slow motion. Either way, the staff will be trying to understand the pronation of the foot or the inward turns when you step on it. Do not read too much about this, everyone pronate. It is the natural cushioning system of your body. But some of the variations in the way your foot moves can help determine what type of footwear is right for you.
Throughout the evaluation, staff should ask you some questions: How much do you run? Have you had an injury? Do you feel pain when running? What are your career goals? Be as honest as possible because the answers will help you find the right shoes. And if the staff does not ask questions or carry out this type of evaluation, go to a different store, says Denton.
Various shoe options
There are four main categories in ordinary shoes: neutral, stability, movement control and minimum. In general, neutral shoes are designed not to influence your gait, they only provide cushioning and shock absorption under the feet. They are best for runners with little pronation. The stability shoe is designed for moderate pronators, while the movement control shoes are for overpronators or people whose feet roll a bit while running.
In recent years a growing number of runners have opted for "minimalist" footwear, shoes that are lighter in weight and have only a small amount of padding between the runner's foot and the floor. More experienced runners tend to run better in minimal shoes than new runners, although rookies can succeed in wearing them. But for most, it is necessary to make the transition to a minimal footwear over time.
The goal of the sales staff is to get footwear that complements your pronation and your individual biomechanics (how you move). But it is an imperfect formula. Some "neutral" pronators may do better in stability shoes and some heavy pronators may find success in neutral shoes, says Denton.
So the best: try several pairs. Take them out for a test of running outdoors or on a treadmill. "If it feels like something striking your arch, the shoe has a lot of support," says Jeff Moreno, a runner and orthopedic physical therapist who treats many runners. in Santa Cruz, California. "You want a feeling like a glove, but gloves that give your fingers room to move," he says.
Operation with the package
The mission of a running shop is a counselor for this sport. Once you have your shoes, collect information about group races, good routes and local races. It's a good way to meet new racing partners, and there's no better way to make kilometers go faster than to do it with friends.