How to Choose the Right Running Shoes

January 2021

How to choose the right running shoes

Nice to see you here! If you’ve stumbled across this post, it’s probably because you’re an avid runner who’s looking to invest in an excellent, well fitting running shoe, if you’re new to the game and are just looking for a little bit of advice, or you’re not sure if you’re current shoe is the one for you! Say no more, we’ve got you.

Are your running shoes doing more harm than good?

A bad running shoe can impact you quite heavily. It can enable hip, back, joint or knee pain or give you bruises and blisters! Running is great for your physical health, but if you’re going home in pain and aching in certain areas, you will end up with injuries which is no good to anyone!

Signs you’re not wearing the right shoe include:

● Bruised toes and toenail loss - this means that your shoe is too small for your foot size. Suffering with the above indicates that your shoe is too narrow or too small.

● Blisters and Calluses - This is caused by the pressure of wearing shoes that are too tight and narrow for your feet.

● Wetness in the shoe - This could mean one of two things. One, that if your feet or socks are damp, it means your shoe is too tight and has no room for ventilation. Or two, that your shoe is old and water from your running path is seeping into the shoe. Bin them, it’s time for some new ones!

● Aching arches - This usually means that the shoe is too big or it’s not supportive enough for your shape foot. The muscles in the arches of our foot tighten to make sure the shoe doesn’t slip off. Overuse of these muscles can cause an injury such as plantar fasciitis which causes the nerves, ligaments and tendons in the heel and arch of your foot to become chronically inflamed.

two rows of grey and black trainers in a semi-circle format

Budget

There can be a lot of money spent when trying to make sure you’re getting the best shoe for your money. It's best to take 5-10 minutes and do a bit of research on how much you are willing to spend on the right shoe and this will help you refine your search.

What surface or terrain will you be running on?

The next stage in figuring out the style running shoe for you is to assess what surface you will be or are running on. If your runs take place on pavements or tracks, then you’ll need to search for road shoes. This style of shoe provides more cushioning for shock absorption and will reduce your risk of injury.

If you’re running through trails, woods or muddy areas then you’re best to look out for a trail shoe with a thick and deep tread. These will give better grip and ankle support which is essential when running on uneven terrain.

If you’re not sure, and want the option of taking on a mixture of surfaces, then you’re best to get a hybrid running shoe. They will work well across all terrains by providing a mix of cushioning, support and grip.

How far are you running?

If you’re training to run a half marathon, marathon or even an ultra marathon (kudos to you!), then you will require a more cushioned shoe with strong support. However you’re trying to complete your C25K then you will require a shoe with more flexibility!

Running pronation and gait analysis

Now this really is one of the most important parts of figuring out the perfect running shoe for you.

To explain what it is that we’re on about, pronation, which is known as flexible foot, is where the runner has low arches to flat feet. The runner would tend to roll their ankle inwards, so would require a shoe with varying levels of support to hold up the low arches and control the rolling of the ankle.

Neutral foot is when the foot and ankle are able to hold a vertical position and there is no exaggeration on your footprint. This would require a standard neutral shoe.

Supination, which is known as rigid foot in the running world, is the opposite of pronation. The runner has high arches and tends to roll their ankle outwards. This would need a well cushioned, neutral shoe to give you support and control.

If you need help in figuring out which of these categories you fall into, dip the base of your foot into water and step straight onto a coloured or dark piece of paper/card. The footprint will enable you to shop the right shoe for you!

The Four Basic Arch Types. One set of flat feet footprint, one set of normal footprints, one set of high arch and one set of very high footprints

Different Types of Running Shoe

There are thousands of different types of running shoes, however they fall into a select few categories.

Cushioned and Neutral Shoes

Cushioned and Neutral Running Shoes are important for those who do not roll their ankle inwards or outwards, and need cushion and support which can mimic the natural process of running to reduce the shock sent through to your joints and spine.

Stability and Structured

Stability running shoes provide medium support with cushioning and support as a middle ground between motion control and restriction. This type of shoe is suitable for those who are taking on different terrain types.

Lightweight Shoes

Lightweight running shoes are perfect for those of us taking on a shorter run. As they are lightweight, they are usually a lot more flexible and cushioned to profect your feet. It will decrease your fatigue and pain after your run and enable for quick recovery.

Trail Shoes

Now, for those of us who like to run on the muddy, rocky and testing surfaces, you need a trail shoe. These typically come with a midfoot support wrap, Gore-Tex liners and thick rubber soles to stay durable and hard wearing. The main thing to look for when needing a trail running shoe is a strong grip. A deeper tread will enable grip and stability on uneven and slippery surfaces.

man and woman running on the road towards the camera

Socks

The most understated support when it comes to running shoes is a proper good sock. Sounds silly, but a properly designed running sock will have inbuilt arch, ball and heel support and will help with impact protection. Always where the socks you intend to run in when you’re trying on different running shoes. Your feet tend to swell when running so make sure they’re not too thick, as this can result in your running shoe being too tight!

Well THAT is a lot to take in, right? Key things to take from this post are:

Be prepared to spend a little bit more on the running shoe best suited to you. However if you shop with us at MandM Direct, you’re guaranteed to get your preferred style cheaper than on the high street! Do your research. Simply picking the shoe that looks pretty will probably do more harm than good. Know your pronation type. Be safe!

If you want to shop our running range, we’ve got shoes, clothes and socks galore!

Check out our Running Guide too, it’ll give you some top tips and explain the benefits of running!

Remember you can always follow our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with our latest products and releases.

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