Want to improve your run? Start with your shoes
Running is a great activity for health and fitness but it is also considered to be high impact. Although natural, running can place strain on joints and muscles. That is why it is a good idea to wear a high quality pair of running shoes. Running shoes with good support and cushioning makes sense for runners who are keen to alive niggles and injuries.
Buy the right shoe for the job
Because running is a specialised activity, it is important to but a good quality shoe designed specifically for running.
Choose a trail or road running shoe, depending on the type of surfaces you plan to run on. Not only will the right shoes improve your performance, but they will also safeguard you against injuries cause by shoes that do not support your foot or suit your gait. (More of this below.)
If you still feel uncertain, speaking to the staff at any of the Nike shoe stores is a great solution. They know exactly what to look out for, depending on your concern. However, it is also a god idea to know a bit about what you are looking for before heading to a store.
No-one runs like you do
Each person’s running style is affected by their build, size and fitness levels, as well as overall anatomy. The way you pronate (this is how your foot lands on the ground), your body weight, the size of your feet, where you prefer to run and what existing injuries you have are all factors that have an impact on how you run.
What works for one person might not work for another and this is why it is important to take everything into consideration, and not just buying a pair of shoes that look “cool”.
Function should, at all times, take precedence over any other aspect of the shoe. Even if you love what the shoe looks like, but it is not right for you, don’t waste your time and money by believing that it will work eventually. Start right, and you won’t regret it.
Pronation, you say… What is that?
This is the technical term for the manner in which your feet roll from side to side when you are in motion. Your feet will respond to their surroundings, but also we all have feet that pronate in a different way as they land.
When you understand your type of pronation, relative to the rest of your build, you will have a good basic understanding of what type of shoe to buy. Here are the three types:
Individuals who have natural centre alignment pronate neutrally. This means that your push-off and landing is equalised and that you do not favour the inside or outside of your foot. This leads to your weight being equally distributed across each step.
If this is you, you can buy neutral shoes that do not have any corrective properties.
When you under-pronate, you favour the outside edge of your feet and, during a footfall motion, your feet will roll slightly over their outside edge instead of being centre-aligned.
This angle can put quite some strain on the lower leg and puts pressure on the toes, both of which can lead to some degree of pain in the long run. High arches are often the culprit when it comes to underpronation, as the natural angle of the foot pushes the motion on to the outer edge. This can be corrected by wearing shoes that offer firm neutralising support in the key areas.
Finally, over-pronation is the opposite: The runner’s foot tends to roll inwards as they place each step. This is often caused by low arches or flat feet. The remedy is a pair of shoes that offers enough support and cushioning to prevent the inwards rolling of the foot, by creating artificial support under the arches.
Most shoe stores can address any query you might have about the different types of pronation, and will even be able to recommend the right type of shoes to address your individual concerns.