Choosing running shoes is an important part when it comes to training, but maybe we spend too much time thinking about it. You can write extensively about it (and we will), but a good start is to make the bases in the choice of the shoe clear.
Be honest with yourself
The first thing you have to do is ask yourself: “Do I run well?” I mean, do I have a refined technique? Do I have my muscles ready? As I get tired, am I neglecting technique? It’s okay if you run badly, we’ve been wearing cushioned shoes for most of our lives and adopting vices that should not be there, so you’ll have to resort to cushioned shoes and start improving your running technique. If you run well, congratulations, you will be less prone to injury and you can resort to shoes with little cushioning.
You have to get on the scales and not cheat. The shoes have recommended weight ranges depending on the cushioning and stability. If you weigh 65 kg you can (and should) wear lightweight shoes with less cushioning, but if you weigh 90 kg you will need more cushioning and you will have to resort to more expensive shoes. Just because a shoe is more expensive does not mean it is better, just that it is made of more materials and technologies.
Are you prone to any particular injury? It is important to determine this because there are shoes that can make the risk of a certain injury mitigate. For example, if you have plantar fasciitis, look for models that support the arch area. If you usually have overloads in the soleus and twins, you should avoid stepping on the forefoot while strengthening your muscles with auxiliary exercises and looking for shoes with a rather high (10 or 12 mm) drop (height difference between heel and forefoot). For problems of ankle or knee twisting, the stability of the shoe must be considered.
It is very important to know what type of arch you have. Finding it approximately is simple, wetting the sole of the foot and leaving the mark on a piece of paper. Of course, the best thing is a podiatric study. This simple test limits the models that you can access, since a person with a low arch (or flat feet) should not buy shoes with a marked arch, and a person with a high arch should not wear shoes with a low arch.
State of form
The pace at which you will be able to run quietly during training is crucial at the time of the choice. For slow paces, flexible shoes will be needed to try to refine the race technique as much as possible. Runners with good physical shape will have more developed muscles and more flexibility, so they will be prepared for shoes with lower drop and are lighter (less cushioned).
Some brands make more than one width for some of their shoes, being the D in men and B in women that we usually find in all the shoes of the market. For narrow feet there is sometimes the option of size B in men, 2E in men and D in women will be for wide feet and 4E in men and 2E in women for very wide feet. The difference between one width and another is half a centimeter (which is enough) so most of us use size D in men and B in women, but if you clearly have the widest or narrowest, it would be a good option to resort to one of these options.
We go crazy with the perfect size, but there is a quick trick: leave the width of a finger between the longest toe and the toe of the shoe. That’s it. The foot is usually inflated in the race when you have done more than 5 kilometers, so you have to leave some margin to avoid chafing and blisters. That does not necessarily mean choosing another number, sometimes with half a number will suffice.
Type of tread
Knowing if you are a pronator, neutral or supinator is important, but not decisive. Pronation is the turn of the ankle towards the inside of the foot during the step. It is not necessarily bad to be prone, as it is a natural mechanism of the foot to cushion the body, but sometimes excessive pronation causes discomfort and correction is needed. In that case you have to resort to some insoles or to look for some pronators shoes. 60% of the runners pronate to a lesser or greater extent and sometimes it appears when we are tired and we begin to neglect the technique. If you are pronator but have been using neutral shoes for a while and have not caused any discomfort, it is best to continue with this type of shoe.
Being a supinator (that the ankle turns outwards in the footstep) is rare and even then, people do not stop asking about shoes for supinators. Having the foot dig or that the shoe wear on the outside does not mean that it is supinator. Only 4-5% of the runners supinate, so there are no 100% specific shoes for supinators. You will have to resort to neutral sneakers with high flexibility (such as the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 or the New Balance 1080 v7).
The terrain where you are going to run is important. If you run on asphalt or cement (on the sidewalk), the most usual thing is to resort to shoes with soft cushioning. If you are going to run in the park, on the grass, the stability gains importance and you will also need some grip on the sole. The cushioning in this case is not so important anymore. If the terrain is going to be rocky, along roads and paths or rock, it is necessary to resort to trail shoes that provide greater grip, protection and a lot of stability.
The pace that is going to used normally with the shoe is important at the time of the choice. Many training shoes are made to run at 5: 30 / km and will not respond equally well at 4: 00 / km. For slower paces of 4: 30 / km, both for training and for racing, it is normal to resort to cushioned shoes. For 3: 45 / km – 4: 30 / km we will have to use lighter shoes with less cushioning and for less than 3: 45 / km it will be advisable to use flying shoes, although at this rate we will almost always be in fast running, series or races.
It is also important to determine if the shoe will be exclusively for racing (and some quick training to prepare the foot) or to train as well. If it’s just to compete, you can be riskier and look for a faster model, with more response. If you have to combine it with the training, you have to pay more attention to the pace of training because you are going to do that more than 90% of the time.
You have also take into account weather conditions when choosing your running shoes. In places with generally warm weather and little rain this point is not very important but if you live in an area where usually rains you have to look for models with good grip, especially if you run on asphalt or cement. Right now Adidas, with the Continental sole is in the lead in this aspect, but there are many other shoes that perfectly meet these conditions.
Is there a perfect shoe for everyone?
No, and if someone says it, he is lying. No two feet are the same and that’s why there are so many types of shoes. A model can be better or worse for a typical user, but if that runner uses a good shoe that does not fit into his segment, it will surely be worse than the worst one that is suitable for him or her.
There is a lot of innovation in the world of sneakers, and more lately that running has grown in popularity, but there is no perfection. The best thing is to determine your characteristics and choose among all the range of possibilities that there are. With a little effort you will soon find some shoes that suit you.
And now that you know how to choose your shoes … look for them at Runnics and find them cheaper than anywhere else.
Inspired by “How to choose running shoes” by Jónatan Simón at Foroatletismo.com and adapted.