Finding the right pair of shoes takes a bit of research and a bit of know-how, but the main thing is to make sure that you know what you’re working with when hunting for a new pair. Every brand will try and convince you that theirs is the best because generating sales is their job. But when you really think about it, not all shoes are created equal, and it’s up to you to find the best pair for your needs. Things like your foot structure, your gait, your weight, and other factors all matter when you start considering different options.
Still, confused about where to start? Let’s look at a couple of basic considerations:
Where Do You Love To Run?
As much as this can sound like a trick question, it is actually a pivotal starting point in determining the type of shoe you need. If you are an urban runner, mainly making use of pavements, roads, tracks, and event treadmills, you would benefit from a road running shoe. These shoes provide more cushioning to help mitigate the impact of flat, hard surfaces on your feet, and the flat sole is designed with minimum interference in mind. Flat and hard surfaces, combined with the repetitive motion of running, can contribute to injuries if not managed correctly. The right pair of shoes will remove this threat, leaving you to run in comfort.
If you are more of an off-roader, and love running on muddy banks, over gravel and exposed roots, and down hillsides, trail running shoes will be your best option. The studs are designed for maximum grip and support on uneven terrain. Take care though – running on concrete or tar with these shoes can cause premature wearing of the grip studs, as they are not designed for hard surfaces!
Figure Out Your Gait
Gait analysis is the first step in determining how you pronate, which is a cornerstone of the process of finding the right shoes. Pronation refers to how your feet roll from side to side while in motion, which in turn can affect your alignment and posture. Your gait analysis will determine how your foot hits the ground (in other words, what part of your foot takes the most impact upon landing). If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you could pop in at any of the Asics stores in AU and ask the staff to help you. They are well-trained in performing this analysis. The outcome of the test will impact the kind of shoe that you will benefit from most.
Insoles: Yes Or No?
Many people swear by wearing insoles, and although it is not a problem in the greater scheme of things, make sure that you bring them along to any fittings of new shoes, as they will affect the overall fit of the shoe. If you haven’t worn insoles before, here’s why you might benefit from including them: they can add additional comfort across the heel by providing more padding, and the extra cushioning can assist in preventing sideways slide of the foot inside the shoe. Preventing unnecessary motion can be a great benefit in preventing blisters, chafing and shin splints!
Don’t Forget The Socks!
You might not believe how much of a difference your socks can make to your running experience. Thick or thin socks can change the entire fit of the shoe, and when your feet expand from the heat of running, socks that are too thick can become a nuisance. Always wear the same socks that you wear for running when trying on new shoes, as you might be in for a surprise otherwise!
How Important Is The Brand That I Choose?
Running shoes should always be function over appearance – always. Even if you like the look of a pair of shoes, that alone is not enough to sway the decision. Asics stores in Australia stock a huge range of shoes, but if you find a better solution to your individual situation with another brand, let that guide your decision. Brand loyalty plays no part in maintaining the health of your feet, joints, and spine, so always pick the shoe with the best structural support.