A Word About Running Shoes

With warm weather and running season here for a short time,
it’s the perfect time to start getting geared up for some good old-fashioned
exercise.  Wearing the appropriate
running shoes means more than feeling comfortable—it can be the difference
between remaining injury free and sitting out for the season.  Whether you plan on tackling a marathon or just
hitting the trails for fun, here’s how to select a pair of running shoes to
keep you going mile after mile after mile…

Shop for shoes at the
end of the day.
Your feet swell
throughout the day, so you want to find a shoe that fits your largest foot
size.  Your feet will expand as you run, and
you don’t want to be stuck with shoes that leave your feet feeling cramped.

Bring your orthoses
with you.
If you wear custom
orthoses, make sure you have them on hand when trying on shoes.  The style and size of shoe you need to buy
will likely change when you are wearing your orthoses.

Try out your shoes
while running.
You won’t just be
walking in these shoes, so don’t just walk around when trying them on.  Take a few laps around the store or see if
the store has a treadmill where you can jog for a few minutes to really see how
they feel.  Most stores allow you to
return shoes if you haven’t worn them outside, so you can bring them home and
run on your own treadmill or jog around a bit inside before you have to fully
commit to your purchase.

Don’t make any
changes right before race day.
A bright,
shiny, new pair of shoes will surely help anyone run a little faster for a big
race, right?  Wrong!  This is a common mistake that many runners
make.  Unfortunately, they usually
realize their error in the middle of that big race, when their feet are
blistered, injured, and painful.  Running
shoes take a while to break in, so it’s best to try out a new shoe several
weeks before race day to feel certain that your feet are completely content in
your new gear.

Find a specialty
running store.
These stores usually
have an expert on hand who can analyze your gait and foot type and provide
recommendations on shoes that will work best for you.  While you may pay a bit more than at a
department store, it’s more likely that you will end up with a better pair of
shoes in the long run.

Don’t fall into the
fad trap.
Minimalist shoes and
barefoot running may be all the rage right now, but that doesn’t mean it works
for everyone.  For most foot types, a
minimalist shoe may do more harm than good.
Running without support can cause injuries such as plantar fasciitis or
stress fractures, and it puts stress on every other part of the body in new
ways.  Those who run barefoot or in
minimalist shoes have to work up to it slowly and may even need to consult an
expert to see if their foot type will be able to handle such minimal support.

Listen to your
body.
It may sound trite, but if
your feet hurt, it’s probably time to replace your shoes.  Brands are always changing, so even if a
certain brand has been your standby in the past, you may need to try something
new to find optimal comfort.

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