10 Tips for Selecting the Right Running Shoes
With the Women’s Only 5k walk and run around the corner, race participants are hitting the ground running in preparation of the annual race to benefit Guilford County women who cannot afford mammograms.
Before you take to the pavement to get ready for the largest women’s only race in the Southeast, you need to make sure you are protecting your feet and ankles with the proper footwear.
Selecting the right shoe is critical in preventing injury. Here are some best practices that the podiatrists at Triad Foot Center recommend for optimal performance:
- Select a shoe for the type of running you’ll be doing. If you plan on running mostly on pavement or sidewalks, choose shoes that are light and flexible for repetitive strides on hard, even surfaces. Trail running shoes, on the other hand, are designed for traction, stability and underfoot protection on uneven surfaces. They also offer additional ankle support.
- We recommend getting a thorough gait analysis to be sure you’re getting the right type of shoe for your specific running form and gait.
- Have your shoes fitted at an athletic shoe store. Don’t order your running shoes online unless you already know how they fit and feel. Shoe sizes vary widely between different manufacturers, and in many cases, small changes between shoe styles can mean the difference between comfort and calluses.
- Shop for shoes in the afternoon, when your feet will be at their largest. Feet naturally swell slightly during the day and feet lengthen during a run.
- When trying on shoes, take a light jog in the store with them on to make sure they feel good while running. Be aware if the shoe is rubbing the toes or toenails, as this could cause toenail injuries when running longer periods of time. The shoes should not ‘flop’ on the feet or rub the backs of the ankles.
- If you are an avid runner, it’s a good idea to have an orthotic custom-fitted to your feet to ensure the proper support is given and that your form is balanced to prevent injury.
- When picking out a running shoe, pick one that bends right behind the toe area, not at the arch. A proper shoe shouldn’t be flimsy enough to easily twist from side to side, and you shouldn’t be able to pinch the back sides of the heel inward – it should be firm.
- If you plan on running in the evenings or at night, be sure to get a running shoe with a reflective surface somewhere on the front and back of the shoe to alert other people on trails, sidewalks or roads of your approach.
- Replace your running shoes every 350-500 miles. If you run every day, we suggest investing in multiple pairs of running shoes so you always have a dry pair that has had time to rebound in the cushioning.
- Don’t forget about your socks! Ill-fitting socks are one of the primary causes of blisters. Wet socks and cotton socks cause blistering as well, and don’t allow moisture to be pulled away from the skin. Look for form-fitting socks made of synthetic materials that will wick moisture away from the skin.
Risks of running without properly fitted shoes include:
- Ligament strains
- Stress fractures
- Shin splints
- Runner’s toe
- Black toenails and other toenail conditions
- Plantar fasciitis
- Muscle cramping
- Flattening of the arch
- Heel fissures
- Achilles tendonitis
Be sure to sign up for the Women’s Only race to show your support of breast cancer screening. You may save someone’s life!
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