Sometime in 2016, the legendary actor and model Milind Soman ran from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, covering a distance of 570 kilometres…barefoot! Milind Soman is also a God level badass who poses with snakes and does a mad number of push-ups with his girlfriend on his back for time pass! Unless you too are a maha badass like Milind Soman, we highly recommend shoes if you are attempting a similar feat. The question now is how do you choose the right shoes? Well, that’s why we are here.
Before heading off to what you should be looking for in your shoes, let us quickly have a peek at how running shoes really work and why you need them at all.
What Science Says About Running Shoes?
Studies have found that choosing the right shoes can help you protect against common injuries that are associated with running, the most obvious of which are a stress fracture and ankle sprain. Running shoes are designed so that your foot remains cushioned from heavy impact. Not just this, but a good pair of running shoes can actually enhance your performance by providing stability and even helping you run faster.
In fact, all the top three marathon winners worldwide have been known to prefer the shoes of a particular brand because of a revolutionary technology that allows the shoes to reduce the amount of oxygen they need to run at a faster pace. This is just one example where footwear is believed to boost athletic performance. So what should you look for when shopping? Here are some tips that you might like to look at:
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What To Keep In Mind While Shopping?
Running Surface: Once you have made up your mind about purchasing shoes for running/jogging, the next thing you have to figure out is the type of surface you are running on. For example, most commonly available running shoes are designed for hard surfaces like roads, treadmills and sidewalks and thus offer more cushion so as to prevent stress fractures and other injuries common after prolonged running on hard surfaces. Similarly, if you prefer cross country running, you might want to opt for shoes that offer a better traction over uneven terrains.
Pronation: This is the natural movement of the foot as it rolls to distribute the force of impact while walking or running. There are three types of pronation –
- Neutral-pronation – This is the most common trait and is considered ideal. Neutral-pronation is characterized by slight inward movement of the ankle-bone during running.These runners can choose between any variety of shoes.
- Overpronation – An exaggerated form of foot’s natural inward roll. This leaves runners at the risk of knee pain and injury. To counter this, runners prone to overpronation are advised to go for motion control shoes.
- Under-pronation (also called supination) – This is the outward rolling of the foot. In this case, the pressure is applied to the smaller toes. Excessive supination can lead to ankle and knee injury, inflammation of the sole and even hip pain. Runners who supinate need shoes that offer a lot of cushioning.
Foot Type: The knowledge of whether you have a high arch, normal arch or even flat foot can go a long way in avoiding injuries.
If you are wondering what category you belong to, here’s a simple experiment – wet the bottom of your feet and step onto a blank piece of paper. If you see your whole footprint, you have a low arch or flatfoot. Similarly, if you have the middle portion of your foot clearly visible along with a noticeable curve, you have a normal arch and if you see only the ball of your foot and your heels, you probably have a high arch.
Quality of the Shoes: Buying a good pair of running shoes is like making an investment in your health and well being. We highly recommend that you do not skimp on it. Grabbing Rs.700 shoes from one of those “clearance sales” might appear to be a good idea but in the long run, you are doing your body more harm than good. Instead, we recommend you save enough and invest in one of the better brands which offers you both the comfort and safety you really need. They also last longer than most local shoe brands. Be careful if you are going to invest in one of those minimalist shoes though since your body will require some time to get used to them.
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Your Body Weight: Recent researchers have found that your body weight too plays a part in determining what kind of shoes you should or shouldn’t wear. If you are on the heavier side of the weight spectrum, light and soft cushioned shoes may not cut it for you. Similarly, if you are on the lighter end of the spectrum, you will probably not land with enough force to reap the benefits of a firm cushioned shoes.
In today’s age of deals, discounts and relentless marketing by brands, it is very easy to lose perspective and settle for a substandard product. We hope that this article will help you research better and thus help you get a better deal not just for your wallet but for your body! Till then stay fit, stay happy!