From the iconic City2 – Surf fun runs to the more serious half and full marathons held around the country, runners aged from 10 years to 80 years of age with various foot types, running styles, shoes and socks galore converge upon podiatry, physiotherapy and sports medicine facilities around the country. The running season is upon us!
And with it comes tough choices for runners about the right shoes to buy. Its easy to get confused by the hundreds of shoes that adorn the walls of retailers – Asics, adidas, Brooks, New Balance, Nike, Mizuno, Puma, Saucony and others – all boldly displaying the latest colours, fashions and trends.
Here I cover my top tips for choosing running shoes.
- Know your foot type-arch shape to ensure you are on track to get the correct shoe to suit your foot. Failing to do this will result in uncomfortable shoes.
- Know your foot length and width. Do not rely on the fact that you regularly use a size 8.5 shoe in a B width. Feet change shape with age (yes, spread like other parts of the body), there is no uniformity between brands on shoe sizing (they have their own rules) and sizing varies even within models.
- If you have an injury, seek professional advice on what your needs will be. Do you require a firm running shoe?, a cushioned shoe?, one with arch support? or something that allows the foot to roll? This one’s not for “Dr Google” – it is pretty complex and information found online only scratches the surface.
- If you use arch supports or wear orthotics or braces, make sure you take them to the store when trying shoes on.
- Buy shoes from a reputable retailer who can offer fitting advice. If you have a specific recommendation from a health care provider use that advice. Do not take the word of the shop assistant no matter how helpful (code for convincing) they are.
- Feet expand throughout the day (especially in warm weather) so best purchase toward the end of the day.
- Common sense would indicate to buy the correct fit. Spend a day in my clinic to get a snapshot of how many people wear shoes that are either too short or too narrow. You should have about a thumb width between your big toe and the end of the shoe. This will allow for a long second toe not being crammed into shoe.
- Common sense would also dictate that if the shoe is not comfortable when first trying it on, DO NOT buy it. The concept of a shoe becoming more comfortable with time is nonsense. You do not buy a shirt or jeans that are uncomfortable so why a pair of shoes?
- The marketing campaigns are tempting. Do not be tempted.
It is a jungle of shoes out there. If need help you know where to go – after all it is why I created Shoe Buddy. Good hunting!