The New Year brings about resolutions for a healthier lifestyle, so many of us are hitting the roads and gyms more at present to burn off those extra calories consumed over Christmas. However, many the enthusiastic New Year exerciser is left frustrated when they are unable to continue with their new exercise regime due to injury.
Injuries can occur due to a myriad of different reasons such as overload and poor exercise technique. Incorrect footwear can also be a contributor to injury and below is a quick guide to assist in choosing the best running shoes for you.
Over the years I have met clients from both extremes:
1) Those who spend a fortune on top of the range workout clothes and runners even though they are only beginners and exercising at a low intensity.
2) Those who decide to hit the roads and treadmills wearing only a pair of Converse!
Essential Features of your running shoe are:
Firm Heel Cup
Stability and control of your rearfoot (the heel area) is very important for all foot types. It will help prevent excessive rolling in (pronation) or rolling out (supination) of your foot depending on your foot type. A good test is to squeeze the heel cup of the shoe and it should be firm and difficult to compress.
Firm Mid-Foot Section
This is also an important feature for stability and control under your arch, especially in those of us who tend to pronate excessively when walking or running. It should be very difficult to bend the shoe in this area.
Flexibility at the front of the shoe is very important to allow us have a normal running or walking pattern when we “toe off”. It should be easy to bend the shoe in this area.
It is important that you purchase a running shoe with the correct width for your foot to ensure you benefit from the stability and control outlined above. Different brands of running shoe are designed for a wider or narrower foot. I would recommend getting measured and fitted in a local sports store which specializes in running shoes.
Most of the well-known brands on the market have running shoes with the essential features listed above. Most now stock different ranges for different levels of running such as Asics who recommend specific styles for beginners up to elite athletes.
A good pair of running shoes normally costs over €50. For the beginner who is walking and/or jogging a few times a week an entry level style is more than sufficient so long as it fulfils the essential features listed above.