So you’ve been running a while, but you’re still fairly new to the game. You picked up a pair of running shoes at the local sport store, but your knees hurt. Some pain is to be expected, and you knew that, but it’s not getting better. That tells you what you need to know. You’re not wearing the right shoes.
Getting the Right Running Shoes
There are hundreds of articles around the Internet that go into ridiculous detail about pronation and flexion. If you know what they’re talking about, that’s great, but if you don’t know, then it doesn’t help at all. But there are some very simple things that will help you learn how to pick the best running shoes.
The first thing to consider is cushioning. You want a thick, soft sole on your running shoes, especially if you run on pavement. This helps lessen the impact on your knees, which will cut back on knee injuries. That’s a good start, but there are differences between the various brands. Knowing that Reebok tends to have better cushioning for the heels than Asics could help you pick a more appropriate running shoe if you strike with the heel of your foot.
When people talk about stability, they tend to start talking about your feet and ankles. Are you pronated, or supinating? If your foot tends to roll along the outside when you’re walking, that’s called supination. If, when walking, your foot rolls inward, that’s pronation. Check the soles of a set of shoes you’ve owned for a while and you’ll see wear patterns that will tell you if you have either of these conditions. Too much wear to one side or the other will inform you of what you need in a pair of running shoes. New Balance shoes are well know for their stability, so you might want to look into those if you have problems.
The weight of the shoes should figure in to your decisions, too. Lighter shoes are, in general, better. But if they are too light, they might not be well enough made that you want to buy them. Shoe construction figures a great deal into this. You want shoes that are stiff enough to support your ankles, but not so still that they prevent your feet from performing the full range of necessary motions for running. Before you buy a new pair, pick them up and flex them in your hands. Do they bend enough? Put them on and stride around the store, to see how they feel. Some brands, like Asics, are stiffer than others, like Skechers. But a shoe that’s too stiff and too heavy will tire you out faster.