Maybe you’ve been running for years – you crave the thrill of an open stretch of road before you, the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. Maybe, you hate exercise and avoid it at all costs, but do it because apparently it “helps you to live longer”, and so the endless struggle of trying to catch your breath seems worthwhile. Regardless of what your motivation (or lack thereof) is, running shoes are your friend.
For many, running is a way to clear their head, keep fit, get a well-deserved rush of endorphins, and basically stay sane. Good running shoes are expensive, and for some this doesn’t seem like a worthwhile investment, but the alternative is buying several cheap pairs back-to-back, worse runs, and possibly even injury. Choosing the right pair is the next step in the confusing and sometimes overwhelming journey to running excellence, but fortunately for you, here is a quick how-to on choosing what might be best for aspiring runners, seasoned veterans, and everyone in between.
Analyze the way you walk
You might be thinking that we all walk the same way. Heel toe, heel toe. And while this is how our body naturally finds its balance, each person’s feet land on the ground in a slightly different way – our feet rolling outwards or inwards – and figuring out how our foot hits the pavement is absolutely essential in finding the right pair of shoes.
Nike stores in Australia offer what is known as a “gait analysis”, in which a professional can help you learn which way your foot rolls. You might need more stability, or you may need a neutral shoe. Instead of focusing on how the shoe looks (I can already hear the fashion monger’s gasp!) focus on how it feels. There should be plenty of space at the end of the shoe, some say a thumb’s width, though your feet will tell you, and there should not be any pressure or tightness on the feet.
Find your ride
The overall structure of the shoe and the way it is made hugely impact how they feel when you run. Some might have a tougher exterior, more bounce, cushioning, or might be molded to the foot. The design will be different for each brand and line, so discussing it with the sales rep or professional consultant will give you an idea of how each shoe can affect your run.
Think about shoe weight
You may think most running shoes are equally light, but the truth is they vary greatly, and this can also affect runners, specifically the long-distance kind. Someone lifting weights at the gym might like a heavier, more stable shoe, while someone training for a marathon will want to keep it as light as possible.
Consider how it’s made
The way the shoe is built is unique to each brand and range, and our feet need the right shape, build and materials for optimal comfort and performance. In Australian Nike stores, the staff is knowledgeable and able to give you more information about how the shoes are made and which might best for you. We all want a shoe that will keep us comfortable over long distances, make us faster, and ultimately fitter.
Choose the right height
Midsole height refers to the height at the middle of the shoe, and this is another incredibly important thing to consider. A higher midsole gives you less ground feedback and may not be as efficient as a midsole that’s lower to the ground. This is why midsole height is usually the best option for runners. The material of the midsole is also important – opt for something light but strong, which will cushion your foot and minimize the possibility of injury.
Essentially, a good running shoe can transform your run from early morning drudgery into something you can’t wait to do. Well, let’s not kid ourselves, it will make it somewhat less terrible. All jokes aside, investing in a good pair of running shoes can make more of a difference than we might realize. Giving yourself a head start with stability, good energy flow through the body and comfort can make seriously change how you feel before and after a run, and ultimately helps you maintain your health in the simplest way possible.