Selecting and Replacing Running Shoes

by Eric Bofinger

The best way to select a proper pair of running shoes is to first take a look at how your old running shoes performed.  First, lay your shoes on a flat surface, do they tilt inward or outward?  And inward tilt may be the product of a lack of stability and arch support, while an outward tilt may be a lack of shock absorption.  Do you notice any left right imbalances, meaning are your shoes wearing differently?  Under normal circumstances the human foot pronates with each foot strikes.  Pronation of the foot can be described as striking with the lateral part of the foot and then rolling toward the medial part in which the ball of the foot contacts the ground right before the toe off phase.  Generally, this causes normal wear on the outside back and inside front of the shoe.  There are also many other comfort aspects of the shoe, which the consumer should be aware of including toe box size, material, breathability, stitching, etc.  Don’t be afraid to try on the shoe and take them for a spin.  Many running stores are now starting to understand the importance of proper shoe fit and are allowing customers to take shoes on a test run.

If after many failed attempts of finding the correct shoe, you still find yourself becoming injured, then maybe it’s the shoe life that is affecting your health.  On average, running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles, which equates to approximately 6 months of running 3-5 miles per day, 4 days a week.  Keeping an accurate running log is an important tool for tracking mileage on a pair of shoes.  In a case of injury, it may be beneficial to replace shoes more frequently to ensure maximum cushioning and support.  Specialty running stores, podiatrists, and physical therapists can give helpful hints on shoe selection, injury prevention techniques and treatment.

If you are still becoming injured, then maybe you are the problem, so it’s probably time to stop blaming your shoes, stop running and get some professional help!  Common running injuries of the knee, hip, and shins can often be attributed to problems down the chain at the foot.  Proper strength training and various barefoot exercises can help strengthen the foot.  Over the past two years there has even been a large shift towards barefoot running or minimalist running in Vibram Five Fingers, or Nike Frees.  Please click on the thumbnail below to read more about this topic.

If there are any questions or comments please let me know!

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