How to Choose the Best Running Shoe for You

May is National Runners’ Month — the perfect time to head outside, enjoy the weather and get some exercise. But do you have the right shoes?

If you’re unsure which type of running shoe is best for you, you’re not alone. There are dozens of brands with different features, and your choice is going to depend on how often and how long you run, where you run, your walking and running gait, and your personal preferences. Our practice has its own store that sells the highest quality running shoes, and our trained personnel help fit you with the best option for your foot.

Where do you run?

Do your friends call you the “roadrunner”? Then look for light, flexible shoes specially designed to provide cushioning on hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt.

Do you love to run off-road or through the hills and mountains? Ask about trail-running shoes. They’re trail-tough, specifically geared to provide good traction as well as stability and foot support as you head out into nature. Trail conditions are always changing and you never know when you might encounter heavy mud, roots, rocks, and downed trees.

Are you a “gym rat”? If you do a lot of running on the treadmill or on a soft indoor track, look for cross-training shoes designed for gym workouts.

How far do you run?

Are you a long-distance runner or a recreational jogger who does a two- or three-mile loop?

If you “go the distance” when running, you’ll want to choose a balanced running shoe, one that has a heavy level of cushioning but that is still relatively lightweight. Without the cushioning, you may be more susceptible to stress fractures and other foot problems, but you also want to have as light a shoe as possible so your footwear doesn’t add unnecessary weight during those long runs.

If you’re a short-distance neighborhood jogger, you might opt for a running shoe with more flex in it.  

What’s your running gait?

It’s important to know your gait tendency. When you walk or run, your foot rolls forward once the heel hits the ground — a motion called pronation. If the roll occurs in the center of your foot, you’re pronating normally.

If your shoes have excess wear on the inside edges, you’re overpronating, meaning that your foot rolls inward too much when you run or walk. It’s important to wear shoes that help control your motion and reduce the inward roll of your foot. A more rigid shoe can provide you with more stability.

If you underpronate, your shoes show a lot of wear on the outer edges; your foot rolls outward when you walk or run. When this happens, you’re landing heavily on the side of your foot, and the extra impact can be hard on your joints. You need extra cushioning in your shoes to help your foot roll forward normally. This will ensure that the foot absorbs the shock, rather than your legs and spine.

Purchasing your running shoe

At Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists, you benefit from knowledgeable, personal assistance from our shoe fitter who works with you to ensure your running shoe is just right for you. Our foot  specialists analyze your gait to determine if you over-pronate, under-pronate, or pronate normally. They recommend the options that are going to suit you best.

If you wear orthotics, bring those with you so you can try on the shoes exactly the way you’re going to use them. Our shoe fitter has you test out shoes on our treadmill to ensure total comfort for your feet.

Our practice has its own store that sells top quality Brooks running shoes. Brooks, a 100-year-old company, has been making running shoes since 1977. Brooks’ only business is producing high-performance running shoes.

Call or book an appointment online with Alliance Foot and Ankle Specialists today for an evaluation of your personal foot mechanics and help choosing the type of running shoe that will enhance your performance.

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