It’s springtime and that means that many of you are ready to hit the road, pound the pavement or perhaps try your luck at the trail. Yes, I am talking about running! And so many of you have asked me about running shoes, so let’s take a few minutes to give you some tips right here.
The very first thing you should think about when you decide to take up running is – WHAT KIND OF RUNNING SHOE IS BEST FOR ME?
Your feet are the foundation of your body. They support you when you stand, walk, or run. And they help protect your spine, bones, and soft tissues from damaging stress as you move around. Your feet perform better when all their muscles, arches, and bones are in their ideal stable positions.
The foot is constructed of three arches which when properly maintained, give exceptional supportive strength. Think about it for a second. These arches actually support the weight of your entire body.
If there is compromise of one arch in the foot, the other arches must compensate and are subject to additional stresses, which usually lead to further compromise. This then becomes a very painful thing when you try to run. Most of us have experienced pain in our feet at one time or another.
Make no mistake about this – I love to run, but it really does put stress on our feet, legs, and spine. So we need a shoe that will not only support the 3 arches mentioned above, but also one that will allow adequate toe room, support the heels and ankles and feel good on our feet.
You can spend $50 or $200. It doesn’t matter, every brand out there will be different, and not all running shoes are for everyone. I have found out from experience that an expensive shoe is not necessarily the right one for me and can cause problems!
When people ask me about what kind of running shoes to purchase here is the advice I give them:
Go to a good RUNNING store, one that has trained sales people that are actually experienced runners. One that will put you in a variety of styles and manufactures and let you walk and even run around the store. There is a store near me that I really like because they have a small track outside in the parking lot so you can run for a while with the shoes on.
Try on several types, make sure they FEEL good, make sure they support your arches, makes sure you have room in the toe box, and make sure your ankles are supported. Then make your choice.
Once you have been to what I call a boutique store once and have found a brand and style that works for you then next time you need a pair, by all means, bargain hunt for them! But if they are your first pair, or if you have gained or lost more than 20lbs and are purchasing new shoes, or if your current brand becomes unavailable, you MUST go to be fitted.
A few other tips to keep in mind:
Running shoes should always be replaced every 300-500 miles.
I usually have at least two identical pairs that I rotate. The reason is that shoes need some time to air out and regain the shape and cushion that they sometimes will lose after a run. So I do not normally use the same pair two days in a row.
No matter what they look like or how much they cost, as long as they fit, support your feet and ankles, and feel good, they are probably going to be fine for you.
Always remember an improperly fitting running shoe can lead to ankle, knee, hip and spine injuries.
Running shoes and shoes for walking are NOT the same thing.
Use your running shoes ONLY for running. Don’t wear them to work, out to restaurants, etc. Once you retire a pair from actual running use, do whatever you want with them.
I don’t care if you are running, walking, dancing, weight lifting, or working out – you must have a properly fitting shoe that is decided for the activity you are involved in.
I will be in San Francisco on May 15, 2011 running the Bay to Breakers 12K race. If any of you will be in the area running this very cool race, please let me know. It will be great to see some of my “102” friends!