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If The Shoe Fits...

Written by  Tina Joyce

The urge to keep your New Year’s resolutions may have you rushing out to hit the pavement for a few miles. After all, you don’t want to lose your momentum. However, it’s important to put your health and long-term goals first and make avoiding injuries your top priority.  

Whether you are an avid runner or a recreational jogger, if running is part of your fitness plan, then choosing the right shoes will help you avoid injury, improve your performance and increase your comfort.

Seek experts

Contact your physician or local running club and ask for retailers in the area with knowledgeable staff to assist you. Ask to be measured each time you purchase shoes. Choosing a size that is ultimately too tight on one or both feet may cause you discomfort and/or injury.

To enhance your natural gait, ask for help seeking lightweight shoes with minimal heel-to-toe drop and adequate support. “By getting in a properly fitted shoe, according to gait analysis, you will limit the risk of running- and walking-induced injuries,” explains Stephen Howard, Retail and Events Manager at RunAbout Sports. “A properly fitted pair of running/walking shoes will reduce the stress on your body by improving your form.”

The American College of Sports Medicine offers clear and thorough information on “Selecting Running Shoes” that can be an excellent guide for information seekers.

Additionally, do your research and verify your sources; don’t simply trust the first thing that you read or hear.

Invest

Avoid trendy shoes or those that are not designed for forward-motion mechanics (a.k.a., running). There is no one particular brand that works for every individual. In fact, many familiar brand names make shoes that are ideal for running, but they also manufacture shoes that are not designed for this purpose. Therefore, choosing by brand is not the best decision.

Although a good pair of running shoes may seem expensive, once you consider the miles you will log and the ramifications of a possible lingering injury, you will realize that your health is well worth the investment.

Listen to your body

There is no single shoe that fits best for every individual and every activity. If the retailer will allow it, you can try running on a treadmill in the store. If something doesn’t feel right, try another shoe.

“We always say that you can walk in a good running shoe, but you can't run in a good walking shoe,” explains Howard.

A few guidelines:

  • There should be a half inch between your toes and the end of the shoe.
  • Make certain that the heel doesn’t slip.
  • The shoes should not be too tight or pinch your toes, so they should have a wide toe box.
  • Be careful with “stability components” that may interfere with your natural foot motion.
  • The arch support should match your arch needs.

Selecting well-fitting shoes will help motivate you to stay on track with your fitness goals. Remember, happy feet equal a happy you!

“Not only can a properly fitted pair of running/walking shoes reduce the stress on your body by improving your form, having a good pair of shoes will motivate you to get out and be healthy!” – Stephen Howard, RunAbout

What is video gait analysis?

Video analysis software can assess your running style by analyzing your biomechanical patterns with angles, measurements and shapes. This analysis can assist you in selecting a comfortable and well-fitting shoe.

 

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