Whether you are running for fun or planning on becoming part of the Olympic team one day, it’s vitally important to ensure that you are wearing appropriate and correctly-fitting running shoes. Too many runners make a poor selection due to a lack of understanding of their foot type, but with a little care and forethought, it is possible to select a pair of shoes that will enhance your performance without compromising the condition of your foot structure.
Feet come in three main types, normal, flat and high-arched. After a bath or shower, take a look at your damp footprint on the bathroom floor and you will easily see which category you fall into, which will enable you to select the appropriate type of running shoes.
Your footprint will show your heel connected to the forefoot by a thick band in the classic footprint shape.
The good news is that a normal foot offers a good running action with no inherent problems. Look for a pair of running shoes with a decent level of cushioning according to your chosen running medium, but be sure to choose a stability support style. This provides a level of support under the arch of the foot to prevent the foot from rolling inwards during motion. Inward movement can compromise the structure of the foot, causing long-term damage if allowed to continue unchecked.
Your footprint will show little definition between the heel and the forefoot. Without the shape of the toes, it would be hard to tell whether the print is from a left or right foot.
Flat feet tend to roll inwards when running, which can cause long-term damage to the delicate structures inside the foot. For this reason, flat feet benefit from a motion control shoe that aims to prevent this inward rolling. Heavier than ordinary running shoes, built-in support under the arches and a specially adapted sole keep the foot in the optimum position for running. Ideal for heavier runners in addition to the flat-footed individual, motion control shoes allow people to pound their Reebok treadmills for as long as they can manage without fear of harm.
Your footprint will show little or no connection between the heel and the forefoot.
High arches leave the runner liable for extra wear and tear on the structures within the foot due to a lack of shock absorption. You require a cushioned running shoe and it is imperative that you avoid the stability shoe and the motion control shoe. Because high arches give the foot less mobility than other types, you require a shoe that allows your feet to move more easily with none of the restrictions that you find in other types of shoe.
Once you have established your basic foot style and the level of support you require for optimum performance, you can refine your choice even further. Choose performance trainers and racing styles for road races and firm ground, or off-road running shoes for a softer running surface.
Sales assistants should be able to advise you on the best types and styles available to you, but be careful to buy the very best shoes you can afford. Your feet deserve nothing less!
Lloyd Greenall is a a freelance fitness blogger, who is currently working with Reebok Fitness. He is also a Digital Marketing Assistant, though in his spare time he likes to burden the world with his, often misguided, views on Marketing/Advertising, Music, Fitness, Fashion and Design.