Archive for the 'How to Select the Right Running Shoe' Category

12
Aug
15

How to Find the Right Running Shoes without the help of a salesman

New Balance Made in USA This article is aimed at helping you find the right running shoes. First, we will look at the characteristics of the perfect running shoe. Second, to find the right type of shoe, we will need to determine how your feet rotate after it strikes the ground – does it pronate or supinate. And then, determine what type of arch your foot has. Finally, we will see how shoe manufacturers try to compensate for all of these different types of feet. But, when it comes to running shoes made in the USA, there is only one choice – New Balance.

New Balance 990

New Balance 990 Made in USA

The Characteristics of The Perfect Running Shoe

When we think of the perfect running shoe, we imagine a light-as-air-shoe that you barely know you are wearing that makes you run faster and without injury. The problem is that this is an impossible dream. The lightest shoes have the least amount of cushioning and the least amount of stability. So, everything is a sort of compromise. The most important factor is attaining a running shoe is a comfortable and correctly-fitted shoe that is cushioned and well-balanced. Don’t go strictly by the size. Always try on the shoes, tie them and run around before buying a pair. Sizes may very between brands and sometimes within the same brand. Tip: it is best to try on shoes later in the day or after a run (feet do swell from a minimal amount to a moderate amount throughout the day, the least amount of swelling is right after waking up – which is the worst time to try on shoes). Don’t pick shoes that are too small. There should be enough room for a thumbnail at the toe end of the shoe. Shoelaces should be tied snugly but not too tight. And, pick a type of shoe based on your own feet to decrease injury – see below.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- Which direction do your feet Go? In describing the way the feet rotate, first we need to define a couple of terms: pronate and supinate. To easily visualize this, let us use your arms (instead of your feet): Sit in front of a table with elbows on the table and thumbs pointing straight at the ceiling – this is the neutral position. Rotate your arms so that you end up with your palms down on the table – this is pronation. If you rotate your arms so that the backs of the hands are on the table – that is supination. Now, when we talk about the feet and ankles, all feet will pronate, the issue is how much. In running, 95% of people land on the heel (the outside half of the heel) and then there is a rotation (or pronation) onto the rest of the foot of about 15 degrees.

Overpronation

Overpronation

The 15 degree pronation is called “neutral pronation” or just “neutral”. When the foot rotates inwards more than 15 degrees, this is called overpronation or sometimes just “pronation”.

Overpronation

Overpronation

If the foot rotates inwards less than 15 degrees, it is called underpronation or sometimes “supination”. An underpronator will land on the outside of the heel and will transfer the weight to the front of the foot mostly on the outside of the foot. prone supinate Runner’s World article on Pronation and video of underpronator on treadmill.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————– Feet – Type of Arch (from Runner’s World) A second method in choosing a shoe is determining the arch of the foot. What type of arch do you have? One way is to just look at your foot. A more accurate method is to examine your footprint by either running in the sand or on paper with wet feet. (Not everybody agrees that the arch of the foot tells you whether you overpronate or underpronate or are neutral).

The Arch of the Foot

The Arch of the Foot

There are three different types of feet (having to do with the arches):

Flat Feet

If you’re looking at your foot, you’ll know you have flat feet if you don’t see any arch. The bottom of your foot, from your toes to your heel, is completely flat. If you do the footprint test, your print will look like a foot-shaped blob. You won’t see an inward curve from your big toe to your heel. Problem? If you’re flat-footed, you’re most likely an overpronator, which means that your feet roll inward when you run. What to Buy: “Stability” or “Motion Control” shoes.

Arch imprints on the floor

Arch imprints on the floor

High-arched Feet

You should be able to easily determine if you have high arches — you’ll notice a high and definite arch on your foot.

If you do the footprint test, your print will curve inward, making the middle part of your foot look very skinny. When you push your hand against the bottom of your foot, your arch will stay rigid.

Problem? If you have high arches, you probably supinate or underpronate, which means your feet roll outwards as you run. It’s very important that runners with high arches periodically re-measure their feet because running will cause their arches to gradually fall, making their feet longer. What to Buy: “Cushioned” type shoes.

Neutral or Normal Feet

If you’ve examined your foot or your footprint and it doesn’t look flat-footed or high-arched, you most likely have a neutral or normal foot. Your footprint will have a noticeable curve inward, but not by more than 3/4 of an inch. Problem? As long as you pick a running shoe that doesn’t counteract your foot type, you shouldn’t encounter any problems. This is the most common type of foot, and it’s also the least susceptible to injury provided it’s outfitted with proper footwear. What to Buy: Just about any well made running shoe. Avoid “motion control” or a strong “stability” shoes.

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How Do You Know Whether You Overpronate, Underpronate or are Neutral?

The simplest way to see which way you run (overpronate, underpronate or are neutral) is to look at your own old running shoes and look at the wear pattern: Everybody will have increased wear on the outer heel first (95%) but it is the forefoot which will tell you which way you pronate. If there is increased wear on the inside of the forefoot of the shoe, then you are an overpronator; if there is increased wear on the outside of the forefoot, then you are an underpronator; if the wear is in the middle then you are neutral. See the diagram below:

Wear Patterns

Wear Patterns

If this is method is unavailable, the the very best way of determining pronation is going to a store that specializes in running shoes and have the salesperson evaluate your running motion or, better yet, video tape you running on a treadmill.

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Types of Shoes

There are three types of shoes: Cushioned, Motion Control and Stability.

Cushioned Shoes

The simplest to explain is the “Cushioning” shoes. Cushioning is actually a “neutral” shoe, it is does not attempt to move the feet in any unnatural way. They are usually the most flexible and the most cushioned. Cushioning is on three levels: first, the treads – often a soft type rubber, like blown rubber: second, the insert is a cushion – usually the more expensive the shoe, the better the cushion: and third, the sole – the sole has cushioning, and usually the more expensive the shoe the more cushioned the sole.

Best Bets for Cushioned Shoes

Cushioned shoes are best for neutral runners, people with high arches and especially underpronators (because the other two types: motion control and stability shoes tend to cause the foot to underpronate which would exacerbate the underpronators’ problem.)

Motion Control Shoes

Motion Control shoes are made specifically for overpronators. On the arch side of the Motion Control Shoes has more support – either denser rubber or other materials (which do not compress as easily and therefore gives more support) and/or roll bars to eliminate excessive roll towards the inside of the foot. The motion control shoes are usually the stiffest, and some are well cushioned. (If there is no salesperson around and you see a different colored and harder rubber on the arch, then you know you are dealing with a motion controlled shoe. Shoe manufacturers do not ever put dual density (denser) rubber only on the outside of the shoe – if it happens, it is going around the whole heel and arch as well.)

New Balance motion control shoes has a different colored Dual Density rubber on the arch side of the shoe

New Balance motion control shoes have a different colored Dual Density rubber on the arch side of the shoe

Best Bets For Motion Control Shoes

Motion Control shoes are best for overpronators and people with flat feet. Mild pronators may be okay. Underpronators – stay away.

Stability Shoes

Stability Shoes are a kind of hybrid between the motion control and the cushioned shoes. Stability shoes have some arch support which prevents overpronation when one is tired.  Often there is mid-foot support with a good amount of cushioning. These are the best sellers as they are good for mild pronators, normal arch, neutral runners and flat feet – which constitute most runners. Overpronators can also benefit from some stability control.

Types of Running Shoes Based on Where You Run

If you are not a serious runner, you may be awed by the all of the different types of shoes for running. The most common type of running shoes are called Trainers or road shoes. They have the most cushioning, they are more durable and the treads are made for hard surfaces.

Trail shoes are similar to trainers except the treads are different, made specially for softer surfaces and trails.

Cross Trainers are a shoe designed for both running and aerobics. For the serious runner, these types of shoes usually are not adequate.

Race shoes are ultra light weight shoes with just a little bit of cushion, if any. The bottoms differ based on the surface to be raced on – road, track or trail (spikes).

New Balance Shoes

New Balance has been making shoes for 75 years. Whereas all other athletic she manufacturers have abandoned the United States for the cheaper shores of China and Vietnam, New Balance still makes some athletic shoes in the USA, they are the only athletic shoe manufacturer in the USA presently. What is great about the New Balance shoes, besides being of incredible quality, is that they proudly display that they are made in the USA. On the outside of the American made shoes, there is a stamp of the American Flag on the box, and on the shoes, stamped “Made in the USA” is on the tongue or on the back of the shoes.

New Balance 998 Made in USA

New Balance 998 Made in USA

New Balance also allows you to design your own shoes. Choose your own colors or designs on certain models, check out their website: New Balance customize your own shoes.

Other References

Runner’s World Tips and Videos Runners Advisor

Huffington Post It’s All About The Roll

Is It Harmful to Heel Strike While Running? Myths of Forefoot striking

How to choose running shoes – REI




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