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Published on September 22, 2017

10 Tips For Selecting the Right Running Shoes

10 Tips For Selecting the Right Running Shoes

With a host of great 5-kilometer runs around the corner, including the Oct. 14 Women’s Only 5K Walk & Run, people are hitting the trails to be ready.

Before you take to the pavement, make sure you are protecting your feet and ankles with the proper footwear.

Selecting the right shoe is critical in preventing injury. Here are 10 tips for selecting running shoes and getting the most out of them.

1. Get the right type of shoe for your running style. If you plan to run mostly on pavement or sidewalks, choose shoes that are light and flexible for repetitive strides on hard, even surfaces. Trail running shoes are designed for traction, stability and underfoot protection on uneven surfaces. They also offer additional ankle support.

2. Consider a gait analysis to be sure you’re getting the right type of shoe for your specific running form and gait. A podiatrist can perform a highly individualized, technically precise analysis.

Try your shoes on at an athletic shoe store. Don’t order your running shoes online unless you already know how they fit and feel. Shoe sizes vary widely between different manufacturers, and in many cases, small changes between shoe styles can mean the difference between comfort and calluses.

4. Shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest. Feet naturally swell slightly during the day, and feet lengthen during a run.

5. Try them out before buying. When trying on shoes, take a light jog in the store with them on to make sure they feel good while running. Be aware if the shoe is rubbing the toes or toenails, as this could cause toenail injuries when running longer. The shoes should not “flop” on the feet or rub the backs of the ankles.

6. Look for support—especially if you are an avid runner. It’s a good idea to have an orthotic custom-fitted to your feet to ensure the proper support is given and that your form is balanced to prevent injury.

7. You want a shoe that bends in the right places. Pick one that bends right behind the toe area, not at the arch. A proper shoe shouldn’t be flimsy enough to easily twist from side to side and you shouldn’t be able to pinch the back sides of the heel inward – it should be firm.

8. Be safe. If you run in the evenings or at night, get a running shoe with reflective surfaces on the front and back of the shoe to alert other people on trails, sidewalks or roads of your approach.

9. Consider buying more than one pair. Replace your running shoes every 350 to 500 miles. If you run every day, invest in multiple pairs of running shoes so you always have a dry pair that has had time to rebound in the cushioning.

10. Don’t forget about your socks! Ill-fitting socks are one of the primary causes of blisters. Wet socks and cotton socks cause blistering as well and don’t allow moisture to be pulled away from the skin. Look for form-fitting socks made of synthetic materials that wick moisture away from the skin.

Risks of running without properly fitted shoes include:

  • Ligament strains
  • Stress fractures
  • Shin splints
  • Runner’s toe
  • Black toenails and other toenail conditions
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Muscle cramping
  • Flattening of the arch
  • Blisters
  • Calluses
  • Heel fissures
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Neuromas

The right shoes can help you avoid these risks. A few simple tips can help you select the perfect pair that keeps you on track for your favorite 5Ks.

Be sure to sign up for the Women’s Only to show your support of breast cancer screening.

Infographic 10 Tips for Selecting the Right Running Shoe

About the Author

Dr. Matthew Wagoner

Matthew Wagoner, DPM is a Podiatrist with the Triad Foot Center