Why You Need the Right Footwear When Running

There are a number of rules runners need to follow to train effectively and minimize the risk of injury. One of the most commonly neglected mistakes runners make is ensuring they have the right footwear. Wearing the wrong shoes can slow you down and lead to a number of potential injuries.

Injuries Caused by Wearing the Wrong Shoes

Most new runners don’t realize that one of the leading causes of injuries is due to wearing the wrong footwear. Some of the injuries that can arise include:

  • Knee pain caused by sliding kneecaps or pronation
  • Joint pain on the back of the heel
  • Callouses to the bottom of the feet
  • Shin splints

These problems can be caused when you wear a shoe that doesn’t fit the form of your foot. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to prevent these injuries if you don’t know what to look for.

Your Shoes Need to Match Your Feet Well

Don’t buy a set of shoes just because they received good reviews on Consumer Reports or your friends tell you that they worked great for them. You need a pair of shoes that fit you perfectly. Maybe a specific brand or style is good overall. However, your own feet may not adapt as well to them as you think.

Everyone’s feet are built differently. Your feet need to be able to both rise and flatten with each step you take. You can develop injuries if you wear shoes that don’t provide this range of motion when running. Your shoes need to give the right support to the arches of your feet. This will allow you to maintain the running style (also known as your running “gait”) needed to move swiftly and reduce the risk of injury.

Paying More May Not Be the Solution

A number of Cross fit trainers I know think that you need to pay a substantial amount of money to get a shoe that fits right. This isn’t true at all. According to one study, runners who paid at least $100 for a pair of shoes were twice as likely to sustain an injury as those who paid half that.

That doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive shoes are likely to cause injuries. However, it also doesn’t support the misconception that people are going to run better and be less likely to suffer from an injury if they pay for an expensive bank of shoes.

What to Look for in a Shoe

There are a variety of things you should check for when you are picking out a shoe. Ask these questions to make sure your shoe fits you properly:

  • Is the ball of your foot perfectly centered with the anterior part of the shoe?
  • Do you feel well-centered when you are standing upright? If you feel off-balance when you are stationary, then you are going to have a difficult time running with a proper gait.
  • How well do you move when you are walking? Walk around in your shoes and make sure you are comfortable and unrestricted with each stage motion.

Take the time to really get a feel for a pair of shoes before you wear them. Spending half an hour in the shoe store can prevent weeks of discomfort in the future.

Kalen Smith writes about health, diet and fitness. He writes about how the paleo diet and crossfit training work so well together.

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