Running for exercise has an abundance of benefits. From acting as a stress reliever to helping you maintain a healthy weight, there are plenty of reasons to start pounding the pavement.
It’s a convenient form of exercise because you can run almost anywhere and you don’t need a gym membership. You don’t need much equipment to get started, but one element that shouldn’t be overlooked is the importance of your running shoes.
While running is great for your health, it can be hard on your feet. Runners often suffer foot and ankle injuries, like plantar fasciitis, heel pain, ingrown toenails, and more. Taking the time to understand your feet and find the right running shoes can keep your feet comfortable and even prevent injury.
At PMC Foot and Ankle Clinic, Eric Blanson, DPM helps runners of all ages find the right shoes to keep them active. Read on to learn more about how you can select the right running shoes for your feet.
Find your foot type
The arch of your foot is the natural curve that runs along the sole. It supports your body weight and determines how your foot rolls when you take a step. The way your foot moves - called pronation - and the height of your arch are essential when choosing a well-fitting running shoe.
You either have a low, neutral, or high arch. Your arch affects the way your foot pronates, and you might notice that your foot rolls:
- Inward, or overpronates, if you have a low arch
- In a balanced manner if you have a neutral arch
- Outward, or under pronates, if you have a high arch
You can determine what type of arch you have by standing on a paper bag with wet feet. Your footprint will have a distinct curve along the inside of your foot, from heel to big toe, if you have a normal arch. People with low arches may not have a noticeable curve, while people with high arches may have only a small print connecting their heel and toe.
If you’re not sure what type of arch you have, make an appointment with Dr. Blanson. He’s here to help you understand your foot type and choose a running shoe that controls pronation to keep your feet stable as you move.
Choose the right shoe type
Once you’ve identified your arch type, you can move on to selecting the right shoe type. There are hundreds of running shoes out there to choose from, but they can be grouped into three large categories:
Motion control running shoes are often recommended for people with low arches. The arch in this type of shoe is designed to provide increased stability and support. Wearing motion control shoes can keep your feet from overpronating as you run.
Best for runners with neutral arches, stability running shoes provide cushioning and support along the sides of your arches. The cushioning is constructed so that it offers stability in the heel, but increased flexibility in the toes.
People with high arches often find cushioning running shoes to fit best. Cushioning shoes provide some rigid support in the arch area, but it’s made with lightweight, soft materials to give some extra cushion while you move.
Buy your new running shoes
Once you understand your arch and learn more about the type of shoe that could be right for you, it’s time to try on some running shoes.
Visit a quality running store to get the best selection of running shoes and the guidance of an expert. Employees at running stores are often highly trained in athletic shoe brands, and they’re there to help you find the best running shoes for your feet.
When you’re ready to visit the store, Dr. Blanson always recommends keeping a few tips in mind. Try on shoes later in the day, when your feet are at their largest. Bring your running socks, along with any braces or orthotics you plan to wear so that you can get a better feel for how the shoes fit.
As you’re trying on shoes, don’t forget to stand, walk, jog, and do a few heel raises to check comfort and support. Don’t be afraid to speak up if something about the shoes is uncomfortable.
Finding shoes that fit well can keep your feet comfortable and injury-free, but even the right shoes don’t last forever. Dr. Blanson generally recommends logging your miles and replacing your shoes every 400-600 miles, because they lose support and shock absorption over time.
Ready to find the best running shoes for your feet? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Blanson and our team at PMC Foot and Ankle Clinic. Call our office or send us a message today.