Choosing the Correct Running Shoe

Choosing the Correct Running Shoe

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If you are part of the Runner’s Community Page on Facebook, you will note that the most common question asked (besides when are the race results available as I need the Vitality points for my smoothie|coffee|popcorn… lol!) is what is the best running shoe for me.

Most runners will answer by giving their favourite brand and motivating why Nike, Asics, Brooks, Under Armour is the absolute best on the market. I also thought so. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. And I learnt the hard and expensive way. In the beginning I ran with Nike because their shoes had the most fabulous colours and Nike was like the absolute Bomb! I would spend R 1 500 on a pair and then try to run in them. Luckily, I did not do it for too long as the damage to my legs and ankles would have been worse.

You see, I over pronate and therefore need stability running shoes. I can hear you asking how I knew that, simple, I got my running gait analysed. I paid a bit more as I went to see a Podiatrist at the Sports Science Institute in Newlands. He made me run on a treadmill and recorded my strides, literally cm for cm. He then plays back the video on his laptop, showing you exactly how your feet land.

Simpler, you can look at the soles of your running shoes. Does the inside tip of the shoe look worn? If so, that’s a sign you’re overpronating. Under pronators will notice more wear on the outer edge of the shoes. You can also look at your running shoes from behind: do they appear to tilt outward or inward, or do they sit flat?

Running Gait is broken down in three types:
  1. Neutral/normal pronation is when your foot comes in complete contact with the ground, rolling inward about 15 percent to absorb shock.
  2. Underpronation or supination is when the outer part of your heel hits the ground first, and your foot rolls inward at less than 15 percent.
  3. Overpronation occurs when your foot rolls inward more than 15 percent, which can cause stability issues with your foot and ankle (this is me!).

Dependant on what type you are, a specific running shoe will be recommended. The best stability shoes on the market for my overpronation are Asics (Gel Kanayno 25) and the Brooks GTS Series. Otherwise, make a turn at the Sweat Shop in Claremont or the Run Store (Bree Street & Bellville). Both shops are run (no pun intended!) by runners that know what they are talking about and can recommend the correct shoe for you.

If there is one piece of advice you as a runner need to adhere to, it is to run in the correct shoe. Just imagine if you fit your car with wrong tires. The same applies to your legs and feet. By running with the correct shoes, you will prevent damage and hopefully have a long & happy running life!