Running Shoes. Maybe you’re someone who’s always up to date on the latest shoe news and are on the hunt for your latest pair of chic sneakers. Maybe you couldn’t care less about how your sneakers look, but love going for evening walks or morning runs, but your old shoes are wearing through and you need to replace your hole-ridden blister-causing pair. Maybe you’re a veteran shoe buyer, and maybe you’re new to the whole process. Whatever the case may be, you need new shoes, and you want to make sure you get a pair that’s a perfect fit for your fashion, comfort, and lifestyle needs.
Finding the right running shoes for running is like finding the right house – it’s going to be a long-term commitment, so you need to make sure it’s a perfect fit. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five key factors for finding the right sneaker shoes for you.
1. Running Shoes – Enough Toe Room
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when shopping for shoes of any kind is to underestimate the importance of having enough toe room. Going for small, slimmer shoes by sacrificing toe space is a fast track for foot pain, blisters and all. Be sure to leave at least a thumbnail or more between your toe and the edge of the shoe.
The degree of physical activity involved makes it all the more important for you to get trainers with toe room. Heels, pumps, and other dress shoes lacking in toe room can be painful enough without you trying to run a couple miles in them. The added running and walking you plan on doing means more stress placed on your toes, which in turn makes it all the more important they have more than enough room to plant and move as you run or walk naturally.
2. A Good Glove-Like Fit
As stated, shoes that pinch your heel or squish your toes together are a bad idea. Even so, however, you don’t want to overcompensate and go to the other extreme by opting for shoes that are so loose they feel like they’re going to slip right off your feet. Not only will this be incredibly annoying and distracting when you go for a run, but overly loose shoes can be lacking in support, which can lead to foot pain.
You, thus, want to try and score a happy medium with shoes that fit your feet as perfectly as a glove fits your hand. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. When you run, it should not move around your foot or feel as though it is squeezing your heel or toes.
It is worth noting that different shoemakers have different cuts, which means that two shoes which are ostensibly the same size can still have very different fits. You’ll want to account for this and make sure that you’re choosing shoes that feature a cut that fits your feet properly.
3. Account for Arches
One of the most common mistakes people make when sorting through different running shoes is to overlook the importance of arches. We tend to take arches for granted, and instead focus on other elements of shoe fit such as how much toe room the shoe offers or what the shape and nature of its heel is like.
However, proper arches are vital for ensuring that you are able to walk or run without pain. You need to make sure that your arches are supported and not prone to “flat-footedness” or are otherwise squeezed too tightly by the arch of the shoe.
Ideally, your shoes should fit the curve of your arches perfectly. They should fit so smoothly as to allow you to return to that state of blissful unawareness about your arches.
If you do need to give them extra attention, you may need to take steps such as adding arch supports and inserts to get them to feel right. Companies such as Trainerland do a good job of supplying arch support options to ensure that their shoes fit your arches perfectly.
4. Heel Comfort and Support
It is the nightmare of everyone who buys shoes. You buy a pair, think they’re a reasonably good fit, and are just outside the shop wearing them for the first time when you realize that they’re starting to rub up against your heel and Achilles tendon. You try and put it out of your mind and convince yourself that it’s no big deal and that the pain will go away. In reality, the pain gets worse as the back of the shoe continues to squeeze, rub, and chafe your heel and tendon until they’re red, raw, sore, and potentially bleeding.
You obviously never want things to get that far, which is why it is absolutely essential that you find shoes that offer soft padded heels that afford plenty of room.
At the same time. however, a lack of support in the heel area can lead to you twisting your ankle or suffering other injuries. The back of your shoes should, thus, be softly padded and flexible enough to be comfortable while still being firm enough to retain their shape and offer support and protection.
5. Firmness Versus Flexibility
This is one of the most important and delicate balancing acts for anyone buying a new pair of trainers.
On the one hand, you want to make sure that you are buying shoes that are firm enough to provide support to areas such as your arches, heel, and ankle area. On the other hand, you need to ensure that that firmness doesn’t come at the cost of flexibility. For example, your shoe’s toe area should still have enough flexibility to bend comfortably as your toes flex and you walk or run normally.
By heeding all of these points, you’ll be able to pick out the right running shoes for you.