There is nothing worse than dealing with painful blisters or muscle aches and pains when you’re in the running zone! You know, those days you feel like you could run for miles and miles, but you’re forced to stop because of a tight muscle or blister? For years, this seemed to happen to me nearly every time I ran.
Some days were worse than others, with an aching tightness in my shins and calves just one mile into a run. Other times I could feel blisters forming on the balls of my feet after only 20 minutes. But no matter what, I would feel pain somewhere within no time.
I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’m not a runner. I’m either doing something wrong, or I just wasn’t built to run. I just want to have a daily activities that makes me healthier.
I’ve never actually believed that you’re either born a runner or not. Sure, not everyone has what it takes to make it to the Olympics, but I’m a firm believer that you can master anything you put your mind to, including running! So, I must have been doing something wrong, right?
Turns out, I’ve being running in the wrong shoes for years. Silly as it sounds, I didn’t realize what an impact your foot shape has on running. Turns out…HUGE!
7 Tips To Choose Running Shoes
Whether you feel pain when you run or not, if you’re running (long-distance, short-distance, jogging, whatever!) you need to know the following information:
Running Shoes Fitting Size
Running shoes should fit differently than other shoes. You should have a thumb’s width of room in the front of your shoe (measure from big toe). Don’t make the mistake of returning the shoe 3 times until you get the right fit like I did.
The shoe might feel like it fits in the store, but unless you’re running around the store, you won’t be able to really tell if it’s right. I bought a size 8 at the store, and after testing them out on my treadmill at home, I realized my toe was hitting the front of the shoe – not okay!
I took them back for a size 8.5, and although they felt slightly big in the store, they were perfect for running.
Go to a knowledgeable running store with professionals who can look at your foot and find the best shoe for you. They will take a look at your feet, watch you walk, and might even throw you on a treadmill. Bring your old shoes, too, so they can see what you were running in.
The wear and tear will give them insight into how you run, and the type of shoe you need. When I brought in my old shoes, I found out they were “neutral shoes”, made for people with more of a flat, or average arched foot.
From simply walking across the floor they informed me that I have a very high, rigid arch. In other words, I was definitely running in the wrong shoes.
There are three types of feet: flat feet, high-arched feet, and neutral feet. The type you have determines how you run, and what type of shoe and support you need.
If you have flat feet there is no arch at all; the bottom of your foot is completely flat. A footprint test (dip for your foot in water and walk on a piece of paper) would look like a big foot blob.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have wide feet, either. But it does mean you probably overpronate, which means your foot rolls inward when you run. You would need a motion control or stability shoe.
If you have high-arched feet, the arch will be extremely noticeable – high and rigid. Most high-arched footprint tests will show an inward curve, with a skinny middle outer area.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a narrow width; plenty of people with high-arched feet have wide front areas. If you have high arches, you probably either supinate or underpronate, which means your foot rolls outwards as you run.
You might notice calluses or a toughness on the outer soles of your feet, and blisters on the inner soles. Recommended shoes for this type of foot are flexible, cushioned shoes.
If your foot isn’t flat or high-arched, you have a neutral (or normal) foot. Your footprint should have a slight curve inward, but not by much.
You probably have the least amount of pain or injuries, and don’t have issues with most running shoes. Don’t buy a running shoe for motion control or stability and you’ll be good to go!
Just because running shoes tend to be a little wider than regular shoes doesn’t mean that you should completely rule out wide width. If you have wide feet, definitely consider trying on a few wide width pairs.
The regular width might feel okay in the store, but again, it’s a different story when you’re running. You’re feet swell, and you’ll start to notice the tightness and pinching, eventually leading to pain and blistering. A wide width might make all the difference.
Try on shoes in the afternoon. You’re feet swell later in the day, so the worst time to buy shoes is first thing in the morning, especially if you usually run later in the day.
Take time to break in the shoe. It’s exciting when you get new running shoes – you want to see how they feel, how they improve your stride, your speed, etc. But you will end up being disappointed if you don’t break them in.
I always end up doing this. I get so excited over how great they feel during the first mile or two that I overdo it and get blisters. Ideally you want to break in new shoes while your old ones are still decent to run in – you run a mile in your new pair, then run the rest in your old shoes, until the new ones are broken in.
In my case, my old running shoes were completely wrong for my feet, and once my foot got a feel for the right shoe, going back to the old pair was brutal! I broke in my shoes by running a few miles, then walking, then running, etc.
Keep track of the miles you’re logging in your running shoes. You should typically replace running shoes every 400-500 miles because over time the shoes lose stability and shock absorption capacity.
The right shoe for you can really make a big difference in the way you run, pain and injuries, and ultimately your speed and distance. Don’t wait – follow running shoes guide to get the right one for your feet now! They deserve it!