The best tips for choosing your first pair of running shoes

You’re thinking of buying some running shoes and you don’t know which one to choose? Looking for best running shoes for narrow feet and high arches. In this guide I explain everything you need to know about running shoes.

Running is a sport, and beyond running clothes, the only thing strictly necessary to start running is to have a good pair of shoes.

The problem is that with so much marketing jargon, shoe ad publications, reviews and online discussions, it’s hard to know which running shoe model and brand you should buy.

Let’s start clarifying this issue a bit, dissecting the shoes to make the best decision when choosing the size and model.

Let’s see which are the characteristics of the running shoes you have to focus on to make a decision, let’s analyze their characteristics and everything we have to take into account to be able to buy the right model.

THE HEEL

The heel should be tight, but not tight. And when we try the shoe (but not tied), you should be able to slide your foot through it.

Now, when you tie the shoe to the last buttonhole, this slip should be minimized.

With regard to the heel, there can, and should not be any vertical movement here, and at the same time it should not be uncomfortable. Any discomfort you feel in the tent will get worse once you go for a run, so keep this in mind.

THE EMPEINE

The instep area should feel comfortable and secure. If the size of the shoe you have chosen has pressure points under the laces, try tying them in a different way before trying another model.

THE WIDTH

This is an important point, the foot must be able to move from side to side in the shoes, but without crossing the edge of the insole. If the shoe is too tight in width, you will feel the base of the smaller toe scraping against the edge of the shoe.

THE LENGTH

The toes should also move freely up and down. Keep in mind that your feet swell and thicken during a run, so make sure there is at least 0.5 cm of space between your toes and the tip of your running shoes.

GRIP WITH THE GROUND

Once worn, and if the store allows it, try the shoes on different surfaces in the store, in order to evaluate the grip and that they do not tend to slide or skate on the surface.

THE FLEXIBILITY

Check the flexibility of the shoes before you try them on. You can do this by holding the heel and pushing the toe of the shoe towards it.

The shoe should bend along the same line as the foot flexes. An incorrectly aligned flexure point can lead to arch pains or plantar fasciitis, while lack of flexibility leads to aches and pains over the Achilles tendon or calves.

While you can run barefoot or in stiletto heels, obviously not ideal, right? You may have a few pairs of sneakers at home, including football boots, tennis shoes, basketball shoes, etc.

Some of these models can be used for jogging very occasionally, but if you are going to take running as a sport, you will soon realize that running shoes will be the best investment you can make.

Running involves a very specific and repetitive movement on your foot, from heel to toe and bouncing your own weight off your joints several times as your body moves forward.

In this sense, the right shoes need to have optimum grip and traction, need to allow the foot to breathe, and also need to remain comfortable after long distance running.

We could be talking for hours about why other shoes intended for other sports are not the best choice in running, while focusing on running shoes, whatever your situation, these should be your first.

Trust this: Buy a pair of shoes specifically made for running and you’ll never think about another type of shoe again.

By following the guidelines we’ve discussed so far, which we’ll see below, and by taking into account a number of important variables, you’ll be able to arm yourself with enough information to make running shoe shopping an easy decision process.

VISIT A SPECIALIZED STORE

If you are a new person in the world of running, the best place to buy running shoes is in a specialized store.

There are plenty of sports stores, but the ideal is to target stores focused on selling items such as shoes, clothing and accessories purely and exclusively related to running, unlike sports stores that sell for many different sports.

The reason for buying running shoes in a specialty store is because the people who work there know and understand running shoes, the sport, the types of treads, and various levels of fitness.

They are experts in providing running shoes and understand how different types of shoes can influence your technique, and can even help you improve the type of training you are doing.

UNDERSTAND THE TYPES OF SHOES ACCORDING TO THEIR CHARACTERISTICS

Running shoes are generally classified by the amount of cushioning and the type of structure they offer, there are also specific shoes for street racing or mountain running.

In terms of structure, most runners can run in neutral shoes, which have a few support characteristics common to most people

Now you may need a different level of stability because of your type of footprint, for these cases, there are some variations in the design that will allow you to run safely for your body.

Going back to the previous point, some specialized running shops have treadmills with systems designed to determine your type of tread, this is another reason to go to these.

NEVER FORGET THAT YOUR FOOT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT

Have you ever worn shoes that were too small, too big, or even too narrow, making running an annoying, painful, or even dangerous task? This should never happen to you again!

Make sure your heel fits the shoe well: Try tying the laces when you try them on so that the heel is secure enough to avoid slipping, but not so tight that you can’t move your toes.

Leave a half inch “free” in front of the big toe: As I said at the beginning of the article, the foot swells during exercise and so you’ll need to have a little extra room when this happens.

Keep the laces tight enough so that the foot doesn’t “dance” on the inside, but at a level that doesn’t cut off circulation from the outside.

Pay attention to breathability, most sneakers have a mesh material on the top to allow the foot to breathe. But… this should match the weather conditions under which you wear them.

If you’re going running on winter mornings on a cold and rainy day, perhaps a tighter pair of sneakers is your best bet.

None of these rabbits are a science, but sometimes these things are overlooked, when in fact they should be the first factors you take into account when deciding what shoes to buy, and not whether you think the shoe is cute or not.

TRY ON YOUR SHOES BEFORE YOU BUY THEM

You have to try the shoes before you buy them. This is necessary to determine if the new pair fits you properly, and if the size and shape fit your feet.

As I said at the beginning, running shoes should fit snugly but not tightly, both in the heel and in the midfoot/arch area there should be no feeling of limitation when the foot flexes.

KNOW THE MARKET PRICES BEFORE YOU BUY

Money is always a factor, and it doesn’t matter what level of runner you are. You should be able to find a pair of running shoes that will satisfy you.

All the good points of a pair of shoes that we have reviewed so far, you will find them in the top of the range of any brand, however, in medium or low ranges you should keep them in mind; luckily there are some good shoes in intermediate price ranges.

In this sense, you can look to take care of your pocket, even more so if you don’t know how long you are going to run. However, if you are strictly looking for a discount, you may end up with a pair of shoes that do not match the shape of your foot, the type of tread, the way you run or the style of training.

For these reasons, don’t buy just because of price or how they look, ask the seller for advice and try to get them to help you (and not to cheat you).

LOOK FOR FUNCTIONALITY IN YOUR NEW PAIR OF SHOES, DON’T BUY FOR LOOKS

I think this is the third time I’ve said it… Never buy a running shoe because of its color or how it looks on your favorite pants.

Yes, there is a huge variety of colors out there, but the one that has your favorite color may not be the best for your features. And when it comes to runner’s shoes, you should only wear them for running.

Using your shoes for errands, mowing the lawn or other everyday tasks will change the wear pattern of the soles and you’ll end up having to change them early.

And that’s because running shoes have a lifetime limit, at least for training and running in them, let’s see a little more about that.

KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEAR TIME

As a general rule, most running shoes will last at least 800 km.

This is an approximate value, and usually means that you can run for several months in one pair of shoes without suffering the consequences of wear and tear.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN A RUNNING SHOE NEEDS CHANGING? Check the wear patterns of the soles. If it’s worn out in one place too much, it’s time to replace it.

If a hole has appeared in the mesh upper, this is definitely another time to plan a replacement.

As you progress as a runner, you may want to consider purchasing a slightly more varied stock of shoes, perhaps one for street running, one for cross-country and one for training.

Obviously, for many, this implies a high cost so if you only have one pair you should not make a big deal out of it, as long as they are still worn out.

However, the advantage of having two or more different types of shoes is that you can use them to run on different surfaces, so you can maximize your performance, either competitively or in your training.

In this regard, and as we have already discussed in this article, RUNNING ON DIFFERENT SURFACES, don’t forget that mixing the different surfaces will help you slightly to activate a wider range of small stabilizing muscles that, over time, will make you a stronger runner with less risk of possible injury.

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