Buying New Running Shoes – Part 2, Top 5 tips to buying new running shoes

Buying running shoes in store
Buying running shoes in store

Buying your next pair of running shoes can be both a frustrating and enjoyable experience. Every foot is as unique as your fingerprint. Even your left and right feet are not a perfect mirror image of each other. As there are so many different feet out there, shoe companies have a tough time trying to make a shoe that fits the exact size, shape and mechanics of every pair of feet. So how do you find that shoe that fits you? Well, it’s not easy! Here are our Top 5 tips to buying new running shoes that you can use at your local running store. We hope it makes the process easier and you find a shoe that fits you best. 

1. Don’t buy them online!

First and foremost, don’t buy your shoes over the net. You wouldn’t buy your new mattress without lying on it, so do the same for your new running shoes and try before you buy. If you’re a runner you’re going to be spending a lot of hours in these shoes, so invest some time in to making sure you purchase the right ones. Otherwise, the consequences of choosing the wrong shoe or fit may result in pain and/or injury.

Don’t just assume that because you bought a pair of Asics Kayano’s (for example) last year that they will fit you exactly the same this year. Your feet and mechanics can change in a surprisingly short period of time and so can the shoe companies’ designs. They change their ‘last’ (the general shape of the shoe) every so often; adding or subtracting features, technology and material which changes the makeup and in turn the fit of the shoe. 

Most importantly, don’t be one of those people who goes into a shop, tries a shoe on and then goes off and buys it online! You might save a few dollars but investing that little bit extra might save you an injury. Also, support your local running store.  You’ll be surprised how helpful they can be. 

2. Buy for feels, not for looks

Footwear companies put just as much effort into the aesthetics of the shoe as they do the functionality and tech. Try not to get sucked into buying new running shoes just for looks. Its hard I know but the best looking shoe may not be for you. If your eyes say yes, your feet may say no. Try to think more about the feel of the shoe. Is there enough room for the toes? Does it feel tight across the top of your foot? Is the heel slipping? These are the questions to ask yourself. Once you get out there halfway through a run, any irritation the shoe might cause will bubble to the surface. 

3. If you have orthotics, take them with you

If you have been prescribed orthotics for your running shoes, fit both your foot and the orthotics to the shoe. Make sure you take your orthotics along with you instead of guessing how much extra room you may need to accommodate them. Being prescribed orthotics will also change the function of the shoe. For example, if you have been wearing a strong “motion control shoe” and have recently been fitted with orthotics this can further increase the control of the load applied to the inside of the foot. The result can push you unnecessarily onto the outside of your foot and lead to unwanted pain or injury. The depth of the shoe may also be an issue if you have been prescribed orthotics. Ensure your chosen footwear is deep around the heel counter and the shoe insole can be removed and replaced by the orthotic (if needed).

4. What are you using them for?

Running shoes have different specifications for different shaped feet, activities and terrains. It’s much like finding a car for your needs. You wouldn’t use a Porsche Boxster to tow a boat, nor would you wear a pair of racing flats to do house renovations. Chances are you will injure yourself in someway. Buying a new running shoe that suits your ability and what you are going to use it for is a good idea. If you are planning on running, choose a shoe for that purpose. If you are going to use it for walking, jobs around the house and maybe the gym, then find a shoe that will hold up to all those tasks. So the take-home message is buy specific for what you need.

5. Think about a second pair

Yes, we mean buying a second pair of shoes. I know that sounds expensive but hear us out. Like tyres, running shoes will deteriorate with use. The out sole will thin and become bald and the mid sole will compress and lose strength. This will lead to a wear pattern into the shoe correlating to your foot type, biomechanics and run technique. You can tell a lot by looking at the wear of a persons running shoe. What was once a flat neutral plane on the sole is a twisted warped surface which can lead to injury. One potential way to avoid this is to have 2 pairs of shoes on the go. Alternating between them once or twice a week. This lengthens the lifetime of the shoe considerably and delays the wear patterns leading to potential injury. So if you are buying new running shoes and you can afford it, two pairs may save you money in the long run and save you from injury.

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