These current events have altered all of our daily schedules in one form or another. This has also created more free time that I’m happy to see people are filling with exercise and activity (as long as you’re adhering to your local health ministry’s instructions). More and more people have taken up running lately, whether outside or on the treadmill. It’s a great activity that can be done solo, is free, and can be done by anyone at any time regardless of skill or fitness level. A huge topic in the sport of running lately is the gear. In this series, I’ll be discussing typical running equipment such as shoes, clothing, and common running technology, what you should and should not bring on your run, and where you can find quality running gear in your community.
Part 1: Let’s talk about the shoes!
Running Shoes vs. Casual Shoes:
- Running shoes – We’ve all seen what a running shoe looks like and there are hundreds of different types and brands, but the fashion lately (especially in Vancouver) also favors casual shoes with a running shoe style. Some of these may work, but not all are actually meant to be run in. You want to find a shoe that supports your foot properly, gives enough cushion for protection and comfort, and promotes proper foot motion during your stride. Running shoe technology has come a long way in the last couple of years that now give many different options in cushion, colour, material, shape, and designs. I’ve had to try a lot of these brands to find a shoe that fits my foot and feels good while running. There are so many great companies out there, so don’t be afraid to try on a brand you haven’t heard of before. Ideally, look for a shoe that is supportive, comfortable, the right size, and is designed for the type of running you are planning on doing.
- Casual shoes – Converse, flats, sneakers, and shoes that you would look at and say “yeah that probably wasn’t designed to be run in”. They tend to be a bit heavier and aren’t very supportive. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pair of Vans or Converse All-Star’s for wearing around town, but there’s no way I’m choosing to run in them unless I’m late and trying to catch the bus. Save yourself the sore feet and legs, and please don’t try and run in casual shoes for exercise.
- When it comes to shoes, size matters! Most people know their shoe size, but not every shoe fits the same. Some shoes fit longer or shorter, so it’s important to try them on. (Side note: those metal measuring devices at the stores aren’t all made by the same company so they’re not all the same…use them to find a rough size and try a half size up or down to find your perfect fit).
- Your feet should fit snugly in the midfoot and in the heel without slipping while walking/running, but your toes should have a bit of room to wiggle while standing without them feeling squished. Your local running store should be able to help you dial in the proper fit.
- Ask to do a test run in the shoes down the block or run on the treadmill if they have one in store. If the shoes hurt or aren’t feeling great in the store, they probably won’t get much better at home. Shoes do break in a little bit over time, but why bother with a shoe that doesn’t initially work with your foot! Most local running store also let you wear them around at home and return them if they’re not working for you.
Neutral vs. stability shoes
- Neutral shoes are the most common, and typically work well for a neutral or supinated foot.
- Stability shoes are designed more for people whose feet may overpronate (collapse inward) while walking/running. These shoes have some extra medial posting (inside support) that helps prevent excess overpronation, especially as you get tired towards the end of your runs.
What kind of shoe are you looking for, and what terrain are you running on?
- Daily Distance/Mileage shoes are durable and comfortable. These shoes get your through 80% of your runs and are designed to keep your feet and legs feeling good while you increase your mileage.
- Tempo/Speed training shoes are lighter and firmer than daily trainers to pick up the pace on faster training runs or racing longer distances.
- Racing flats are super light, have minimal material, and are designed to go fast in races.
- Another consideration when choosing a shoe, is the terrain you will be running on most often. Road running shoes are meant for pavement, and compact dirt/gravel. They will work for trail running but won’t give you the extra traction or protection that you’ll find in a trail running shoe. Trail runners are designed for uneven terrain off the pavement and have more tread on the bottom to give you the grip needed off the main roads or in wet conditions.
What’s your budget?
- Running shoes can range from $50 to $350 depending if you want the latest and greatest technology, but let me be very clear: A MORE EXPENSIVE SHOE WILL NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER RUNNER! That being said, invest in a good quality shoe that works for you and is well made. It will last longer and makes running more enjoyable when you’re not thinking about your feet the whole time.
Wow, who knew there was so many things to consider when choosing shoes?!
To summarize this first part, here are some take home tips:
- If you are running for exercise, wear running specific shoes.
- WEARING A MORE EXPENSIVE RUNNING SHOE WILL NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER RUNNER!
- The best shoe for you is one that fits YOUR foot, is comfortable, and falls within your shoe budget.
Don’t forget to HAVE FUN! Running is such a great way to stay fit and enjoy all the beautiful outdoor scenery no matter what skill level you’re at! Stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll cover running clothing & popular running technology!
If you ever have any questions please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 6046744027 if you would like to see us to keep you ready for that next run!
By Dr. Drew Gibson, Vancouver Chiropractor
Baseline Health and Wellness Inc.