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Have you hugged your feet today?

How to choose running shoes

Champion Triathlete Emma Carney gives us a few pointers on what to look for when buying a new pair of running shoes.

There are a few important considerations when choosing a running shoe. It is well worth spending your time looking for a running shoe that suits your feet.

When beginning or continuing your running journey, it is best to avoid excessively light shoes, as your feet will require support as they adapt to your new, regular running days. At the same time, excessively heavy shoes should be avoided also as they will make running freely more difficult.

To help make the choice easier, here are some things to look for in a running shoe.

1. The shoe last

The last of a shoe is the mould on which a shoe is constructed and the last will affect the fit of a shoe. There are three main types of shoe last in running shoes:

A curved last construction provides for a more flexible shoe with less stiffness. The easiest way to determine if a shoe has a curved last is to look along the outsole of the shoe from the heel and see if the toe end of the sole curves away from you.  If is does it is a curved last. This type of shoe is best for lighter runners and those who do not pronate (roll in) or supinate (roll out) on landing.

A straight last is symmetrical throughout the sole. When looking at the outsole of the sole from the heel to the toe there will be no drop off. Shoes with a straight last will be designed with some sort of motion control element, in order to reduce the likelihood of injury by the wearer.  This type of shoe is best suited to runners who are susceptible to injury with a heavier foot strike.

A semi curved last provides a less heavily structured shoe than the straight last, but not as much free movement as the curved last. This is often the choice of the runner who has had a few years break but was once a regular runner.

2. The heel counter

There should be some rigidity to the heel area if you are new to running to provide support and ensure your feet are well supported. Also, look for a drop in a shoe, where there is a height difference between the back and the front of the shoe, to provide you with a more likely forefoot land.

3. The sole cushioning

A shoe needs to have cushioning for injury prevention. It is also important to note the cushioning must not be too soft. Otherwise, it will compress at the heaviest points of contact and quickly become out of shape, potentially causing injuries.

4. The forefoot fit

This shoe must fit the foot properly and not be too tight or too loose. Too tight can restrict blood flow and be uncomfortable. Too loose can cause bruising of the toes, blisters, and cause damage to toenails. Breathability of the forefoot is important to allow air to the foot, less sweating, and provide both more comfort and less opportunity for conditions such as tinea.

In essence, check the sole to understand how the foot strikes and look at the shape of old shoes before throwing them out so that you know what you need before the next pair are bought. The obvious visible wear areas of the shoe will indicate possible problems that can be taken into account before buying the next pair.

Think about your running shoes as if you are giving your feet a hug – they will thank you for it.

Emma’s advice on running clothes

Fortunately, as humans we are all waterproof, so the wet wintery days in Victoria can never break your regular running routine. This is how you dress for it.

Tips for standard winter running gear:

Look for lightweight materials or materials that will not retain water. Cotton and wool should be avoided as they retain water and sweat and become heavy, often causing chafing. Remember that tighter fitting clothing is less likely to chafe. Layers are better than bulky clothes, so you can move more freely.

Victorian weather is never too bad for a run if you dress properly!”

Some essential items include:

• tights/leggings – remember Lycra will not retain water and become heavy
• well-fitting rain jacket/shell
• cap to keep the rain out of your eyes/face
• gloves.

Last updated: May 14, 2021 at: 9:28 am