What’s the best running shoe? Probably no other question generates more conversation than this one. One runner’s favourite can be another’s fail! I’ve certainly tried just about every brand and style. Along the way I’ve gotten sidetracked with gimmicks: Anyone remember the Reeboks that had an air pump to tighten them…no laces? Or way back in the day, the Adidas running shoes with ‘customizable’ heel and midsole ‘wedges’?
If you spend most of your running time on pavement, trail running shoes will be less than ideal. But unless you run on super soft dirt trails, road shoes will likely work. We are individuals with different running styles so when you sum it up, there is no one ‘best’ running shoe. But there are some guidelines you can follow to maximize fit and comfort, the most important thing to minimize injury risks. Some key points and considerations:
Neutral versus stability: If you have a high arch you need extra cushioning; A low arch, more stability
Low drop (Zero drop): This is the high difference usually measured in millimeters between the height of the shoe sole in the heel area compared to the height in the toe. Traditional running shoes with 12 mm of ‘drop’ generally favour heel strike runners while shoes with 4 mm or less of drop favour mid-foot running.
Minimal versus Maximal: This indicates the amount of cushioning in the running shoe. Over the past 10 years there’s been a movement to ‘minimal’ cushioning…even barefoot that has led to an increase in foot injuries. The swing back to increased cushioning can be seen as a reaction to that.
Trail shoes versus road shoes: Specific shoes for trail running have a few differences versus their road running cousins – Outsoles will generally be more ‘grippy’ with more defined lugs; Rigid inserts to help protect against rocks and stones; Toe Bumper, a hardened toe box to protect against rocks, etc.; Weather resistant uppers with higher collars, special lacing and water resistant fabrics.
Daily trainers versus racing flats/speedwork shoes: Keep two pairs of shoes on the go at all times – a traditional, high cushion shoe for daily running as you rack up the miles. Change to a lighter weight, lower drop shoe for speedwork and races.
Until next time…
Reggae Marathon RunninGuy (aka Sugar ‘Tuff Gong’ Bong)