Walking into a running shoe store and coming face-to-face with the array of shoes gives me the chills. I’m overwhelmed by the sheer choice in brand names and specialized types. Add to that the current discussion about barefoot/natural running versus cushioning and I go into full glaze.
Over the past few months I have been having a good natured discussion with George Colombo about barefoot running. He is an avid proponent of this. I not quite sure I can go that far, George but I am committed to the natural-style running: landing on the forefoot, shorter stride with rapid foot turnover.
As well, I’ve read the excellent book by Christopher McDougall, ‘Born to Run’ where he details the running stories of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. I like the natural-style running technique with appropriate running shoes. After lots of research recently and years of running in just about all the major brands I got my first pair of the new Puma Faas 500 natural-style running shoes and have been pleasantly surprised by the fit-and-feel: very comfortable. The challenge now is to transition slowly to natural-style running without injury. I’m still early in this so any advice is appreciated.
Through my research I’ve checked tons of running shoe reviews and have distilled it down to this: finding the best running shoes is all about finding the top running shoes that fits your feet perfectly based on the type of foot you have. As a runner, you know that every step you take lands with a blow to your feet, and your shoes should be able to protect your feet and to prevent any injuries. There are several factors that you need to take into consideration to make sure that you make the right choice.
- Do you overpronate, underpronate or have a neutral landing?
- Will you use them for trail running, competition, or just general fitness?
- Do you have an injury history, do you need extra cushioning?
The most important thing in finding the best running shoes for you is the type of feet you have and your running style. People have different foot types, such as normal feet, flat feet, or high-arched feet.
1. Be aware of your foot type before choosing a shoe. You can check out your feet type by looking at your foot or the footprints you make on soft surfaces like sand. Flat feet don’t have an arch; when you make a footprint on sand, you will see a level print.
2. Overpronators – a need For stability running shoes. Flat-footed people are overpronators, which mean that your feet have a tendency to roll inwards, so you need shoes that will improve your stability when you run. Being flat-footed is not really a problem, but in some individual cases, it could be, but this can be remedied by the right type of running shoes.
3. Underpronate – midsole protection. As for high-arched feet, the situation is reversed. When you run, you underpronate, or your feet roll outwards. This means that the impact on the foot is stronger when you run, so you need shoes that will protect your feet, especially around the midsoles.
Shoes with cushioning are the best types for high-arched feet, while shoes equipped with motion control are recommended for flat-footed folks. As for those with normal feet, you won’t have big problems.
In addition to all of this, it is important to take into consideration your running style, landing pattern and your general need for running shoe cushioning considering your previous injury-history as a runner. As for natural-style running: take your time transitioning from traditional ‘wedge/cushioning’ to ‘minimalist’ ones.
Until next time…
Reggae Marathon RunninGuy
NOTE: Featured photo courtesy of Karen Fuchs