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How to Shop for the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes

How to Shop for the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes

Who gets confused when they shop for a new pair of running shoes?

I completely understand how complicated the decision can be, especially since in the last few years, the running market has boomed.

We now have hundreds of high tech and cool shoes to choose from.

How many of you have fallen into the trap and picked the pretty/sexy pair that looked hip but made your feet feel like you walked through 1,000 miles through the Amazon jungle while a group of monkeys threw rocks at your feet?

Let me save you the headache and share with you 5 things to look for when shopping for running shoes.

1. Heel

Your heel should fit snug but not tight.

2. Instep

The instep should hold comfortably and firmly against the top of your foot.

If you feel like it is too tight and you feel pressure spots at the top of your foot, try a different way of lacing up your shoe. If that does not help, it is time to say goodbye and move on to trying the next shoe.

3. Width

You should be able to wiggle your toes side to side and not feel like your toes are squeezing against each other.

The widest part of your shoe (from your big toe to your little toe) should be within the insole of the shoe. Your feet swell when you run, so you need the extra room.

4. Length

Make sure there is a thumb’s width of space from the top of your longest toe to the front of the shoe.

Just like the width, you have to keep in mind you need space for your feet when they swell.

5. Arch Support

There are 3 different types of arches. Low arch (flat feet), normal arch, and high arch.

There is a type of shoe that is best for each type of foot arch.

You can find out your foot arch by wetting the bottom of your feet and making a footprint on a paper towel. Match your print with the images below to find out your arch type.

Low Arch (Flat Feet)

Those with a low arch tend to land on the outside of their foot and roll onto the inside of their foot as they transfer their weight, which is called overpronation.

Motion control running shoes will help runners with a low arch (flat feet), because it adds a medial post to your shoe which will help add more stability and prevent less foot rotation.

Normal Arch

Those with a normal arch tend to land on the middle to outside of the heel and roll slightly inward to the ball of the foot. This is the natural way of running.

Stability running shoes are great for runners with a normal arch, because it adds the right amount of stability needed, but allows the foot to move in its natural pattern. It also has a slight amount of cushion to absorb shock.

High Arch

Those with a high arch tend to land on the outside of their foot and carry the rest of the weight along the lateral side of their foot to their little toe. The foot barely has any rotation which is called underpronation.

Cusioned running shoes are great for runners with a high arch, because when the foot lacks rotation, it is unable to absorb the shock. Cushioned running shoes allow for extra flexibility, room for pronation, and cushion to absorb excess shock.

There you go! Those are the 5 things you can look for when choosing the perfect pair of running shoes!

Never again will you have to feel the wrath of regret of buying an expensive, cool pair of running shoes that do nothing but hurt, hurt, hurt!

Do you have any recommendations of your favorite shoes for your foot type? Sharing is caring! Share it below!

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Kimmi Dao, PT, DPT, CSCS
Cindy loves to spend her time with her church family and doing church activities. She also loves to take time to help people, especially women, reach their fitness goals. In her spare time Cindy enjoys hiking, exploring new cities and places, trying new foods, creating new crafts, cuddling with her two dogs and spending time with friends and family.