The difference between a fantastic run and an awful run is usually a pair of running shoes. The pair of kicks you choose to run in will make or break your run. Shoes, therefore, are the most important part of your running gear.
For argument’s sake, I am going to say that running is almost free. I say almost because you will need to buy the basic things such as activewear and shoes.
Unless you decide to play in the fanciest and most expensive workout clothes, the most that you will spend when it comes to pounding the pavement will be on a decent pair of running shoes.
This guide on how to buy running shoes will assist you in buying your first running shoes.
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HOW TO BUY RUNNING SHOES FOR THE FIRST TIME
1. WHAT SURFACE WILL YOU BE RUNNING ON
If you are a beginner runner, it is worth knowing that you have to consider the kind of surface you will be running on before buying the shoes. There are two kinds of surfaces that you are likely to run on.
Trail running involves running on off-road routes- the terrain will be rough, and the surface uneven. The shoes for trail running need to have extra traction and tread as well as a whole lot more cushioning to lessen the impact.
Road running includes running on smoother surfaces such as the pavement or tarmac. The shoes, therefore, need to be lighter and flexible.
POINTS TO CONSIDER CHOOSING YOUR FIRST PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES
2. HAVE A RUNNING GAIT ANALYSIS DONE
Dawid Visser, a running expert, and Pure Endurance Solutions director, recommends going to your local running shoe store to get a running gait analysis done.
What a gait analysis does is to provide you with information about your running style, and this at the end of the day, is what is going to help you choose the right type of running shoes.
Gait analysis focuses on pronation which in layman’s terms according to this Asics article, is “the term used for the way your foot rolls when you walk and run.”
Asics offers video gait analysis which requires one to run on a treadmill for a few minutes, whilst being recorded, thereafter the video recording is analysed by an Ascis expert and the results explained to you to help you select the suitable running shoe.
3. YOUR RUNNING SHOE SIZE SHOULD BE BIGGER THAN YOUR NORMAL SHOE SIZE
Dawid points out that you must “always remember that your running shoe size will be bigger than your normal shoe size as you need to be aware that your foot will need to move in the shoe.”
Do you remember during childhood when some of our parents used to buy us shoes that were awkwardly bigger than the normal shoe size? Well, do not be alarmed!
Your running shoes need not be as hilariously oversized as childhood shoes but have to be slightly bigger than your normal fit. Half a size bigger than your right fitting shoe size is what is often recommended, but I feel this is subjective as feet are shaped differently and so are running shoes.
If you are not able to have your feet measured as earlier suggested, then you should do the ‘wiggle test’ to see how much room there is in the shoe for your toes to wiggle. Ideally, there should be about half an inch space between the big toe and the end of the shoe.
If you buy running shoes that are too small or too big, you will either have blisters or encounter foot problems after a while.
4. SHOP FOR RUNNING SHOES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY
Dawid suggests that the “best practice for buying running shoes is to shop for shoes in the middle of the day when your feet are most swollen due to heat. This is common as there is slight variation in the size of the feet in the morning and in the evening.”
5. ALWAYS SELECT THE SHOE ON FIT AND FEEL
There was a time when I would chase after cute or brightly coloured gym shoes.
I know so many people who swear by certain brand names when it comes to sneakers, not because the brand makes the greatest running shoes, but because they just love the name or colour of the shoes.
Dawid Visser advises against this kind of thinking when it comes to buying running shoes.
“Always select shoes on fit and feel and not on how they look. You want to be comfortable while running. Besides, your shoes will get dirty in any case no matter how cute they look. The best-looking shoe is not always the shoe that will work for you,” Dawid says.
6. HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU REPLACE RUNNING SHOES
Asics suggests that you replace your running shoes after 450 to 550 miles (about 725 to 885km). Most runners keep a mileage log to help them with this, and I log mine using a running app.
There are a plethora of running apps that you can choose from- my favourite is Endomondo if you must know. If you are old school you can simply use a notebook to help you keep track of your runs.
THE BEST RUNNING SHOES FOR BEGINNERS
I am currently trying out the Asics Gel Pulse 9, which is the ninth generation of the Asics Gel-Pulse. The Pulse 9 is an entry-level running shoe, ideal for beginners and is classified as the start of the performance range of the ASICS neutral road running range.
I will talk more about this shoe in my next article which will be a full review of the Asics Gel Pulse 9.
Are you a seasoned runner? How do you buy your running shoes? Share your tips in the comments below.