Choosing the right running shoe for you can be a daunting task. There are countless companies to choose from…and then more endless options from each of those companies. It’s hard to tell what the difference is between them all, and as helpful as the sales people at sporting goods stores are, they often don’t know the minute details of how a shoe fits or which one is best for your foot.
You have to educate yourself to get the most out of your purchase. We’ve put together a list of what you should look for when choosing the right running shoe.
1) Determine the Problem
Even with all the work you put into finding the right shoe, many people will still experience foot pain and discomfort ranging from arch pain to numbness. If this is a problem that you’re experiencing, it’s time to invest in a custom-made orthotic. Custom-made orthotics are built specifically to your foot and can only be provided by a chiropractor.
Foot deformities like fallen or high arches cannot be helped with proper shoes alone. You need a custom orthotic to give proper support to these issues. In order to determine if you have high or fallen arches, place your foot in water and make a footprint on a piece of newspaper or paper towel. If you see a significant curve (almost empty space between the heel and pad of your foot) or no curve (foot falls flat on both sides), then you could have arch problems.
2) Check the Heel
When choosing the right running shoe, people often overlook the importance of how the heel fits. An improper fit here can lead to alignment issues and pain in the knees and hip flexors.
The heel should fit snug but not tight. You should be able to lift your heel out comfortably with the shoe fully laced but not tied. The structure of the heel should be strong in the shoe to prevent collapse and you should be able to slightly move your heel around. If there is any irritation in the store, this will be amplified during your workouts.
Experiencing foot and leg pain that won’t go away? It’s time to visit a chiropractor who can help you correct your joint issues! Call us today for a FREE consultation and see how we can help make your every day better.
3) Play With the Width
A common mistake people make when choosing the right running shoe is picking one that is too narrow for their feet. If you’re doing a lot of activity, your feet move and rotate constantly inside your shoe – especially if you’re pronated (foot rolls inward during motion) or supinated (foot rolls outward during motion). You must ensure that whatever way your foot rolls, you’ll have support from the shoe’s sole.
You should have a quarter-of-an-inch at the uppermost part of the shoe (near your toes) to move around. You’ll know the shoe is too narrow if your pinky toe touches the outermost edge of the sole at any point.
4) Try Shoes on in the Evening
When choosing the right running shoe, remember that your feet swell during the day, until about 4 pm. Shoes that could fit perfectly in the morning could feel uncomfortably snug in the evening.
Your feet will also swell quite a bit during your workout, so choose shoes that give you an thumb’s-width of room from your longest toe to the top of the shoe. It may feel like the shoe is too big at the time, it’s not! Your toes should also be able to wiggle around up and down comfortably.
5) Match Your Foot’s Natural Flex
Pay special attention to your foot’s flex when choosing the right running shoe. The shoe should flex and bend along the same line as your foot. An improperly-aligned flex can lead to arch pain while little flex can lead to calf pain and achilles problems.
To test this, hold the heel of the shoe and press the toe into the ground. Note where the shoe naturally bends. Now do the same with your foot. Once you’ve established the flex lines, do the same test with your foot in the shoe. Does your foot naturally and comfortably bend where the shoe does?
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right running shoe has to come down to more than just looks and how they initially feel for three seconds in the store. Foot and leg pain are serious issues. We spend the majority of our time on our feet; they’re the backbone of our overall health and the foundation of our body.
Take time and special care when choosing the right running shoe and don’t forget to supplement your support with a custom-made orthotic that is built for your unique foot shape to give you the proper cushion and care for your joints.