Friday, March 13, 2009

Running Shoes - Choosing the right shoes.

For an avid runner, buying a new pair of running shoes can be a frustrating task. It is something that should be carefully considered and not rushed into. The complex and often fragile nature of our bodies, and the stresses placed on the body by running means that you must choose wisely. Cheapness or convenience should not be factors in that choice.

Despite the fact that no two people have exactly the same foot, manufactures have divided running shoes into three different types: Cushioning, Stability, and Motion Control. Of course there is a lot of room for variation within these categories, but they are a good place to start.

Cushioning - Cushioning running shoes are shoes that have little to no lateral support. They are perfect for runners who do not need this lateral support, and have neutral feet. Runners with a high arch will need a running shoe with cushioning properties. This type of running shoe would not be right for a pronator or an over pronator.

Stability - Stability shoes offer a balance between cushioning and motion control. This running shoe is designed for the runner who has a normal arch, lands on the outside of the foot and rolls forward. This type of running shoe is where you should start if you do not know what type of runner you are.

Motion Control - Runners who really need support from their running shoe should buy shoes in this category. Runners who are dealing with weak ankles and other foot problems as well as extreme pronators and overpronators can take advantage of a Motion control shoe. The running shoes in this bracket offer a lot of stability.

Of course the above categories are only meant as a quick guide to help you know what to look for in a running shoe. There are a lot of variations that can occur within these categories. If you are a serious runner then the smartest course of action would be to pay a visit to a specailised running store. These are often staffed by other runners and will be able to properly analyze your running style and fit you out with shoes to suit your exact style. If you have serious foot problems like extreme pronation or fallen arches, you should consider visiting a foot doctor, as running shoes alone may not sort out your problems. You may need orthotics, or perhaps a routine strengthening exercises to keep you running.

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