running shoes

How to choose the right running shoes?

Hi everybody! Today is a special day: it’s the inauguration of the Digitsole’s Blog! In this section, I will do my best to give you information, tips and tricks to understand your body, exercise in a smart way and improve your performcances! Let’s start today with the runners out there and their oh so beloved running shoes!

 

Let’s go!

 

Step 1: Ask yourself the right questions

 

The purchase of your running shoes will highly depend on these harmless questions, which are, in fact, key issues:

 

Running shoes

  • How often are you going to run?

As you may know, you are not going to buy running shoes designed for an everyday run if you run once in a blue moon. Get some advice and have a clear view of your goals.

 

  • On which surface are you going to run?

Once again, it seems obvious that running shoes which are designed for a soft surface, won’t fit on a hard one.

 

For example, if you decide to run on pavement, you should go for standard running shoes (designed for road surface, they are lightweight and flexible, for an excellent cushioning and to get your feet stabilized during your strides). However, if you choose to run on surfaces like grass or on a muddy road, you should go for trail shoes (designed for running in a natural environment with stones, mud, roots on the ground. It will provide you with stability, support and protection).

 

  • What kind of runner are you?

It seems logical, but, of course you are not going to buy top-of-the range shoes, especially if you know nothing about running…
You have to define precisely your level: are you an absolute beginner (who has never run before), an intermediate runner (you run once a week at least, but you don’t take part of any competition) or an experienced runner, who is seeking for performance?
It will help you a lot, to know what kind of runner you are, when you choose your shoes.

 

 Step 2: Identify your stride and the shape of your foot!

 

Running shoes

This is THE most important criteria while choosing your shoes. There are three kind of strides:

  • Supinator (the foot tends to fall on the outside edges)
  • Neutral (without lateral support)
  • Pronator (with inside support)

 

Be aware of your footstrike: it’s the way your foot attacks your stride and then hits the ground after the attack. There are 3 types of footstrike:

  • Forefoot Strike (FFS): tiptoes hits the ground first, perfect for cushioning, thanks to calf muscles.
  • Middle Footstrike (MFS): the foot goes flat on the ground. It’s the most uncommon footstrike.
  • Rearfoot Strike (RFS): the heel touches the ground first. This footstrike concern 75 to 90% of the runners. This kind of footstrike can lead to long term injuries.

 

If you want to learn more about your footstrike, you should definitively use the Run Profiler insoles, which analyse your stride in 3D and in real time!
You should also consider your weight too. You’ve guessed that a 143 lb runner won’t chose the same shoe model as a 198 lb one, who needs more cushioning, rigidity and a solid upper.

 

Last point to take into consideration – and not least! The shape of your foot. There are three types of foot:

  • Flat
  • Neutral
  • High arches

 

If you have flat feet, you should go for a pair of running shoes with low arch support. These shoes will give more flexibility to feet proned to overpronation (an inward rolling motion).

The neutral foot have the largest variety of movement, on the biomechanical side.

The opposite of a flat foot is a high-arched foot (with a very marked arch support), which tends to rigidity and supination (landing on the outside edges of the foot). 

The useful tip: always pick a shoe with half a size or a full size above your usual size to feel more comfortable!

  

Step 3:  Between minimalism shoes or reinforced shoes, what should I choose?

 

Running shoes

Minimalism is a new way of running, which really caused a stir recently and which is really close to the barefoot running aesthetic (literally: running “bare foot”). It’s almost a spiritualistic movement, which is really popular at the moment: the aim is to be closer to Nature, to run as naturally as possible. This is possible thanks to minimal shoes, which enable runners to feel the ground, to have more freedom during their run. In fact, barefoot running means running without artifice. You will have the impression that your shoes are a second skin! 

 

This new way of running has been adopted by many runners and they absolutely love it!

 

Nevertheless, let me warn the most experienced runners among you all: honestly, it’s almost impossible to switch directly from a steady shoe to a minimal shoe: your muscles, your bones, your tendons will need more time to get used to these new sensations and to get stronger.

 

However, if you really wish to test minimal shoes, you should go first for lesser shoes, which are “in between” shoes, between minimal running shoes and standard running shoes: the shoe loosens up the foot, provide less stability and are less rigid than “normal” running shoes but it enables more freedom regarding your stride.

 

To test the minimal shoes, you should favour surfaces like grass and muddy ground as they are less “rigid” and offer more freedom. Beware of the stones!

 

At the perfect opposite of minimalism, we have the brand Hoka, which offers us to test shoes with reinforced insoles: these are thick running shoes, with a normal weight (0, 6 pounds for an 8, 5 shoe size) with more cushioning and support than other types of running shoes. These shoes are recommended for people with flat feet.
Their little extra?  The Meta-Rocker system, that helps the movement of the foot from heel to front, without forcing, giving you meanwhile good accelerations. These shoes are also extremely comfortable!

 

So, are you rather minimal shoes or reinforced shoes? It’s up to you!

 

Did you know? Even if you feel at ease in your minimal shoes, many experts recommend not to wear them for every run, if you want to avoid having joint injury!

 

Step 4: Analyse your gait!

 

Running shoes

Finally, to choose the right shoes, you should definitively analyse your gait. It’s easy as ABC: you just have to ask to a running shoes specialist to look at you walking! Thus, you will choose the right shoe, adapted to your running profile and that will prevent you from getting hurt. You should also pay attention to the pronation factor (it’s the way your foot rolls into the inside when you walk and run), which influences the way you run and can increase the risk of injury. Do not neglect it during your choice!

 

The little tip:  you should also seek advice from chiropodists or doctors, in order to be sure of your choice!

 

 

To conclude

 

The perfect shoes or insoles that will fit everyone do not exist. Some runners will feel at ease in Adidas or in New Balance shoes, whereas others couldn’t wear them at all! The important thing is your personal feeling, how you feel in your shoes, to know if you can run miles and miles with them… knowing that you have to change your pair after 498 miles!

 

Moreover, if you want to run with the connected insoles Run Profiler, you should go for natural shoes, with an outside flat insole, without arch support. These shoes represent 60% of the current running shoes market!
The specificity of these shoes is to have little to no cushioning. Nevertheless, they provide you with the protection needed during a run!
More than 100 runners tested Run Profiler and 90% among them adopted these insoles, especially those who run with natural shoes.

 

That’s all for this article, I hope you have enjoyed it! Shall we meet on the finishing line?? See you next time, you running maniacs!

 

Sources: Cédric Mousseau, expert in running shoes, running-competitor.com, testeurs-outdoor.com, runners connect, asics, life hacker, rei.com.

 

Digitsole
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