Wednesday, February 10, 2016

From the Bottom Up; Running Shoes and More

Too often, novice runners are seduced by advertisements, manufacturer hype, and a perceived sense of fitness fashion. Hey, if it comes in neon, I'll take two. Unfortunately, that's the wrong tact to take. Running shoes need to be highly individualized.

It might seem like a strange thing; walking shoes and hiking boots have a wide range of applications. Running shoes, however, demand much more consideration because of the additional stress that running places on the body. To take it to the next level, trail running and long distance running will really test the merit of a runner's biomechanics.

But how do you decide which shoes are right for you? Granted, most of us can't afford to be fitted for custom footwear. So in the production shoe world, it is important to determine which shoe model fits your personal physiology and biomechanics as closely as possible.

Obviously, your local specialty running shoe store is the best resource to help you find the right shoe; NOT that guy at the mall (been there, done that; about 40 years ago a salesman who was working on commission ENSURED me that these shoes with velcro flaps were right for me).

So take my advice; trust a running shoe professional for an evaluation. Once you are dialed into what works for you, stay with that model in the future or the model the manufacturer replaces it with. They are notorious for simply changing model names.

What else should you be concerned with? Since the manufacturers have to cater to the masses and not the individual, some runners might need some custom work. This usually comes in the form of orthotics.

If you do do need orthotics, it would behoove you to get a custom pair fitted by a podiatrist that understands sports medicine. No, those machines at Walmart are not a good substitute.

Bottom line? Research, buy wisely, and stay healthy, people.

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