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What makes a good running shoe?
A good running shoe is snug in every part of the foot. And you won’t have foot issues even during your first run. But a good running shoe can become great and prove its worth when you experience no issues after running even running a marathon. Yes, with the current shoe technologies, it’s now possible for marathoners not to experience pain after long runs. To do this, they must wear their best running shoes.
Pronation of the foot explained
Each of us has foot mechanics that belong to one of the three types of pronation of the foot: neutral, supination, and overpronation.
Neutral pronation. This pronation of the foot has a healthy roll of foot where there is fair weight distribution across the foot surface with a slight emphasis on the big toe and second toe at the end of each step. Neutral pronation has the least possibility of injury because every part of the foot (heel, arch, and toes) work well to handle the load. Neutral pronators have a normal arch.
Supination. This pronation of the foot lacks the inward roll and forces the outer part of your heel and smaller toes to receive most of the force during foot strike until your foot pushes off to complete your step. High arches are common to supination where they have an influence on the outward roll of the foot. Supination makes the foot rigid (or less flexible) during different phases of the gait cycle.
Overpronation. This pronation of the foot has too much inward roll causing your foot to be heavy at heel strike. Your foot increases the rotation of your tibia, which can cause problems in the lower limb. With overpronation, the shock that your foot receives during foot strike doesn’t spread across the foot surface. And your ankle may have trouble stabilizing your body. Flat feet are common to overpronation.
How to choose a running shoe
So how do you choose your best running shoe?
1. Making sure it’s a running shoe. Many shoes look like great running shoes but in reality, they are only sports-inspired shoes or just a look-alike of the actual running shoes. Sports-inspired shoes won’t give you any support for running. So look into the item information and make sure that the shoe you are considering is a true running shoe.
Tip: Trail running shoes are for trails, road running shoes are for pavement, and walking shoes are for walking.
2. Determining your support type. Most online stores would include a clear description of the support type in the item information. Take note of the support type because this is the most crucial part of choosing your best running shoes.
If the pronation of your foot is neutral or supination, your best running shoes are neutral shoes because they are flexible and have the best support for the rigidity of your foot during the gait cycle. Neutral pronators may choose a minimalist shoe if they enjoy a lighter shoe with more contact with the ground. These shoes will encourage your lower limb to build up strength during training.
Supinators should avoid minimalist shoes because they lack support.
If you have overpronation, your best running shoes are stability shoes because they have the arch support you need.
3. Knowing your technology. Not all shoe technologies are equal, that is why you have a specific brand that you like. But do you know which technology works for you? Here are some top technologies of today that are being improved every time there’s a new version of running shoe:
- BioMoGo DNA technology of Brooks, which is a midsole foam designed to deliver long-lasting cushioning
- DNA LOFT transition zone of Brooks which gives soft and smooth transitions from heel through toe-off
- Meta-rocker Geometry of Hoka One One which encourages natural running gait, as well as, provide a smooth roll from impact to toe-off
- Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Technology Cushioning System of ASICS which greatly reduces the force of impact from heel strike through toe-off
- Zoom Air units of Nike for a targeted responsiveness in the forefoot and heel
- Cushlon foam of Nike which delivers soft and springy midsole cushioning
- Heel foam of Nike which delivers optimal comfort
- Ortholite cushioning of New Balance which is lightweight yet compresses only less than 5% over its lifetime to ensure you get optimum cushioning, fit, comfort, and performance
- Full-length EVA technology of New Balance which delivers long-lasting comfort
- ROLLBAR technology of New Balance which prevents rear foot movement and enhances smooth transitions from heel-strike through toe-off. This ROLLBAR technology proved to be very helpful in relieving heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
These are only some technologies from top brands that you need to know to determine which technology works best for you.
Now that you have seen the 3 steps on how to choose a running shoe, you should be able to make the best decision in choosing your next running shoe.
Happy running everyone!