And why they may not be the same style or brand.
You truly don’t need a lot of equipment for running…really just sweat-wicking clothing that’s appropriate for the weather and a good pair of running shoes. And by a “good” pair of running shoes I mean shoes that fit well, are comfortable and appropriate for the type of running you’re doing, and, most important, offer the cushion and structure that work with your biomechanics.
So, there really is no one perfect running shoe for every man or every woman…it’s all about what you want and need in a shoe. Let’s do a deep dive on this…
How to get a pair of comfortable, well-fitting shoes.
Often when we work with our customers at the store, they tell us their shoe size. That’s a great starting point but sizing can vary between shoe brands and between styles within a brand.
Here’s are some tips to get the best fit:
- Try for at least a thumb’s length between your longest toe and the end of the toe box. With your foot constantly thrust in a forward motion, you’ll need that room to reduce blisters, cramping and lost toenails. The proper length gives you room to wiggle your toes but not so much that your heel slips.
- Your foot shape also determines the “best shoe for you.” Some brands shape their shoes with a narrow heel, while some are well-known for wide toe boxes. And if you have wide feet, ask for styles with wide widths.
- Don’t be stuck on “I always wear size 9.” We generally go up a half size to make sure the shoe is roomy but not sloppy. Buy a shoe based on the fit, not the size.
- Try on several styles so you can feel the differences and narrow down your selection. When you have two or three contenders, put one on each foot for a side-by-side comparison. That can help you make the best selection.
How to find the shoe that’s best for the type of running you do.
Are you running on a trail, or the road or a treadmill? Well, there’s a shoe for that!
- Trail runners: Trail-specific shoes are made with extra grip on the outsole for traction on slippery, muddy trails. There are plenty of different styles to try with super-sturdy grip to barely-there traction, and some styles have rock plates so you don’t get poked by sticks and rocks. Try on a few styles to see what fits your foot and running style the best.
- Road runners: These are the most common running shoes because they work well on packed surfaces (like sidewalks) as well as light trails and treadmills. They are designed for pavement, tend to be lighter and more flexible than trail shoes, and are made to cushion or stabilize feet during repetitive strides on hard, even surfaces.
- Treadmill runners: When you run outside, you have different ground conditions to deal with (water, pavement, loose gravel, etc.), but treadmill running offers a consistent and cushioned terrain. Because of this many people like a lightweight, more flexible style of running shoe. Take advantage of our in-store treadmill to try out a few styles to see what works best for you.
How to find a shoe that works with your biomechanics.
Biomechanics is, in the most basic terms, how your body moves when running. We offer free Gait Analysis to assess the way your foot hits, rolls and toes off to determine your pronation (the natural side-to-side movement of your foot). While there is no right or wrong gait, this process tells us whether you’re a neutral runner, an overpronator or an underpronator (also called supinator) so we can offer you a selection of shoes with the appropriate level of support to reduce the risk of injury and boost comfort.
- A Neutral runner generally has a medium arch, with the foot rolling evenly and the ankle remaining aligned as you go through the gait cycle.
- An overpronating runner generally has a lower arch that collapses when the foot rolls inward.
- An underpronating runner generally has a high arch that rolls out when the foot hits the ground.
Come into Plateau Runner today for a free gait analysis and we’ll help you select a pair of kicks that fit your feet, your activity and your body’s needs.