Surviving the shoe mine field by Julian from Sydney Running Centre
The question I have been asked the most over the last 15 years in the running shoe game is "so what's the best running shoe?" It's always so difficult to come up with a short answer to this question but I'll give it a shot……"there is no such thing!"
Good running shoe manufacturers build their range of shoes based on 2 key areas:
- Different foot types (such as is the foot high arch, low arch, wide or narrow?)
- The type of running/training you are doing (is the shoe for road or long distant racing, short fast running, long slow running, walking and so on?)
This means that within the huge range of shoes you will see on shop walls or advertised online, some will suit you down to the ground and others will be completely wrong for you. You cannot choose running shoes based on colour alone! You need to combine information from the 2 key areas mentioned above to help find the right shoe but this can be difficult because how does one know "what's what" when it comes to running shoes?
A lot of people will search online and read forums and reviews on running shoes. Whilst this can sometimes be helpful, there is a lot of misinformation online about shoes which will often point you in the wrong direction. It is also hard to decipher the information because every brand's advertising is aimed at convincing consumers that their products are superior to all others.
To find the right shoe.....
At the Sydney Running centre we know which shoes will suit your feet. How do we do it? We will ask questions such as:
- What kind of exercise will you be doing?
- What shoes have worked or not worked for you in the past?
- Are you carrying any injuries or niggles as a result of your exercise?
- Do you wear orthotics?
We will then have a look at your feet and walking gait to identify the shape of your feet, whether or not you pronate (roll in through your arches), supinate (roll out through your mid-foot) or neither (neutral). With all this info combined we will then recommend some shoes that are in the right category for you -usually 2 or 3 pairs.
The next step is to try them on, lace them up properly and have a walk around – like any shoe they need to feel comfortable to you. A good way to describe the way a shoe should feel is "comfortably firm" this means that you have a feeling of support from the back of the heel through to where the laces end and then enough wiggle room in the toes. "The piggies need to wiggle!"
I've found the right pair, but how long will they last now?
Another common question I get asked is "how long should shoes last?" Yet again it's quite difficult to answer this as people wear shoes out at different rates. The best guideline I can give is this:
- If you use your shoes 3 times a week or more for exercise that involves impact on hard surfaces you should replace them every 12 months with 18 months being the absolute cut off. A 12 month old pair of running shoes can still be completely intact and have no obvious signs of excessive wear but the likelihood is that the cushioning in the shoe has compressed to a point that it will no longer provide the necessary shock absorption.
- Some people say they know their shoes are finished because they all of a sudden "feel it" in their knees.
- Running or walking around in shoes that are worn out is just as detrimental as wearing shoes that are not right for your foot type so it pays to get the right shoes and replace them before they start causing damage.
The Sydney Running Centre has been operating in the Edgecliff Centre for over 15 years. Father and Son team Phil and Julian have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to running, walking, shoes and feet.
If you have trouble finding comfortable shoes then pay a visit to the Sydney Running Centre and mention this article to receive a 10% discount off the retail price.