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Updated on July 18, 2011
Shopping for running shoes can be a workout in and of itself. The brands, the lingo, the technology—it’s enough to make you run the other direction.
But wait. Before you disappear in a puff of smoke, read through these helpful tidbits. It might just ensure that next pair is the perfect one.
Do buy the same shoe twice. If it worked for you before, why wouldn’t it work again? No need to reinvent the wheel here. And if your favorite style is discontinued? Use your worn-out sneaker as a prototype for the next one you purchase.
Do observe your last shoe’s soles. Reading wear patterns can be tricky but helpful nonetheless. If the most wear is found between the big toe and the edge of the shoe, it’s time to switch to a more stable shoe. However, if the area behind the second and third toe is most worn, change shoes but stick to the same category.
Don’t pick a shoe for its color. As appealing as hot pink can be, it doesn’t mean that shoe is right for you. There is a multitude of considerations, and color should be the last thing on your mind. After you narrow down the selection, the shoe’s hue can once again come into play.
Do determine your arch height. When it comes to running shoes, arches matter. If it’s as high as the one in St. Louis, a neutral shoe type could be in your future. Or is your arch flatter than a pancake? You might need a motion-control shoe. Watch the following video from Runner’s World on how to figure out your foot arch type.
Don’t change your shoe category. Even if you’re tempted to mix things up when purchasing your next pair, don’t do it. Well, you can, but it might not be a comfortable experience. Your best bet is to select a different style of shoe from the same family. Those families include motion-control, cushioned-stability, stability or neutral shoes. Your feet will thank you.
Do listen to your feet. They know what’s up. If your last pair gave you blisters, numbness or even black toe nails, your feet are definitely trying to tell you something. Perhaps you should try a larger size or wider width. But if you choose to put on earmuffs instead, your dogs will only start barking again.
Don’t assume pain comes from the wrong shoe category.. Running shoes wear out. Many of us like to ignore this fact in order to get our money’s worth. However, wearing your shoes past the expiration date could mean discomfort and injury. So, if your feet start feeling ouchy after the 350-500 mile marker, you probably just need a fresh pair—not a new category all together.
What’s your advice to running shoe shoppers? What have you found the most helpful?
[Image via Flickr]