Does your New Year’s resolution include showing off a more fantastic and fit version of your body? Running is a great way to do this and you’ll need the right shoes. As a health care provider and avid runner I have some tips to keep you on track and injury-free.
Don’t worry if you’ve tried to find the right sneakers in the past and found it overwhelming; I understand. There are a lot of buzzwords in running shoe technology and it can be quite confusing–but don’t get discouraged! Here is what you need to know to make the shopping a little easier:
- First, don’t rely on word of mouth or the coolest looking shoes in the store. Everyone has different needs based on their stride or how their foot strikes the ground. What works for you may not work for another person.
- The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine recommends that you go to an experienced shoe fitter or seek out a sports medicine podiatrist for footwear. It is wise to get evaluated by a sports medicine podiatrist if you already use orthotics and/or have circulatory or musculoskeletal problems with your legs.
- When you find a specialty running store, it is best to shop later in the day since feet tend to swell in the afternoon. This will help to accommodate for the additional space needed since your feet can swell while running.
- Go when the store isn’t crowded. Simply call to get their low-volume times and while you’re on the phone…
- Find out the store’s return policy. Reputable running stores will allow you to return or exchange the shoes if they don’t work out.
- At the store, a knowledgeable salesperson will help select the right shoe based on the amount of miles run weekly, running goals, any history of injury, and your foot type. If the person helping you doesn’t ask you about these things, you may be in the wrong kind of store.
- The right fit and comfort are essential. Make sure there is at least a quarter to a half an inch of space in front of the big toe. Walk or jog in place and bend down to get a good feeling of the shoe.
- Take a couple of days to walk in them, do errands, and take stairs. Remember that the shoes may not be the right pair if there is discomfort or pain in any part of your hips, legs, or feet.
Visit your health care provider if you have consistent pain as this may require further investigation. Pain that forces you to change the way you run, requires you to take pain medicine, interferes with your ability to climb stairs or bend down, and also pain that occurs when you are resting (in a sitting position) should be assessed.
Selecting a great pair of running shoes is an investment in your health and safety. The right shoes will help to keep you injury-free and your legs will thank you later. Now go ahead and take that grin-filled selfie while celebrating your new shoes, you earned it!
Don’t forget to enjoy the journey and people you meet along the way. I have found that the running community is very welcoming and I believe you will, too. With the right shoes, you’ll be on your way to crossing the finish line of your first Color Run, Mud Run, or Charity Run in no time.