Tips for Finding the Right Running Shoes

Women CamoUS

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All running shoes are NOT created equal. Go ahead and reread that sentence before we move on.

Now, on to my story. On April 12th, 2015, I ran my very first Rock N’ Roll marathon. I’m talking 13.1 miles (I walked around an extra 5 miles before the race) of pure, hardcore street paving action. However, I had the time of my life. I also had a pretty darn good pair of running shoes. Bands played stimulating music as we ran. Churches, colleges, fraternities and sororities stood along the side and held up signs with some of the funniest slogans I’ve ever seen.

One of the most memorable signs belonged to a woman who gave us the thumbs up as we stomped/dragged/sprinted by her spot. It said: “I trained for six months so I could hold this sign.” That was a true-to-life LMAO moment. Things like this made the experience an unforgettable one. However, another vital aspect played a crucial role in my success as well. And that was the running shoes I finally settled on.

Women ZPrintUS
Women ZPrintUS

from: Reebok

First, a bit of advice from the Fit & Thrifty Diva. As with any exercise program you’re about to tackle, you should always consult with your doctor to make sure you’re in good physical shape before starting any strenuous program.

Now, on to the advice. Most folks will tell you the best way to find the right shoe is to head to a running store and to get fitted. They are right. I did. At first, I wasn’t going to. I figured the neon pink and blue Champions I had trained in were a lucky find, so I’d be just as lucky in finding a marathon shoe. Nope! I was totally wrong. Even though I didn’t buy my running shoes from that store, the clerks educated me on a few things. In the following paragraphs, I’ll be sharing a few tips I’ve learned about running shoes since I started this journey three years ago.

Exercising is one of the basic needs of the body. To avoid excessive gym expenses, running is one of the best, low-cost exercises. Will this low-maintenance exercise be of any good? Of course! Running is one of the few exercises that gives you a complete body makeover. Running gives your legs a stunningly extreme workout. Swinging your arms back and forth as well as pumping them through the air helps with toning of the muscles. Running also supports tightening of the abs through the support of your core, and your glutes are getting a major workout back there. And that’s always a good thing, right?

Your whole body works out when you are running. Cardiovascular exercise also helps to strengthen your heart and to burn stored fat in those places which no other exercise can touch. I literally ran off my muffin top! Pretty fab news, isn’t it? Well, what are you waiting for? Gear up and start running today.

The-Fit-and-Thrifty-Diva-Tips-for-Finding-the-Right-Running-ShoeFor folks who have never run in a marathon or their PR time wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be, well today is your lucky day. The Fit & Thrifty Diva is back and will offer tips for runners to make this year’s race the perfect one.

The key to a happy running life is finding the right shoe to cater to a runner’s needs. Having a flashback of the pain the previous marathon cursed you with? Yes? Then, it’s crucial you find the right shoe. Now that you know the secret ingredient of a happy running life, the next question will be: what shoe should you be looking for? Running shoes are designed to perform for the shape of a specific customer’s foot. That’s why every shoe has different features for your foot. Purchasing the wrong shoe for your personal running style can leave you with sore, swollen feet and you might not want to walk for a week or more.

The first thing you should know about your feet before starting your hunt is how they hit the ground. This is called pronation as it determines how your body absorbs the impact of running. There are 3 kinds of pronation runners:

  1. Normal (Neutral) Pronation runners: Normal pronation also known as neutral pronation, is when the inside of the heel makes the initial contact with the ground and the foot rolls inward, comes in complete contact with the ground and can support your body weight without any problem. And when the forces have been distributed evenly you are then able to push-off from the front foot.

Now you know the importance of pronation in your daily running life routine. Awesome isn’t it? Now let’s move on to our second kind of pronation.

  1. Overpronation runners: Overpronation goes with the same sequence as normal pronation, but this time the outside of your heel comes in contact with the ground first. Also, the foot rolls inward more than the normal pronation making it hard for your foot and ankle to stabilize your body. If you have not bought the proper shoes to support such a movement, where do you end up? That’s right, on the ground hurting yourself. Or you could end up with sore feet or a twisted ankle.

In addition to the troublesome woes listed in the previous paragraphs, not wearing the right shoe can cause internal damages as well. You don’t want to end with troublesome muscle pains for the rest of your life. Overpronation can cause extra stress and tightness in the muscles, so you might want to do a bit of stretching before your run. But if you do not buy the right shoe and continue running, get ready to face callused feet, runner’s knee, bunions, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.

Attention overpronators! You might want to buy shoes with straight or semi-curved lasts (molding).  Look for stability shoes with firm multi-density midsoles and external control features that limit pronation and lastly use arch supports such as Reebok’s ZPrint line.

Overpronators you are now free of risks and can enjoy the real thrill of running. Now it’s time to look at our last pronation which is as important as the two above. Let us now remove the curtains and see what the last pronation has to say.

Women ZPrintUS
Women ZPrintUS

from: Reebok

  1. Underpronation runners: Also known as supination, is the insufficient inward roll of the foot. Again the initial contact is made by the outside of the heel to the ground. However, the less inward movement is made than the normal pronation which does not release the forces as they should be released and before the final push-off the stress transfers on to your tiny toes. Underpronation places extra stress on to your foot and may lead to painful conditions such as iliotibial band syndrome, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Runners with high arches and tight Achilles tendons tend to be underpronators.

Any way to prevent it? Of course! Find the right running shoe for your style.

Underpronators should do extra stretching for calves, hamstrings, quads and iliotibial band. Wear the right shoes with the curved lasts to allow pronation, hunt for light weight trainers to allow more foot motion and lastly check for flexibility on the medial (inner) side of the shoe.

Now you know wearing the wrong shoe while running may lead to many problems. However, the Fit & Thrifty Diva’s got your back. Take precautionary measures to find the perfect shoe and you’ll lead a healthy running life. You may now enjoy the fun in running and experience its true thrill without worrying about future injuries.

The article the Fit & Thrifty Diva: Tips for Choosing Running Shoes first appeared on Live Well… Be Fabulous on February 12th, 2016.