Choosing the right shoes

26th October 2017BM10k, Brighton Marathon, Kit, Physio, Training

Are you running in the right trainers?

When it comes to running gear, the shoes you wear during training are going to be the most important piece of kit you own. Choosing the right pair is an important investment; over the coming months you will be spending a lot of time in them. The right pair will not only give you a comfortable ride but will also play a crucial role in keeping you free from injury and on top running form. Many injuries could be prevented by wearing the correct pair of trainers – shin splints and achilles tendon issues in particular.

Are you and your trainers are a good match?

Running trainers are designed by sports companies with three main types of foot in mind

  1. Flat, neutral and with high arches. Flat feet have dropped arches and tend to over pronate, or roll inwards onto the inside edge of the feet. If you fall into this category, it will be important to ensure you are in trainers that offer a higher level of support. Trainers for over-pronators will have more structured arch support and reinforced heel that give you stability as you land and restrict the degree of over pronation. This design prevents over-pronation in order to keep your foot and ankle in a more neutral alignment, to try and make your running gait as bio-mechanically brilliant as possible.
  2. High arched feet are the opposite of flat feet, where the feet tend to have rigid arches and supinate, or roll toward the outside edges of the feet as you land. Cushioned shoes with midsole padding are most suitable for this group. You’re going to want trainers that offer cushioned support and enable the foot to stay mobile.
  3. Neutral feet are the most bio-mechanically efficient of the three, where the arches are neither flat nor too high. If you’re a neutral footed runner, you can often run in most types of running footwear- a moderate stability shoe will give you enough support. These will generally be lighter and with minimum medial support.

Size-wise, most runners need to go up a half a size to allow for some wiggle room within the toe box, whilst your heel should fit snugly into the heel of the shoe. If you’re really not sure which type of footwear to go for, visit a running shop that will give you a gait analysis.

When is it time to swap your trainers for a new pair?

Did you know that the average marathon runner goes through two pairs of training shoes before they reach the finish line? The majority of running shoes have 250-400 miles in them before they need replacing. With use and over time the cushioning of your shoes becomes compressed and less effective at supporting your feet as they strike the ground and push off. You may see buckling or creasing through the inside edge of the shoe’s sole and into the arch support. Wearing dead running shoes can compromise your single leg stability, running gait and lead to unhappy feet (and compensatory injuries further up the chain).

If you are going to buy new shoes to wear during the event, we would recommend buying these in no later than July/August and wearing them in for Race Day.

Don’t be tempted by the trends – buy the trainers to suit you!

Overall, the most important piece of advice we can give is to choose trainers that suit you and your feet. In the right pair of trainers, you should be able to run without any pain or niggles. We do see runners being pulled towards trends in footwear, particularly minimalist shoes that are modelled on the barefoot running movement. Unless you are a seasoned runner and have eased yourself gradually into training with this type of shoe, we wouldn’t recommend jumping into this particular trend.


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