Choosing the Best Road Shoes
You need some new road shoes, but you’re not sure where to start as there are so many pairs out there. You might be a new runner or your old shoes may have seen better days.
When you run, particularly in the urban environment, it’s really important to understand what kind of runner you are. That doesn’t mean fast, slow, enthusiastic or lazy, but what you actually need to know is if you run with a NEUTRAL gait or if you are an OVERPRONATOR. Start off by finding out what kind of runner you are; at Up & Running you can ask for a free digital gait analysis assessment in any of our stores. The assessment will reveal your running style and you will get the chance to discuss it with our expert. Watch our video to see what happens during a gait analysis assessment.
The staff will chat to you about your current running footwear, your goals and the type of running you do or are intending to do. Using digital gait analysis software, we will help you to understand whether you need a neutral shoe or a supportive shoe. Getting this right is the first step, and it is what we call biomechanics.
What are Biomechanics?
Biomechanics is the study and understanding of how your foot naturally strikes the ground, whether you’re walking or running. If you’ve already got a pair of running shoes, you can look underneath at the sole; is there excessive wear on the outside of the shoe? Then it is likely that you are an over-pronator and need to wear a supportive shoe. A supportive shoe will help to bring you back in line so that you land with an even footprint. Ignoring overpronation can lead to injuries over time, so it really is the first step to buying a new pair of running shoes. For neutral and under-pronanting gaits, we recommend neutral shoes. The video above explains the gait analysis process in more detail.
It’s also important to have your gait reviewed as injuries, stronger muscles and pregnancy can all cause significant changes.
Why is it Important to Wear a Specialist Running Shoe?
Road shoes will wrap and protect your feet giving you one less thing to think about whilst running. The shoe needs to have the right level of support and cushioning for you. The upper needs to be seamless yet supportive to hold your foot in place and the midsole needs to provide just the right level of cushioning where you need it. The different levels of support aid the best foot strike to protect your whole body. A well-fitting pair of running shoes will protect your feet, enhance your run, and allow you to better achieve your goals.
What Sort of Running Do You Do?
Will it be a speedy 5k a couple of times a week, or are you intending to clock up longer runs? You may want to have a couple of different pairs of running shoes, suited to different types of running you do. And if you’re into trail running – check out our off-road guide here.
With so many road shoes choose from, we’ve put together a few of our favourites:
- Supportive: The Asics GT-2000, lightweight and stable. The secure midsole is the protection for runners who are seeing a performance stability shoe.
- Speed: The Saucony Endorphin collection will have you primed for race pace. The SPEEDROLL technology will propel you forwards, the Carbon Fibre plate will give you explosive power transfer, and the PWRRUNPB super responsive cushioning is ultralight energy with maximum bounce.
- Cushioned: If you’re looking for comfort and plush cushioning the Saucony Triumph could be your shoe. Featuring a PWRRUN+ midsole, this shoe will keep you feeling fresh, step after step after step.
- For every run: The popular Brooks Ghost keeps on getting stronger and stronger. Light, cushioned and responsive it ticks all the boxes, and can be your go-to shoe any day of the week.
We hope to answer most of your questions here, but we always encourage our customers to pop into a local Up & Running shop for more bespoke advice.
What Size Should I Buy?
A good rule of thumb is exactly that; a thumb’s width of space in the toe box. Look at getting running shoes that are a full/half size bigger than your everyday shoes, some brands even recommend a size and a half. As you run you don’t want your toes squashing into the end of your shoes. Shoes that fit well, with the recommended space in the toe box, will help to prevent black toenails.
Are You Worried About Your Knees?
Investing in good running shoes is an investment in your knees and will help to prevent any future problems. But if you’re new to running and you’re concerned that you’ve already got knee problems then we recommend opting for a highly cushioned shoe which will help to prevent any further damage and give you a comfier run. If you’re in doubt, you should contact a medical specialist before you start running.
How Long Should Running Shoes Last?
How long running shoes should last is measured in miles rather than months. Running shoes should last between 300-500 miles. For example, if you run on average five miles, three times a week, you are looking at approximately 30 weeks of wear. However, this will vary for each person. If you are a heavy foot striker, or a larger build it may be nearer the 300 miles, whereas a lighter runner may get nearer 500 miles. Over time you will begin to be aware that the same run you are used to is causing a few aches and niggles. Check the shoes, it may be time for a new pair. If in doubt, take them into your local Up & Running shop, they will be happy to give you a free assessment of your shoes.
How to Care for Your Running Shoes?
Never put your shoes in the washing machine, no matter how cool the wash; the temperature combined with the spinning will cause damage to the materials and reduce their longevity. If you need to clean them then wipe them over instead; use a damp cloth over a bowl of water, and don’t immerse them. Then place near a radiator, but not directly on it, as it will be too hot, or outside in the shade and allow them to dry naturally, not too quickly.
What if I Have Wide Feet?
Some running shoes do come in wide and extra wide fittings, so wide feet don’t need to be an issue. You can also re-lace your running shoes specifically for a wider foot, to help give your feet the space they need. The staff can advise you, but it’s about minimal lacing, enough to keep your shoes secure but reducing the amount of times the laces cross the shoe in order to give a looser feel. Similarly, if you have narrow feet, you can adjust the lacing to give a tighter fit.
I Have Flat Feet, is it Still Ok to Run?
Asymptomatic (pain free) flat feet are not a barrier to running or buying a running shoe, providing they fit well and are comfortable. Painful flat feet should always be assessed by a podiatrist who will advise on whether a specialist orthotic shoe is required, and what type of trainer would work best for your foot type. Your local Up & Running shop will be able to connect you to a local podiatrist.
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