Why a running shoe is important to running?

Right from the top we think it is important to set the record straight. Running is one of the greatest forms of physical activity, but we understand it’s not always the easiest especially when you are starting out.

Wherever you are at in your running journey from beginners to seasoned athlete, it’s important to remove as many barriers as possible. In order to get to a place where you are like water flowing through the runner’s terrain, be it the big city, the hills of the lake district or the local football pitch you need to get back to basics.

There are 3 essential pieces of kit when it comes to running.  Socks being one, a Run Bra for woman and of course running shoes. The latter isnt actually essential from day one and we are not naive enough to expect everyone who takes up running to LOVE it, but we do know, through personal and professional experience that it has more chance of becoming part of your life if you start on the right foot; literally. 

Runners need trainers and while these don’t need to be the most expensive shoes on the market with all of the bells and whistles we do recommend that they are:

Fit appropriately, with enough room for the foot to move naturally.
They have some adequate form of cushioning, to protect you from the impact of running.

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Starting your running journey

Have you ever had a label in a piece of clothing that either tickles or scratches you neck?  It is there and while it isn’t causing any damage, it is irritating, taking your attention away from what you are doing and it is constantly on your mind.  Now imagine if you had that with your running shoes. Whether you are looking to get a PB, looking for something to help with that non-stop run up that ‘mountainous’ hill or you simply want something that is effortless in helping you get out the door and destress after a hard day’s work. It’s all in the running shoes!  One of a runner’s basic needs is comfort. 

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Get more out of your running

When you are starting off, we suggest that they start off slowly and they try to focus on the act of getting out the door and moving first and foremost. Mixing in running and walk is a great way to ensure you are enjoying it and overtime can see the progress as you sustain the running part for longer. There will be aches and pains where they have not had them before. The legs, the feet, running is a whole-body workout, but that’s also one of the reasons it’s so good. The key is to get use to the feel of running and the experience of taking to the road. So however, that happens for you, find how running can fit and benefit in your daily routine. Even for the more seasoned runners, it’s important to remember the purpose of what’s getting you out on the run, and truly embracing that feeling of running.

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Next step of your Journey

If you have a had a few weeks of running, especially from starting back up again or starting for the first time! I can be good practice to shift your attention from merely just ‘another’ run to perhaps looking at how incremental gains can be attained. This can be in whatever forms helps and motivates you, from being less goal centric and perhaps more experiential. At this point looking to invest in additional kit, or upgrading your shoes may be beneficial, specifically as you look to longer distances, faster paces or varying terrains.

Running shoes will not ever make you the next Usain Bolt or Mo Farah, not will they guarantee a PB. However, what they will do is make the feeling and experience of ‘A Run’ more comfortable and enjoyable.


Why a running bra is important when starting running?

For a woman a sports bra is an essential piece of running kit, no matter the breast size, the movement created by running and the choice of a correctly fitted sports bra can be the difference between a great running experience and one of discomfort and disappointment. 

The average breast size in the UK is a 34D which is 500g per breast, meaning that the average woman carries 1kg of extra weight when they are running. As the breast has no muscles and is not connected to any muscles in the body, the breast moves independently of the rest of a women’s body and is only supported by 2 weak structures: the skin itself and a ligament called the Cooper’s ligaments. 

In the running motion the breast moves individually to the rest of the body and the skin is able to resist a certain amount of strain, however, if the breast moves 60% or more then damage can occur meaning that the Cooper’s ligaments will become over stretched. This can lead to breast pain and breast reshaping.  It is important therefore that the breasts is supported on ‘The Run’. 

There have been further studies done that suggests that by not wearing a sports bra it can affect performance and research has also shown that women have to work harder with a regular bra compared with a sports bra due to an increase in upper body muscle activity.  Too much movement makes exercise more challenging.  A change in breathing patterns has also been shown; women are more likely to take shallower and quicker breaths without a sports bra. 

Research has also been conducted by the University of Portsmouth and it has shown a change in running gait with an incorrectly fitted sports bra or indeed any sports bra at all.

Finally, breasts awareness has been shown to be the 4th biggest barrier to exercise in women, ahead of facilities and cost and this demonstrates that there may also be a reluctance to exercise due to confidence levels being low.  However, this doesn’t need to be the case.  All these factors show that a sports bra is a vital piece of kit, not only for running but for other forms of exercise also.

Women who exercise regularly do not wear a sports bra 0%
A good sports bra can minimise movement by 0%
Women wear the wrong size sports bra 0%

Why a running sock is important when starting running?

Running socks are perhaps as important to a runner's running shoes.  A bold statement perhaps but there are some key reasons why choosing the right socks are important to the runner.

It seems to make sense to buy a good pair of running shoes, but why ruin that experience If you then wear a pair of cheap socks.  It makes more sense if you move away from ‘any old pair’ of socks because it is the main barrier between your body and your latest purchase.  By getting a correctly fitted sock it means that your foot will slide less around in the shoe reducing the level of friction and ultimately blisters. By getting a well fitted and cushioned sock it reduces the chance of issues.

Sock technology has come a long way in recent years, but because it doesn’t have loads of visible technology in it, it is quite hard for manufacturers to get runners excited over them. Many runners still see a low-quality cotton socks, the sort used ‘back in the day’ and a simple solution.  Yes, cheap socks may cost a fraction of the cost of quality running socks but it is false economy because socks have moved on from the days where any old sock will do.   

Running socks differ from your standard pair of sports socks based around a few key features:

High wicking materials.
Anatomical fit across both genders as well as your feet.
Flack Lock seams.
Antimicrobial properties.
Cushioning/ padding where needed as well as weight reduction.

Socks are more than an accessory, they are a key piece of kit as they are the ‘shoe/foot interface’ and it helps create comfort and reduces chances of injury and foot problems.  You can go into any runner’s drawer and find that they have not only loads of socks but they also have some firm favourites that they go back to time and time again.  Therefore, socks count!  They may not get you a PB, they may not even be able to navigate you to the next way point or tell you how fast and far you have been going, but one thing is certain.  Your run can be a lot more comfortable if you have the right pair of socks on your feet. 


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