At the time you stop at a shop that sells sports shoes, you may get overwhelmed by a variety of choices of running shoes. If you have no idea which one is right for you and simply get one, you may get a high possibility of picking the wrong shoe which didn’t fit your running style.
You may be attracted by those fancy and colorful designs that the advisement tells you would really boost your running performance. After trying different shoes and know more about the design of the human body, I would try to describe “how to pick a running shoe”. First of all, I would make an assumption when picking a running shoe:
“Find a running shoe that would let you run naturally with high efficiency”
High Efficiency means when you wear a particular shoe, the force you exert on the ground when running, a high percentage of it transfer to ground force to move you forward.
Considerations on pick a running shoe
From this assumption, it results following criteria to pick a running shoe:
it means the outsole of shoes provides enough traction force for you to grab the ground surface with your landing foot; as a result, it would stabilize your feet and offer better reaction force during a push-off phase of running.
Typically, manufacturers having running shoe outsole makes of graphite in granule and located mainly on the upper half of running shoes, this material would give better traction.
Typical model: Asics Tarther
Low heel to toe drop
The heel-to-toe drop is the height difference between heel and toe, i.e. The drop = heel height – toe height. It should at a range of 0-6 mm. Why low heel-to-toe drop is better? It would help you run with midfoot landing since running shoes with low droplets you having whole feet land on the ground at the same time.
In addition, it would help to train your Achilles tendinitis. As a result, improve muscles utilization during running and help you run naturally in the gait cycle.
Typical model: Vibram five finger shoes and New Balance minimus series
Wide enough running shoes and toebox
The shoes should be wide enough to allow your feet to splash when landing. It would increase your stability and push the ground. If you are not sure whether the shoe is wide enough for your feet or not, you would simply take out the insole of the shoes and make sure the insole width covers completely your feet width when you in a standing pose.
No or minimum arch support
Our feet consist of joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, these structures are designed as a shock-absorbing system. When you land, your arch will move down to absorb the shock applied on the feet by natural.
When you adding artificial arch support from running shoes simply allows the body structures to weaken, stiff, and restrict your feet’ natural movement. In addition, ditch the arch supports and let your feet get strong. You may need a transition shoe with a moderate arch at the beginning and mix this shoe with a shoe without arch support.
Typical model without arch support: Merrell bare glove
Flexible from toe to heel and easy twisting from side to side
Since your foot moves in 3 dimensions during the run, you need to have running shoes that would allow your feet to move easily without restrictions during the gait cycle. The running shoes should have a flexible midsole and soft upper for easy bending and twisting.
Typical model: Nike Free series
Typically, it means less than 9 oz. for men’s running shoes of size 9 and 8 oz. for women’s running shoes of size 8. The lightweight would let you feel fewer burdens, run faster and reduce fatigue during the run.
Typical model: Mizuno Hitogami and Asics Gel-Lyte 33 3
Optimum sole thickness and stiffness
You should find running shoes that would help you feel the ground easily and optimum thickness would increase stability during a run. Usually, runners prefer thick soles for better cushioning; it better applies to heavy runners of weight over 180 pounds.
On the other hand, you should keep the running shoe sole height lower than 30 mm. The sole stiffness should be optimized, i.e. if the sole too soft, it is good for cushion, but it will absorb the push-off energy also. In addition, with improved ground feeling, it would help you train and improve the running form to help you run easily with high efficiency.
Our feet are designed and filled with nerves that sense pressure and movement, this allows your brain to make quick responses to correct slipping on ice, balance, and stepping on obstacles such as rocks.
Typical model: Asics Gel-Excel 33 3
On the other hand, when wearing a running shoe; please remember to tie up your lace to lock your heel completely to avoid the shoe moving around your feet during the gait cycle. In addition, you would consider lifting your heel with only toes hit the ground and make sure without any pain on top of the foot as well.
Other than focus on those new materials and technology presented by different top brands to enrich your running experience, the above considerations offer some ideas on choose running shoes to run naturally, avoid injury, and respond fast during running.