Selecting the Right Running Shoes

*By: Christi Shingara*

Photo: Bruno Nascimento

I have been an avid runner for years. No, I have not run a marathon yet or even a half marathon. I am more of a leisure runner that enjoys doing it daily for strength and clarity, but never running more than five or six miles during an outing. Bad knees run in my family, and my hopes are to always have the ability to run for many more years. It is my favorite form of cardio. I mainly get the chance to run on the weekends and always enjoy doing it outside (weather permitting). I am usually in the market for a new pair of shoes every six months to a year, but that can vary depending on the amount of running I get in.

Since there are so many great holiday deals going on right now, this is the perfect time to look for a new pair of kicks! For the past few years, I have been very happy with Brooks, but in previous years I have also had Asics and Nike. I like my shoes to be light with good cushioning and tread. Below are some things I look for when picking the right running shoe.

Fit – Finding a shoe to fit your foot comfortably is probably one of the most important aspects of picking the right running shoe. Usually when running, your feet will swell slightly and spread, so it is key to have a shoe that has enough room. Your shoe should not pinch or feel sloppy. When I try on running shoes, I usually try to run around in the store and see how they feel. This may look goofy, but it’s key in helping me make the right choice.

Terrain – Knowing your terrain is important when figuring out what shoe will work for you. I used to run on a treadmill, which is a much better surface to run on then pavement. However, I got soo bored with it. Then, I would run mainly on pavement, which led to me getting runner’s knee from time to time. The constant pounding on uneven and unforgiving surfaces is not good for the knees, joints, etc. Now, I run on a softer, gravel-type surface through the woods, which is much more easier on my body.

Type of Shoe – There are 5 different types of running shoes you can choose from which are as follows:

  • Lightweight – These are shoes that are more for racing and competition. Their lightweight structure helps the runner with speed. The downside is they don’t have a lot of cushioning.
  • Stability – These type of shoes offer more arch and ankle support and provide more cushioning in those areas.
  • Trail – Trail shoes are those that are between a running shoe and a hiking shoe. They offer cushioning in the ankle area and also superior traction for trail terrain.
  • Cushioned – You guessed it, these shoes have extra cushioning and offer more protection and padding in the heel region.
  • Motion Control -These shoes are built with wider soles and help limit excessive motion.

If you don’t want to do a ton of research, Brooks makes it a little easier. They have a great questionnaire on their website that helps you find your “perfect” running shoe. You can check it out here.

I’ve found that finding a running shoe that works with your body and helps you get to the finish line without pain is the key to a great cardio workout.

What are your favorite running shoes? Comment below and let us know!

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