So you've decided to take up running. You've heard that it is an excellent way to strengthen your lungs and heart. You know it is a great way to lose weight and lower blood pressure. You've even learned that it can help relieve stress and combat depression too, so you're ready to give it a try.
Congratulations, you've just taken your first step towards a healthier lifestyle.
Before you get too serious about your new workout routine however you should consider buying a proper pair of running shoes. Not only will a good pair of shoes help you ease into the sport, they can also help prevent injury and make those first training miles much less difficult. Shopping for a pair of running shoes can be surprisingly stressful however, as there are so many options to choose from these days.
Do you want a lightweight minimalist shoe, or something sturdier and more robust? Should you go with a dedicated running shoe, or one that is meant for cross training? There are so many things to consider that it can be overwhelming at times, especially for beginners.
But don't fret too much. While there are plenty of things to think about when selecting the proper footwear, it isn't as complicated as it seems. With a little knowledge and understanding, you can quickly and easily find a pair of running shoes that are right for you. Here are some tips to help you pick the best pair for your needs, both now and moving forward.
Find the Right Fit
With running shoes finding the right fit is the key to comfort.
They should be snug in the heel but still provide a minimal amount of movement. The upper portion of the shoe should not be tight in any way or it could generate hot spots that can lead to chafing or blisters. Running footwear should be wide enough so that the foot isn't cramped or constrained, and it should have enough length to accommodate some natural swelling of the feet as you run. If any of these aspects of the shoe don't feel right on your feet, you probably won't enjoy running in them.
Try on Lots of Different Shoes
When you go to the store to buy your shoes be sure to try on lots of different pairs, even if you think you know exactly which ones you want.
This gives you the opportunity to experience just how different models of footwear, from different manufacturers, actually feel on your feet. You might be surprised to learn that one company makes shoes that feel much better on your feet than others for instance. Or that a brand you thought you really liked doesn't feel as good as you had originally hoped. Subtle differences in fit and comfort can become very evident when you're trying on multiple pairs of shoes in a short period of time. Take advantage of the opportunity and try as many as you can.
Wear Your Running Socks to the Store
To ensure you're getting a proper fit in your new running shoes, be sure to wear the socks that you intend to run in when you go to the store. Having the right socks on while shopping will help you to avoid any surprises when go home and head out for your first run in those spiffy new kicks.
Visit a Running Specialty Shop
While big-box sporting good stores may offer lower prices, you'll also get less personal attention too. When you start shopping for running shoes, drop by a smaller shop that specializes in meeting the needs of runners. Not only will the staff be more knowledgeable, chances are they'll be more willing to take the time to help you find the right shoes as well. They may even have special equipment that can measure your foot and analyze your running style, which can provide invaluable insights into your specific needs.
Don't Buy Based on Looks
Running shoe companies put a great deal of thought into the design of their products, and as a result they can often look really great. But don't ever buy a pair of shoes based on just how nice they look, unless they also happen to feel great on your feet too. Running shoes often come in bright, sometimes garish, colors as well, which can be a bit off putting at first. But once you realize that comfort takes center stage over looks, you'll learn that it is much better to feel good out on the road than to look good.
Take Them For a Test Run
Before you decide you're ready to buy, ask the store clerk if it is okay to take the shoes for a short test run. You'll be surprised how quickly you'll be able to tell if they are the right shoes for you simply by taking a lap around the block. You wouldn't buy a car without taking it for a test drive first, and the same logic applies to your running shoes too.
Trust Your Feet
Ultimately you will learn to trust your feet.
They'll know when your shoes feel right and when something is off. Often times it is just a matter of trial and error when it comes to selecting the proper running shoes, but once you discover the ones that are right for you, it will almost feel like they are custom made for your feet. When you do find that particular shoe, it isn't a bad idea to buy a couple of pairs. Manufacturers change their line-up regularly, and sometimes they'll eliminate a certain model or radically change its design.
Having the proper footwear will help keep your feet comfortable and happy while you're first getting started running, which is why it is so important to take your time in finding just the right shoe to fit your personal needs. The right shoe could literally be the difference in whether or not you actually enjoy your workouts and start adopting a running lifestyle.