How to Find The Best Running Shoe For You
It can be challenging to find a shoe that fits your entire foot while enabling you to run with ease. Sometimes you choose one that you think fits well and feels great, only to find that it gives you blisters after running a kilometer. Since you can’t test out a shoe for all that long, we’ve put together some guidelines to make sure that you select a shoe that will work for you.
Let’s take a look at the parts that make up a shoe and what you should be looking out for.
The Anatomy of the Running Shoe
It’s useful to understand the different parts that make up a running shoe. Even small changes can make a major difference in your overall running experience. Here are the main parts that make up a running shoe.
A shoe’s upper is everything above the sole. Usually, this is made up of layers of fabric and material that is sewn and glued together. There are even shoes with uppers that are knitted or printed to make them fit even better on your feet, providing support where you need it.
What you need: Look for an upper that fits to the shape of your foot, without constricting or chafing any part of it.
The ankle collar is the material at the top of the shoe opening that ensures that the heels are kept in place. Some shoes use thick padding for this purpose, while some depend on the shape.
What you need: When you are taking the shoes on a test walk, see if your heels slip, and whether the paddings put undue pressure on the sides of your ankles. Sometimes the padding is too loose and the shoe ends up slipping around as you run. Also, determine whether the back of the ankle collar hurts your Achilles tendon.
This shoe part is the stiff rounded component inside of the rearfoot that folds around your heel. Not every single shoe has this. Some have external heel wraps, while other shoes remove it completely to allow for more movement. Studies indicate that although heel counters do not help much to control motion, they do support the heel when landing.
What you need: Look for heel counters that feel right on your foot and allow you to move your ankles easily.
This area of the shoe includes the laces, and is the fortified area of the shoe around the instep. It helps to keep your shoes firmly on your feet. There are so many different types of saddles with different overlays, eyelets, and lacing systems that cater to a variety of foot shapes.
What you need: When you try on the shoe, make sure it molds well to the shape of your foot. Opt out of a shoe that makes you feel like it’s going to fall off, and go for one that accommodates your arch as you run.
The toe box runs from the front of the eyelets to the end of the shoe. Oftentimes, shoe designers place a toe bumper on the end that reinforces the fabric of the toe area and saves your poor toes from any stubs.
What you need: Get a shoe that has a toe box that accommodates toe flexion and doesn’t press and restrict your toes too much.
The area of your sole that touches the ground is referred to as the outsole. Usually, it’s made of rubber and some foam materials.
What you need: A good running shoe should give you good traction with the ground so that you don’t slip and fall. At the same time, it shouldn’t be too heavy and be flexible enough for you to comfortably run in.