Did you ever need a check list whenever you bought your running shoes? Well this is it: your checklist for choosing your running shoes.
1. Buy your shoes at the end of the day
According to Jorgen Welsink from Marathon Lifestyle Now whom we’ve had the pleasure to interview advises we choose our running shoes at the end of the day. The reason for that is because at the end of the day your feet are slightly swollen, as they are after a while of running.
2. Shoe flexibility
When you walk barefoot your foot bends under the toes, at the ball of the foot. Your shoe must allow for that natural movement of the foot otherwise your muscles, tendons, ligaments (including those of the toes) will work extra hard, too hard.
To test this bend the shoe with your hands, if they bend easily they’re flexible, if you put some effort into it then they’re not very flexible enough. Take a few of the shelf and feel the difference.
3. Toe room
Ensure you have the space about the thickness of your thumb between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. You also want to make sure your toes and feet can spread do the side as they would if you were barefoot. Make sure your little toe is happy as well.
4. Heel to toe drop
Heel to toe drop or heel drop is essentially the thickness measurement in mm from the heel to the toe or how fat the heel is. The heel drop can go as high as 12mm and as low as zero – which is as close as you can get to barefoot with a shoe on.
5. Terrain and shoe sole
Depending on the type of terrain you run on you have different types of soles. For example Inov8 have a great range of off-road shoes. This is the brand I use for winter training and Obstacle Course Racing. I use VivoBarefoot for any other type of terrain and the other seasons.
On our Amazon store you can find a range of running shoes.
6. Minimalist or not?
The closer you are to the ground – the closer you are to a zero mm drop – the less supported your feet are, the more impact you will feel and, as a results of feeling the impact, the more likely you are to reducing it.
The closer you are to the ground the more your muscles work (in your feet, ankles, knees, glutes etc). Minimalist walking or running also reduces your stride length, over striding being one of the main reasons of running injuries.
Being close to the ground also enhances the connectivity or communication between the soles of the feet, which have about 200 000 nerve endings, and the brain. As a result the brain knows how to position your body in the most efficient way to reduce the risk of injury. If the communication is restricted then the brain cannot properly respond to the terrain changes under your feet.
This is well documented and probably the best book to get this information from is Natural Running Technique by Danny Abshire. You can find this book and others here.
I am an supporter of barefoot, however I do have a word of caution for you, our feet are not adapted to this lifestyle, our muscles, tendons, ligaments and skeletal system have not developed for a barefoot lifestyle unless you spend your childhood and adulthood barefoot most of the time. You can transition with care and discipline if you wish. The book mentioned above can help with that as well. Ignore the transition phase and you are on your way to potential injury.
I think I touched on the most important aspects of how to choose your running shoes. If I remember something else or if anyone has any questions or suggestions leave a comment below and I will update the article.
Check out our running shoes selection from Amazon to get an idea.
Ask any questions below.