If you’re a runner or walker, there is no more important piece of equipment than your running shoes. "The most important thing is that you get the correct shoe for your style of running and of course the correct fit is crucial,” said Christine Fox, the manager at the Temecula Running Center. “If your feet or legs are starting to feel beat up, a footwear change can help.” The good news? You most likely do not need the latest carbon-fiber technology or the coolest new shoe. You just need guidance to find your best fit.
Start with the bottom of your current shoes
To begin, look at what you’ve been working with. Have you been running with an old pair of trainers? How many miles do you think you’ve run in the past few months? And do you have any aches or pains?
When a shoe begins to wear down, the support and cushioning becomes less effective. The outside of your shoe may still look good but the bottom of your shoes will give you valuable information. The patterns of wear and tear will provide clues as to how you load your weight as you run, and these markers could be helpful when you look for your next pair of shoes.
If you notice the tread is worn out, or even “balding” in some places, it’s a sure sign that you are due for a new pair of running shoes.
Next, head to a local running store
A specialty running shoe store should be staffed by local runners and walkers who know the sport and have had their own aches and pains. Ideally, a staff member will take a look at your feet and watch you walk or run to evaluate your stride. You’ll want to discuss your goals and concerns, such as specific pain points or training plans and you should have the opportunity to run or walk in a handful of shoes for comparison.
“It should feel very intuitive, very natural, like an extension of your foot,” Ms. Fox said. “I encourage people to walk around or jog in the store. The shoe should feel as if it’s moving with you, it should be aligned with where your foot wants to move.”
Expect to spend around $150 on a good pair of running shoes. Focus on function and fit over fashion or color. That new sleek shoe you saw a photo of in a health magazine may not be the one that works for you. Ms. Fox urges runners to think of their shoes as a tool being purchased for a purpose, not as a fashion statement.
Know when it’s time to move on
Experts say shoes should be replaced, on average, after every 350-400 miles. But runners wear through their shoes much differently based on their routines; trail runners may wear through shoes differently than a former college linebacker. You can safely assume that if you continue running, you will need to invest in new pairs of shoes regularly.
Of course, Running Center is always here to help you. If you are unsure whether it’s time for a new pair of shoes or not, come see us. We have the tools, technology and experience to partner with you and help you make that decision.