How to Choose Proper Running Shoes

running shoesRunners in our greater community are lucky to have a valuable resource like the Cleveland West Road Runners Club (CWRRC) available to them. This organization promotes the benefits of running here in Cleveland and arranges group runs at local venues like the Cleveland Metroparks. The CWRRC also sponsors at least three major races every year, including the Fall Classic and July 4th Bay Days.

If you’re interested in joining, but are concerned about only being a novice or have self-doubts about not being “good enough,” there’s no need to worry! This club is a great way to find other beginners and stay motivated with your running goals.

At Ripepi Foot & Ankle Clinics, we take pride in being another valuable resource for runners in our community. We can certainly provide injury treatment when you need it, but we also can offer advice on matters like knowing how to pick the right running shoes.

There are a handful of key tips for your health and safety when you are starting a running program, and one of them is to make sure you have proper footwear. So how do you do that? Well, the following tips will help:

  • As when buying any kinds of footwear, one of the first consideration is the actual time when you will go to buy your running shoes. Make sure you shop in the late afternoon or early evening. Feet swell through the day (until around 4:00 PM), so a pair that fits at 9:00 AM could be tight if you go out for an evening run.
  • When you buy shoes is important, but so too is where you buy them. Go to a store that actually specializes in running and athletic footwear. The staff at specialty stores are more knowledgeable and can help if you have questions. This isn’t necessarily the case if you purchase shoes from a “mall chain” kind of store staffed by high school kids who are instructed to steer customers toward certain shoes (no matter if they are the best choices for an individual or not).
  • Regarding the best choices for an individual, not all feet are exactly the same. One of the key distinctions is arch height. Some feet have higher or lower arches than what is deemed a “neutral” position. This is important to know because arch height can play a role in a biomechanical process known as pronation.

    If you have low foot arches—and are thus more likely to overpronate—you need shoes that are typically labeled as “motion control” models. On the other hand, you probably supinate (under-pronate) if your arches are high and need running shoes with extra cushioning.

    Not sure what if you are an over- or under-pronator? The professionals at shoe stores catering specifically to runners can help. Of course, you can also come see us and we will be happy to evaluate your feet (and determine if you have any risk for certain problems).
  • Running shoes need to provide ample cushioning, while at the same time being well-constructed and structurally supportive. Arch support and solid heel counters are also significant considerations if you want to reduce your risk of plantar fasciitis and other overuse injuries.
  • Properly-fitting shoes are a “must” for virtually all situations, but especially when it comes to running. Your heel needs to be firmly cradled (not excessively tight), toes need a little room on the sides (so they aren’t pinched), and there should be roughly a thumb’s width of space between the front of the shoe and your longest toe.
  • If you’ve been prescribed a pair of custom orthotics, make sure they fit well inside your new running shoes. Bring them—along with the socks you will be wearing when you run—along to the store to make sure the footwear still fits correctly (and isn’t too tight).

Having a proper pair of running shoes that fit well and work with your unique foot structure is a great starting point – no matter if you are a new runner or a seasoned vet.

For more information about running shoes—or to request an appointment in the event you sustain a foot or ankle injury while training—contact our Ripepi Foot & Ankle Clinics today. Simply give us a call at (440) 843-3692 and our staff will be happy to help.
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