Let’s talk about your shoes! One of the beauties of running is its minimal requirement for equipment. But you can’t get away from the shoe, and so that’s why it’s important to have your wits about when you walk into a store looking to buy.
You’ll be confronted by a dizzying range of options, and terms like “pronation”, “supination”, “motion-control”, as well as each brand’s own jargon, and it can all be a little intimidating. In today’s video, I’m joined by Geoff Batcheller-Adams, who is an expert on the technical aspects of running shoes, and also a biokineticist with some clinical experience, so he’s perfectly placed to advise you on the choices you should make.
To complement what he talks about in the video, I want to emphasize a few points:
- This is not an exact science. If you threw 20 experts into a room and asked them to recommend shoes, you’d get general agreement, but a real lack of “precision” and specifics. There’s not even perfect agreement over things like pronation and risk of injury, so “rules of thumb” might not work for YOU as an individual.Therefore, what Geoff and I talk about are guidelines and principles, but they’re not hard and fast rules. Think of buying your shoe as exploring – use our advice as a map, but still be open to looking off the traditional path, and trusting your “feel”.
- Don’t overvalue the shoe. It’s important, but the training programme is more important for performance and injury. Strength is more important. Flexibility is crucial. There’s a package of things, and even the perfect shoe is not enough to overcome problems in those other areas.
- If it feels wrong in the store, it probably is. For all the science and biomechanics, comfort remains king. That’s why the best thing you can do is to try a shoe, walk in it, run in it if you can, and if it feels perfect, then go for it. If it doesn’t – maybe it feels too stiff, maybe too flexible. Perhaps you sense that it’s too narrow, or that your foot is unstable. Maybe it is too rigid.If any of those apply, don’t risk it – if that’s what you sense in the first step, imagine how much more it might be after 18km or 50km of running. Comfort, comfort, comfort, is the name of the game!
Once you’ve bought your shoe, try to walk it in. Wear it around the house, for normal everyday tasks, for at least a week, if you can, and then run in it. The stiffness of a new shoe can be a problem, especially if you’re used to running in a well-worn shoe.
Other than that, don’t overthink it! I hope you’re enjoying the start of the programme, feeling confident, and now that you have your “wheels”, you can kick on into the building phase of training! – Ross Tucker