Guide to Buying Running Shoes

by | May 18, 2017

Many residents in our Ebensburg community stay active in a variety of different ways. One of the more popular forms of exercise, whether here or just about anywhere else, is running. If you are a local runner, you probably realize we have a great resource in town in the form of UP-N-RUNNING Specialty Running & Walking Center.

Sure, you can go to UNR when you need to buy running shoes, but they also organize group runs – which means you don’t have to train on your own if you don’t want to! Running with a group can help keep you accountable, especially on those days when your “get up and go” has “got up and gone.”

This particular exercise is a fantastic way to burn calories, improve your cardiovascular conditioning, and relieve stress. Of course, as with any physical activity, there’s a certain degree of injury risk. You can reduce your risk of injury while running by making sure you have the right running shoes. Here are some quick tips when you need to pick up some new footwear:

  1. Go to a store that caters to runners. Going to a non-specialized store for running shoes is a lot like taking your car to a “quick service oil change” place for extensive brake work. Sure, it’s possible to come across someone who is knowledgeable and actually able to help, but the odds aren’t too great. In the same way you’re better off going to a full-service mechanic in the first place, buy your running shoes at a store—like UP-N-RUNNING, for example—where employees actually know about which shoes will work best for your unique feet and pronation pattern.
  2. Go shopping later in the day. Everyone knows “the early bird gets the worm,” but the early bird shouldn’t go shopping for shoes right after getting that worm. You probably don’t realize this, but your feet swell during the course of the day. As such, they’re bigger at night. You need shoes that fit well—not too tight—during all hours, so buy your running footwear later in the day.
  3. Find shoe models that work with your particular pronation style. Generally, there are three different pronation patterns – normal, overpronation, and supination. These relate to how much (or little) your foot rotates during the ground portion of a step. Shoe manufacturers develop specific kinds of shoes that are best for each pronation style. In the case of a normal pronation, you can wear a wide variety of styles. Overpronators need shoes that offer motion-control features for enhanced stability. Underpronators (supinators) need extra cushioning. Not sure which pronation pattern you have? Our foot experts can help! Come see us and we can identify your style and provide specific running shoe recommendations for you.
  4. Choose well-constructed models. Regardless as to your pronation pattern, you want to buy durable shoes that offer features like robust arch support, shock absorption, and an outsole that will hold up over time.
  5. Don’t rely on the printed size. It’s a common mistake to simply go by the size listed on the label or, worse, the box (since customers may have accidentally placed the wrong shoes back in them while trying on several pairs). The problem with this is not all shoe manufacturers’ sizes are the same. A size-10 for one brand could easily be a 9 ½ or 10 ½ for another’s. The indicated size should only be viewed as a guideline so you know which pairs are worth trying on.
  6. Try on both shoes. You might not be aware of this, but your feet aren’t the same exact size – one is bigger than the other. This means you run the risk of trying on a shoe that fits your smaller foot properly, but the other shoe will then be too small for your bigger foot. Instead, have both of your feet measured, and then buy a pair of running shoes that fit to the bigger foot. Even better – just take the time to try on both shoes.
  7. Bring your running socks with you. When you buy shoes, athletic or otherwise, you should always make sure you bring the socks you plan on wearing with the shoes. Dress socks are generally thinner than running socks (which have more cushioning), and this affects the fit of the shoes.
  8. Make sure your orthotics fit. Orthotics are customized to your feet, so we know they fit in that regard, but make sure your running shoes have room for them (if you have some). These valuable medical devices are intended to improve your foot function and keep you safe from serious issues, so you should always use them when running. It’s a problem if your shoes are too tight with your orthotics in or too small to accommodate them.

To sum this up, buy your running shoes in the late afternoon or early evening, and only use the printed size as a general guideline (not a set-in-stone rule). Always try on both shoes to ensure proper fit, especially as you are wearing your running socks and placing your orthotics inside.

Our hope is that you will be able to stay safe while starting—or continuing—your running program. The choices you make with running shoes are certainly a starting point, but make sure you take measures like easing into running and always warming up first to reduce your risk of injury. In the event you do sustain a foot or ankle injury, come in and see Premier Podiatry Group. Even something that seems to be minor can become a big problem if left untreated.

For more information on keeping your lower limbs safe while running, or to request an appointment with our Ebensburg, PA office, either contact us online or call (814) 472-2660 and we will be glad to help!