A runner’s feet pound the ground an average of 1,500 times per mile — making shoes a runner’s most important piece of gear. Selecting the proper shoe from among the available variety, and the marketing hype, is a challenge for new and seasoned runners.
A good first step
Start by identifying individual factors such as foot type (flat, medium or high arch), body build, average mileage, and terrain. A straightforward self-assessment tool is the Shoe Dog feature available at the Road Runner Sports Web site: It “fetches” suitable shoe styles based upon answers to multiple choice questions. One benefit is the recommended shoe types, e.g., stability, motion control, neutral, cushioned, are terms of general use across shoe manufacturers and retailers — so once you’re identified as needing a “neutral” shoe, you can use that information to select shoes at other sites or stores.
Specialty running shops provide assessments and suggestions from on-staff runners, typically people with experience on the road and testing gear. Some stores, such as Urban Athletics, offer gait analysis where a staff member observes a runner’s feet in movement to determine appropriate shoe suggestions. Runner’s High in Jersey City, Fleet Feet in Hoboken, and the New Balance store in Hasbrouck Heights are staffed by experienced and knowledgeable runners.
Don’t run in old shoes!
The rule of thumb is replace running shoes every 300-400 miles. Two additional good tips are: 1. keep a log and track your mileage on your shoes; and 2. mark the date you start using them on the side of the shoe or inside tongue. Signs that your shoes may be too old include:
- Loss of cushioning or the shoe feels flat
- Creases in the midsole of the shoe (the part between the sole and the upper)
- Aches and pains during or after your run
BTW, if you’re looking for a great home for your old shoes, check out Give Your Sole. They seek to provide less fortunate men, women and children with your gently used shoes.