The very first step before you take that first running step is to make sure you have proper sneakers. Take it from me; shoe warehouses are a great place for discounted shoes, but not a smart idea for running shoes unless you know exactly what you need. Before I considered myself a serious runner, I perused the sneaker isle at DWS for any shoe labeled “running”. I gravitated towards the aesthetically appealing because I didn’t know any better. Eventually that ignorance was worn down by plantar fasciitis and by the time I ran my first half marathon I was professionally fitted for running shoes.
Why should you be professionally fitted? Chances are you don’t know your feet very well. You can have a high arch, normal arch, or flat arch. Your running style is closely related to your arches.- pronation (neutral), overpronation, supination. The following descriptions are provided by REI.com (http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/running-shoes.html).
Pronation is the foot’s natural inward roll following a heel strike. Basic (neutral) pronation helps absorb impact, relieving pressure on knees and joints. It is a normal trait of neutral, biomechanically efficient runners.
Overpronation is an exaggerated form of the foot’s natural inward roll. It is a common trait that affects the majority of runners, leaving them at risk of knee pain and injury. Overpronators need stability or motion control shoes.
Supination (also called under-pronation) is an outward rolling of the foot resulting in insufficient impact reduction at landing. Relatively few runners supinate, but those who do need shoes with plenty of cushioning and flexibility.
An expert at your local running store can watch you walk/run and determine your style. I am borderline neutral-overpronator. The first couple of times I was fitted at the Runner’s Edge (Boca Raton, FL), it was determined I could wear shoes meant for the neutral runner. Based on comfort, I chose the Nike Pegasus to which I am deeply attached. While at Marathon Sports (Boston), it was decided I should try the Ravenna by Brooks because I run slightly knock-kneed. The Ravenna’s offer more support in the arches, which in turn will stables my knees. I’m so on the cusp of neutral and overpronation that two people had to analyze my running style. I could have stayed with the Nike’s but because I feel the onset of runner’s knee, I decided to try the Ravennas. New shoes will always take some getting used to but, don’t worry, you’ll come to love your newly, appropriately fitting shoes.
One other point you should consider when purchasing running shoes is to buy them a half size bigger than normal. Your toes will have plenty of room to wiggle and will avoid cracking under the pressure of being smooshed at the top of the shoe. Hello gorgeous toenails! I usually wear an 8 ½. I tried a 9 in the Ravenna and my world has been changed! I ran half marathons and a full marathon in shoes that apparently were too small. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now that I can feel the difference, I will be sticking to the ½ size larger rule.
I highly recommend these three stores based on personal experience.
The Runner’s Edge (Boca Raton, FL) – http://www.runnersedgeboca.com/
Running Wild (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – http://www.runningwild.com/
Marathon Sports (multiple locations in Massachusetts)- http://www.marathonsports.com/
What are you waiting for? Find your local running store and get properly fitted. You’re life will be changed!