‘Running is one of the simplest of sports, you just throw on a pair of trainers and run.’
Although one of the most accessible ways of training, runners know that this instruction isn’t as simple as it first appears (nor does it cover the complexities of race nutrition, cross-training etc.).
Talk to a group of runners about what kind of trainers they wear and you’ll get an idea of the many different types of running shoe and the choices you need to consider – stability vs neutral, cushioned vs minimalist and trail vs road. A good pair of running shoes can make the world of difference in your training, helping you avoid injury as you pound the pavement (or trail) whilst you work towards a new challenge.
First up, get your gait tested. This normally involves going to a running store such as ‘Sweatshop’ and ‘Runner’s Need’ where they will put you on a treadmill for a short period of time (a minute max, you won’t be running for hours!) whilst watching and/or filming you. They will be checking to see which part of your foot lands first and, when you do, if your foot rolls or ‘overpronates’. Over-pronation, if ignored, can lead to excess strain on your knees, hips and ankles which can also result in injury.
If you do, there are various shoes that will correct it for you. Shoes range from neutral (for the non-pronators), guidance, stability and all the way up to control shoe. Once you know how much you pronate, you can figure out what type of shoe works for you.
WWWUK TRUSTED RUNNING SHOE – BROOKS GLYCERINE
The next step is how cushioned you want your shoes to be. Personally, I feel that because running is such a high-impact pastime, more cushioning is always going to be better – particularly if you’re running long distance. Like the varying types of support, running brands also have varying levels of cushioning (normally a higher cushioned shoe is more expensive). When buying a new pair of shoes, consider what your goals are and how far you intend to run at one time. All shoes are guaranteed for 400 miles, but if you’re heading out to do some longer runs (half-marathon and up) a high-level cushioned shoe will be your friend. A lot of the WWWUK crew are currently running in the Brooks Glycerin, a really cushioned neutral shoe which has proven a hit with pretty much everyone who has worn them! But if you’re more of an Asics person, the Nimbus has a similar cushioning level, as does the Saucony Triumph.
You can also opt for a minimal shoe that has the bonus of being a lot lighter (and cheaper) so may be better for shorter runs where time is of the essence. Check out Mizuno for some nicely structured, light shoes.
These are the two most important parts of choosing a road running shoe, colour should come at the bottom of the list. Many people have a preferred brand of shoe which works best for them – I’m a Brooks runner, their shoes are slightly square in the toe and are better for a wider foot. If you’re looking for a narrower fit, have a look at Asics. Saucony and Mizuno are both brands that I would also highly recommend.
Finally, if you’re looking for a non-road shoe, perhaps for an OCR or a trail run, you may want shoes with a bit of grip. When running off-road, stability is less of an issue as you don’t want a rigid shoe that’s going to prevent your ankles for stabilising on uneven terrain. There are also varying levels of tread (the bottom of the shoe sticks out more, making you less likely to slip). If you’re running through moorland or perhaps a really muddy run, try pair of Mudclaws from Inov8, if you’re more likely to stick to the woodland trail or the Heath, a trail shoe from Salomon or even a hybrid shoe (brands such as Brooks, Adidas and Asics do a minimal trail shoe). Be realistic with your terrain, if you take a trail shoe like the Mudclaw on roads, their tread will wear down quickly and you’ll have to replace them a lot quicker.
I know that buying the right shoe can be a little daunting, but I can’t stress enough how much the right shoe can change the way you train and how important it is to make investment. A specialised shop will be able to provide you with all the guidance you need to make an informed choice. If you want any more advice, feel free to ask me (Daisy) during a training session or drop me a message.
Good luck and happy running!