Spring is just around the corner (it officially begins on 20 March), and the mild weather will undoubtedly encourage many people to head outside for a run, boosting their physical and mental wellbeing. Running has clear health benefits, not least for your feet. Run often and they’re likely to become stronger and suppler, as well as develop better circulation.
Of course, whether you’re pounding the pavements or zipping through the park, your choice of footwear is crucial. Wearing badly fitting or poorly designed trainers will hamper your progress and increase your risk of pain and injury. To ensure that your feet are well protected and comfortable, you need to find the right running shoes for your needs.
Visit a Specialist Sports Shop
You can’t run well in just any old shoes. Runners require specialised footwear, and so it makes sense to visit a reputable sports shop. Look for one where you can have your feet measured properly instead of being forced to guess your size.
Don’t Be Blindsided by Big Brands
It might be tempting to buy the flashiest trainers on display, but they won’t necessarily look after your feet or perform well during a run. To safeguard your foot health, focus on form, function and fit, not fashion.
Wear Your Running Socks
Your hosiery affects the way your shoes fit and how they feel, so it’s important to wear your running socks when trying on trainers. The tops of those socks need to be higher than the backs of your running shoes to help you avoid blisters.
Another tip is to go shoe shopping in the afternoon, when your feet are most swollen.
Let Your Running Surface Influence Your Shoe Style
- Pavements: urban runners should look for well-cushioned running shoes, as shock absorption is vital when your feet are repeatedly striking an unforgiving surface. What’s more, springy cushioning helps to propel you onwards.
- Grass: in parks and similar areas, the ground is often uneven. Supportive running shoes with firm uppers and good grip will keep your feet and ankles stable.
- Trails: cross country runs demand robust trainers with chunky, cleated soles. They’ll offer excellent protection when underfoot conditions are challenging.
Look for Breathable Materials
Intense physical activity makes your feet sweat much more than usual. To keep them cool, choose running shoes made from ‘breathable’ materials such as leather and nylon mesh.
Water-resistant uppers will help you to cope with the unpredictable British weather!
Try the Flexibility Test
Trainers shouldn’t be totally rigid; otherwise they’ll impede the natural motion of your feet. A well-designed shoe will bend a little in the area where the ball of your foot sits.
Consider Your Need for Speed
If you’re keen to run faster, you may benefit from running shoes with a low heel-to-toe drop (i.e. those in which your heels only sit about 4-8mm higher than your toes). They reduce the time it takes for your midfoot to strike the ground after your heel, making your running style smoother and more efficient than it would be in trainers with the common 12mm drop.
However, avoid running shoes with a low drop if you’re prone to heel problems, as you’re likely to need extra cushioning around the back of the foot.
Invest in More than One Pair
Buy two pairs of running shoes in your chosen style, if possible, so that you don’t need to wear the same pair every time you run. That should help each shoe to dry out thoroughly before it’s worn again, as well as giving the cushioning the chance to regain its shape.
Make Running Shoes as Supportive as Possible
Visiting our London podiatry team for gait analysis, a state-of-the-art assessment of your walking and running style, can be invaluable. We can identify abnormalities and offer treatments to correct them, including adding custom-made orthotics to your shoes.
With our expert help, you can ensure that your trainers and other shoes are as supportive as possible, while optimising your foot function and boosting your performance as a runner.
For professional foot care for runners, please call Feet By Pody today on 0207 099 6657 or book an appointment online.