The right running shoe can mean the difference between achieving a personal best or limping over the finish line. Make sure you know what to look for before lacing up.
Proper running shoes will protect your body against the impact of more than twice your body weight when your feet hit the ground. They provide essential cushioning to prevent injury and pain and the right fit is key.
The first question to ask before you buy a new pair of running shoes is, what kind of feet do you have? If you have very flat feet, you may find that your foot or ankle rolls inwards when you run. This is called overpronation – and if it happens to you, you’ll need to look for a stability or support shoe. Men or women who overpronate should try out the Nike Zoom Structure Shoe (RSP R1 799).
If you have very high arches, you may have the opposite problem, where your foot or ankle rolls outwards. This is called supination. If you have a high or normal arch you’ll need to look for a cushioning shoe.
Next, consider each part of your feet.
Take a pair of socks with you when you try on running shoes. Your heel should be snug in the shoe and it shouldn’t slip in and out when laced up.
Leave a thumb width space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Your toes should be able to move up and down freely.
This is the top part of the foot that is covered by breathable mesh material and the laces. It should feel secure and snug, but not tight or uncomfortable. Getting the right feel could come down to how you lace the shoe.
The entire width of your foot should fit easily on the base of the shoe.
Press the toe of the shoe into the floor and see where it creases. This is called the flex point. You’ll want a shoe where the flex point matches that of your foot.
For beginners, take a look at the Asics Patriot 8 Shoe for ladies (RSP R799) and the Asics Gel Essent 2 Shoe for guys (RSP R899). If a lightweight running shoe is what you’re after, check out the Nike Flex Natural Running Shoe for ladies (RSP R1 099) and the adidas Pure Boost ZG Prime Shoe for men (RSP R1 799).
Remember, your feet swell during the day and when you run so try on shoes later in the day to get a better fit. And, if anything about the shoe is even a little bit irritating in the store, be assured it will be much worse on the road.
GET THE RIGHT SHOES!
Test out your running shoes – and support a good cause at the RCS Gugulethu Reconciliation Day Race on 16 December. Entries are available for the 4km or 10km events at entrytime.com. Remember, your RCS Card gives you access to the RCS shopping network of over 21 000 retailers, including South Africa’s leading sportswear brands.