Selection and care of Running Shoes
#1. Be prepared to spend at least 30 minutes in selecting your running
#2. Do not take a friend's advice, as what works for them may not
be right for you.
#3. Bring your current pair of running shoes and a pair of your
#4. Make sure you get a salesperson who asks you about your running,
including such things as goals, mileage, terrain, past or current
injuries, and chronic problem areas. Try to get a salesperson that
is a runner him or herself.
#5. Your salesperson should watch you run in a neutral pair of
shoes to determine your specific foot function and biomechanics,
and make recommendations based on their observations.
#6. Then the salesperson should watch you in the recommended shoes
to verify the correctness of each model for you.
#7. Running shoes are designed with specific features that are
intended to work for certain foot functions (floppy, rigid, etc).
Remember that foot function is not the same as foot type. For instance,
just having a flat foot (fallen arches) does not indicate that you
have a "floppy" foot that rolls inward excessively and,
therefore, needs a motion control shoe (this is a common misunderstanding
that we often encounter).
#8. The fit should be comfortable - meaning snug but not tight.
There should be a little play or room in the forefoot. When standing,
allow about a thumb's width between your toes and the end of the
shoe. There is no consistency to running shoe sizing. In general,
you'll tend to need a larger size than your dress shoe size. It
is okay for women to wear men's shoes and men women's if it helps
you get a better fit (as a general rule, there is a size and a half
difference, so, for example, an 11 women's would be a men's 9).
#9. In sum, the two equally important variables in shoe selection
are that the shoe fits your foot well AND is appropriate for your
#10. As a general rule try on at least a couple of different models
#11. Don't write off a shoe company because one of their models
didn't work for you.
#12. Tune out the advertising hype. Shoe enhancers (air, gel, etc)
should be viewed as icing on the cake. They can't make a poorly
designed or manufactured shoe good all on their own, and, if the
shoe is well designed and manufactured it would be good even without
#13. Never let cosmetics be a significant factor in your decision.
#14. The cushioning in a running shoe lasts, on average, 400 to
600 miles. However, the shoes will have a progressive breakdown
over time whether being used or not. Your body and feet will let
you know when the shoe is no longer providing the cushion and support
#15. If you absolutely, positively feel compelled to wash your
running shoes, DO NOT immerse them in water. Use a damp cloth or
an old toothbrush and let them air-dry naturally.
#16. KEEP RUNNING SHOES AWAY FROM HEAT SOURCES. Do not put them
in dryers, on radiators or heating vents, nuke them in the microwave
or bake them at 350. Do not leave them in your car or out in the
direct sunlight in hot weather. Heat will dry out your cushioning
materials prematurely and can cause the shoe to separate by hardening
the glues that hold it together.
#17. Do not let the outer sole wear through to the midsole material.
If you notice the outer sole wearing down, use a urethane type product
like Freesole, Shoe Goo, or Eternal Sole to extend the life of the
outer sole until you've reached the 400-600 mile range of effective
midsole cushioning (see #14).
#18. Remember, the most expensive shoe purchase you can make is
the one where you buy a pair that does not fit properly and/or is
not right for your foot function.
(Article written by longtime Phidippides
employee and contributor to the book "Breakthrough Running"
- Kirk Larsen)
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