When you think controversial issues, you would think of euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage, but, certainly not shoes. In the running world, shoes have caused such a stir, who would have thought that. The Barefoot debate has been an ongoing battle between the multibillion shoe industry and researchers who have pointed out that there is no evidence that good running shoes prevent injury. Researchers have alleged that the multibillion shoe industry is based not on a campaign of facts, but a campaign of fear – fear that if you did not get a pair of branded trainers, you would ruin your knees.
Here we take a neutral stand. Should you take the side of the Shoe Industry, there are some significant things to know about shoes before purchasing one. How do you choose your shoes? Do you just pick the pink one because pink is your favourite colour? Do you just pick the most expensive one because you think the more expensive the better? Or maybe you would just run to the shop and buy that shoe your friend told you is the perfect shoe – from first-hand experience. Choosing the perfect shoe for you is actually a fine art, that all should learn.
Firstly, we have to bear in mind, there is no perfect shoe. We all have different feet, and no two feet are the same. Hence, the perfect fit for someone else might not fit you the same. It’s like relationships really. The ideal girl for Ben, isn’t necessarily your kind of wife-material.
The first step is always to get to know the type of shoes available on the market. Here, we distinguish the shoes into 3 main categories – Stability, Performance and Neutral.
Footwear that highlights this stability factor incorporates cushioning and support features into the shoe. This type of shoe is suitable for neutral/mild/moderate over-pronators. Runner with low to neutral arches tend to be neutral/mild/moderate over-pronators. These runners will require a combination of good support and midsole cushioning which stability shoes offer.
These shoes are recommended for race training. Performance shoes are generally neutrally cushioned with without any added support. They are lighter and narrower than the standard running shoes that boost stability. These shoes are suitable for people with neutral arches. It provides some support but is lighter, hence giving you a faster feel.
These shoes have maximum cushioning but minimal support. High and neutral arches suit this type of shoe best. This is because High arches are likely to be under-pronators or supinators. Due to the height of your arch, when running, your arch does not collapse sufficiently to absorb shock which will cause the shock to travel up your legs instead. A neutral shoe with minimal support at the mid area will encourage pronation.
Now knowing the type of shoes in the market, you would need to determine the type of your foot. This can be easily performed using a Wet Test. Basically what you do is dip your foot into a shallow pan of water, and step onto a dry piece of paper. Your footprint will form and you can determine whether you have a low, neutral or high arch by matching them with the footprints below.
For the neutral arch, you could wear just about any shoe but it would be best to get a shoe that highlights stability. For the flat footed, your arch will collapse inwards too much. It would be best to get a stability shoe. As for the high arched, stability shoes are a no-go. Stability shoes will restrict much needed movement for the high-arched supinator. Neutral shoes would be a perfect fit for the high-arched.
This is buying running shoes 101. Now, you know what shoes to stay away from.
Written By: Melissa Lim
More about the writer: www.road2irongirl.blogspot.com