Your Guide to Running Shoes

Anyone who wants to get the most out of their running is looking for the best running shoe. In this blog, one of our podiatrists Joe, discusses the features you should be looking for to get the most out of your running shoes.

1. Comfort

The shoe needs to be comfortable to wear straight away. Some fall into the trap of thinking that the shoe will get more comfortable over time. Although there is a slight element of truth to this, it should not dictate which shoe to buy. Most running shoes will have a mesh upper, which can conform to the foot, however, it is safe to purchase the shoes which you feel you could begin running in straight away.
A man and woman wearing comfortable running shoes standing on the sand
Brannock device for fitting shoes

2. Fit

A snug fit is what you should aim for in this department. Too tight will constrict the space between the metatarsal bones, and too loose will cause toe clawing for stabilisation, both leading to a number of soft tissue injuries. A thumb’s width from the end of the toe to the end of the shoe is ideal. Some firmness across the front of the foot is okay as long as you are able to pinch loose material above the forefoot.

3. Supportive Vs Neutral

The big four running brands (Asics, Brooks, Mizuno, New Balance) all offer a line of supportive runners, and a line of neutral runners.

Typically, the neutral shoe is designed for a neutral or high arched foot type. A supportive shoe is designed for a flat foot.

If you have orthotics, it is best to use them in a neutral shoe. This allows the orthotics facilitate the required functional correction and prevents instability.

A pair of Asics trainers
A pair of Asics Running Shoes

4. Shoe Last

This refers to two elements of the shoe. The first is the shape of the shoe, or the template that the shoe was made around. And the second is the method in which the upper is binded to the midsole.

Typically curved lasted shoes are designed for a high arched/rigid foot type, and straight lasted shoes are designed for flat feet. Most shoes are a mix of both (semi-curved last) and are suitable for most foot types.

5. Heel pitch

Most running shoes will have a heel drop/heel pitch of around 10mm, and it is a safe bet to stick to this amount.

If you would like to try running in low-profile or minimalist footwear, consulting a Podiatrist is advised to ensure you are not at risk of injury from using a low-pitch shoe.

A running shoe showing the pitch
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