How To Find Running Shoes For Your Lifestyle

Regardless of why you run, be it fun, fitness, challenge or any combination of these, the right shoes will be the first port of call to keep you safe and protected from injuries. The right pair of shoes will fit you correctly right from the start and will provide a solid foundation for a safe and productive run.

lady running in the mountains

How much cushioning do you need?

Cushioning refers to the amount of thickness that a shoe offers to absorb the impact of running. The midsole is the control console of the foot, so the cushioning in that area matters a lot. The firmness of the foam that is used will also make a difference, as it will affect how much your foot may or may not bend in the natural running motion.

Your gait will also play a role in determining not only how much, but what kind of cushioning you will need. If you are unsure, you can pop into any of the Asics stores in Australia – they will be able to do a gait assessment for you and help you decide what shoe to pick, based on your results. Gait refers to how you pronate – the natural inward or outward rolling of your foot while it is in motion. Neither overpronation nor underpronation should be seen as being “a big deal” – it just is. Knowing how you pronate can go a long way in helping you to determine what kind of shoes you need to buy. Whether you need something with edge support or arch support, the actual difference can only be made once you know what you are working with.

If your foot rolls inwards or outwards, it is neither right nor wrong – it is simply a matter of choosing the right shoes for your type of pronation.

Figure out what type of shoe you need

If you are a regular morning sidewalk runner, you will get the greatest benefit out of road running shoes, which are designed for absorbing the impact from hard surfaces without many irregularities – in other words, shoes that work best on a predictable surface. They are often lightweight and have a good range of flexibility, and come with smoother, flatter soles to accommodate running on a flat, predictable surface. Because there is still a huge amount of impact that is generated by running on tarred or paved surfaces, it is vital that you end up with a pair of shoes that can withstand the impacts of such terrain.

If you prefer off-road running, you will need shoes that don’t shy away from rocks and roots, sand and mud. If this sounds like you, you will need trail running shoes. The lugs, which are the bumps on the sole that help with grip and traction, are larger and more pronounced, and some types even come with built-in sole plates to protect your feet from large thorns sticking through the bottom of your feet! As a rule, the midsole section of trail running shoes tends to be stiffer and offer a lot of support on uneven terrain.

What is the drop?

Drop refers to the amount of cushioning that causes a significant difference in height between the heel and the toe sections of the shoe. Drop is measured in mm, and it matters because it will affect the angle at which your foot hits the ground. Any of the Asics stores in AU will be glad to help you if you don’t understand this concept. In a zero-drop shoe, the heel and the toe are at the same level thanks to equal cushioning heights. Shoes with a low drop encourage the foot to strike at the midfoot, which is believed to put the foot’s anatomy through less physical stress than a heel strike. It is also a matter of comfort though, so if your shoes make you feel like you are standing on your toes, you might want to look for something with less of a drop, and a flatter standing surface in general. The current theory is that shoes with less of a drop encourage midfoot impact, which is better for the overall wellbeing of the foot.

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