Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Buying Running Shoes

People who are new to running often ask me for tips.  It begins with the right footwear.  Here are some suggestions for getting the right shoes:

GO TO A RUNNING STORE - Not Foot Locker, Sport Chalet or REI.  Go to a specialy running store like Fleet Feet.  Here are some shops in the Sacramento area:

Fleet Feet Sacramento   Fleet Feet Fair Oaks & Roseville   The Running Zone (Elk Grove)

GET FITTED - Have them measure your foot.  Often running shoes are a different size than you what you wear to work - usually larger, sometimes even a full size.  Width is also important.

Also, they will look at your gait.  Our feet land a little differently and running shoes are made to deal with that.  For example, I overpronate (my foot rolls inward).  My shoes have a harder material on the inside of the sole to arrest the movement and help prevent inury.

CHOOSE YOUR CUSHION - The amount of cushioning is a matter of taste.  Most beginning runners like lots of nice, soft cushion under their feet.  Some more advanced runners eschew this luxury in favor of a lighter shoe.

LOOKS AREN'T ANYTHING - The absolute least important thing about a running shoe is what it looks like.  Get a shoe that's appropriate for your gait and fits your perfectly.  If they happen to make that in your favorite color, great.  Just don't buy a shoe based on looks.

TRY 'EM OUT - While you're at the store, go outside and jog up and down the sidewalk a little.  This is totally acceptable when buying running shoes.  Once you pick a pair, come home and take them for a test run.  If they're not perfect, bring them back.  Runners do this all the time, and running stores enourage it.  They want you to have shoes that fit perfectly.

DON'T WEAR 'EM OUT - Running shoes typically have a lifespan of 350 to 450 miles.  As comfortable as they'll be, you'll want to wear them all the time.  Don't waste those miles at the grocery store.  Only wear your running shoes for running.

PICK UP SOME SOCKS - While you're there, get a couple pair of good running socks.  These are made of a synthetic "wicking" material.  They keep the moisture away from your feet to prevent blisters.  They're more expensive than regular socks, but you'll only need a couple of pair.

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