By Hyim Baronofsky, DPM
Do you buy your running shoes based on appearance or whether they match your workout clothing? Well it is time to stop! The biggest mistake most people make when selecting running shoes is selecting a shoe based on color. Every pair of running shoes is designed by the manufacturer with a specific foot type and activity in mind. In order to find the shoes that will best suit you and your athletic routine, you should educate yourself about your feet and your sport.
Here are some things you should know prior to purchasing running shoes:
- What is your foot structure? Do you have a high, medium or low arch?
- How does your foot function? Does your foot have little motion or lots of motion? Does your foot over-pronate?
- How are you going to use the shoe? Long distance running? Jogging? Aerobics class?
- On what type of surface will you be exercising? Track? Trails? Pavement?
Your answers to the questions above will allow you to assess each of the following shoe characteristics to best suit your foot and sport.
Shoes come in three shapes: straight, semi-curved and curved. A straight shape is more suitable for a person with a lower arch who tends to over-pronate. Whereas, a curved shape is better for a high arched individuals who do not have much pronation/motion.
Shoe soles have either small or large squares. The smaller squares function best on grass and dirt surfaces. Larger squares are recommended for tracks and asphalt.
Nylon is the most common material and is extremely flexible for all foot types. Leather is sturdier but not as flexible and is less suitable for varying weather conditions.
If you’re still trying to figure out which running shoe is best for you, or if you’ve had trouble in the past with running shoe gear, most podiatric physicians and surgeons are trained and capable in helping evaluate your biomechanics and identify the proper shoe for you. Beware of stores that offer gait analysis. Some of these stores have certified pedorthists on site, but many of the sale representatives do not have extensive training and education.
Hyim Baronofsky, DPM, is a board-qualified Podiatric Surgeon on staff at Northwest Community Healthcare Medical Group. He currently has offices in Mt. Prospect and Arlington Heights, and is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Baronofsky, call NCH HealthConnection at 847.618.4YOU, or visit NCHMedicalGroup.com.