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How do I know which running shoe is right for me?

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How do I know which running shoe is right for me?

by Steve Manning

After trying what seems like every brand available, you finally find a shoe that works.  Six months later when you are ready to buy again, you stick to what you know. Perhaps you don’t even bother trying them on.  You know the size, so you feel you can just buy them.

There are a number of reasons why this story can end in heartache and injury.  While you might wonder why you should change what works, there are four good reasons why you should at least explore the possibility of something new each time you buy a new pair of shoes.


#1  Shoe updates

Companies are driven to change the look and feel of their shoes.  This drives the introduction of new technologies that can change the fit and feel of the shoe. The materials in the uppers or the structure of the midsole that curves around your foot can create changes that make your foot feel different and possibly even work differently as you run.  Even the best shoe you have ever worn may be superseded by a better model in another brand. Do not keep buying the same shoe just because it had worked well without trying on some other shoes for comparison. You may still go back to the same shoe but you should at least try some others.


#2  Running in the same movement pattern

If you have that the same shoe three or four times then you may be at a greater risk of getting chronic injuries.  If your foot keeps going the same way for years then this consistent movement may lead to degeneration of the part under greatest stress due to basic wear and tear.  If you modify the stress then it will give the joints and bones a chance to recover while developing greater strength in the whole system. The best way of doing this is to have two different types of shoes going at the same time.  One should be a little lighter and more flexible than the other. It can be used for speed work and races. Buy them at different times so that one is older than the other.


#3  Brand loyalty

Brand loyalty can get you into trouble.  Just because one model in a brand has worked for you does not mean that any model in that brand will do.  Each brand has a range of shoes with different types of fit, design and support. Finding the right shoe is about learning what type of foot you have and which features in a shoe are needed.  From there you try on the shoe in each brand which has these features. After eliminating the ones which do not fit, have a run in the others and pick the one that works best to support your feet.  

The goal is to get the best shoes that are available each time.  It may be one brand one time and another brand the next.


#4  Your foot structure can change

Shoes are not the only thing that can change.  Your foot is dynamic. It changes its structure and function based on the stress put on it.  Excessive stress will lead to breakdown and the foot can flatten as ligaments are stretched beyond their limits.  After an injury, muscles can stop working properly and completely change the way your foot moves. This can be caused by overtraining or by footwear that is too old or inappropriate. The result is your foot can grow a size in a few months or suddenly need a different shoe because you keep slapping in your old ones.

The same changes may be for positive reasons as your foot adapts to optimal training loads.  As your feet change to cope with the greater training they may grow as a normal process of getting stronger and better able to handle the increased training.  Slapping may occur because as your leg muscles get stronger they no longer have to rely on the shoe for support, and you may switch from heel striking to mid-foot striking.  An excessively stable shoe will then become too stiff for you to roll smoothly through from the heel to toe.


Just because you’ve never had any problems before does not protect you in the future if you change nothing.  There can be an accumulation of stress over many years that finally becomes too much. This is especially true because as we age we take longer to recover from stress.  An unfortunate aspect of age is that the bits we want to stop growing like our ears, noses and feet keep getting bigger while the bits we wish we could grow to get smaller.  Twenty years ago I wore a size nine shoe and now I am easily in an 11.


While I was a lot faster 30 years ago that is not the only thing that has changed.  I have niggling injuries that I now have to manage. I am heavier and not much of that is muscle. I am busier and cannot sleep all morning after my long runs like I used to. I am required by my kids to play, and the non -running related injuries have increased.  This has all meant a change in my training regime as well as a change in the type of shoe I wear most.


Finding the best shoe for you each time is a complicated process.  It is about creating a footwear history of what works for you and not just finding one shoe forever.  Even if you think about what works, spend a bit more time choosing your shoes. If you do this each time then you will be less likely to be caught out with the wrong shoe that will cause injury.  

Our running team at intraining know and love their running shoes.  They will take you through the process to check if your shoe is still right or if you need to consider something new.  

Join for a FREE shoe check with computerized technology and get the chance to participate in Wear test night with BROOKS! All together this coming Thursday 11 April 2019 at intraining Running Centre. 

UQ Twilight Run 2019 registration is still on… Enter now!


Come and see us for your next pair of shoes!

We are located at 33 Park Road, Milton

Call us on 07 3367 3088


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Steve & Margot Manning

Steve Manning has worked at the store since its beginning and became the owner in September 1990.
Steve’s wife Margot, has since joined the business. Together they work to create opportunities for athletes of all abilities to pursue their running goals and to establish and maintain a healthy balance of sport, health and work in their lifestyle.