If you want to get into running, the right shoes are absolutely necessary. Running shoes are significantly different from conventional “lifestyle” shoes - and for good reason. Running is a strenuous activity, more so for beginners than for more seasoned runners. As such, it is very easy to get started running with an improper technique, increasing the chance of pain and injury. This, combined with improper footwear, can easily snowball into a bigger problem involving your whole body.
Proper running shoes will not only help you acclimatise to the stresses of running but will also prevent you from hurting yourself through improper technique. Therefore, running shoes are necessary for beginners too, and not only for athletes and professionals.
Where Will You Be Running?
Running shoes are customised to perform their best on select surfaces. Road-running shoes are designed to be worn on hard, packed surfaces and provide shock absorption to your feet by employing a thick cushioned sole. Trail or off road shoes are designed for running on dirt and gravel and have deep treads to provide maximum traction. These do not have thick soles because not much cushioning is needed on natural surfaces.
How Do You Run?
Improper technique plagues everybody, but continued running with bad technique may lead to lasting damage for your feet. Take a well-used pair of shoes; notice the wear pattern on the insole to get an idea on how you tread and how your foot makes contact with the ground. You may even contact a physiotherapist for advice on this regard. Go for a shoe with corrective features to suit your running style and learn proper techniques from a gym or a physical trainer.
Know Your Foot Shape
In addition to size, your foot also has a unique shape and the shoe you choose must adhere to it as closely as possible. Many brands offer shoes that are tailored for various foot shapes to accommodate people with different stride patterns. Shop around for these brands if possible. A shoe that fits your foot might not feel that different when you try them on in a showroom but they will make a world of difference when you are out running.
Buy A Shoe A Half Size Up
Running shoes typically need to be a half size bigger than what you usually wear. This is because running is a strenuous and fast activity and your toes need some wiggle room to breathe properly. A snugly fit shoe might feel comfortable when you are standing or walking but it will become uncomfortable while running.
Try Barefoot Shoes
If you are willing to try something new and unconventional, many manufacturers have come up with barefoot shoes, intended to be as minimalistic as possible while still offering you reasonable protection and cushioning. These are certainly not recommended for people recovering from foot injuries but it might be something you are interested in trying out before you splurge on a full-fledged running shoe.