In this article I would like to take a look into the topic of shoes for athletic purposes and even some everyday use. There is nothing like a good shoe, from comfort to utility there are many benefits for having a pair of good running shoes and I am going to break down some ideas and dig right into the ‘sole’ of this topic. There are a few factors that are important to keep in mind when shopping for a great shoe and depending on your style of exercise you will want to adjust your criteria for buying a pair of shoes on a case to case basis.
Ventilation – Let Your Feet Breath
One thing that most running shoe manufacturers are incorporating into their shoes now is ventilation. It is pretty obvious that running shoes need to be ventilated as runners will usually be sweaty and hot and your feet will feel much better with a shoe that is made of a type of thick mesh material that will allow superior airflow into it. Since most shoes will have some sort of ventilation you just need to decide what amount of airflow you want which could depend on your exercise routine.
For example, if you are training for track racing or just like sprinting a lot, then you will likely want your shoes to allow maximum airflow to keep your feet more cool. Otherwise, if you just want something comfortable and you just do light jogging or even just lift weight, you only need slight ventilation and might be able to save on cost in that aspect.
Pronation and Supination
Pronation and supination is something I only recently learned about but is important to integrate into your shopping when buying a pair of good running shoes. Pronation is the inward roll of the foot as someone is walking or running and is natural for most people. Supination is the outward roll of the foot as someone is walking or running and is also natural in some people.
Overpronation and underpronation can in fact cause injury depending on the severity of either one. In the case of underpronation, or supination, a person can become more susceptible to ankle injury like Achilles tendinitis, due to the fact that most of the body weight will be placed on the outer foot rather that the big toe thus putting much more unwanted pressure on the ankle.
Simply analyze your foot motion while running and try to identify if your feet roll inward or outward and to what extent. If you do have some overpronation or underpronation you should look into shoes with more padding on the shoes bottoms among other criteria. Some shoe stores have running shoe experts who are sometimes trained in spotting over or underpronation but if you do have severe pain when running then you can also see a Podiatrist to prescribe and orthopedic sole or recommend a shoe that fits your situation.
Get Some Shoe Padding
A shoe with a well-made and thick padding will make a world of difference when running. Whether you run on a treadmill or outside in the real world will affect the amount of padding you require for your shoes. Running outdoors is much more dynamic and you can be presented with various obstacles. Maybe a dog runs in front of you and must jump or quickly run around it or there could be a large crack or hole in a sidewalk or road you are running on. The more cushion and flexibility you have in these situations can greatly help you avoid injury or save the intervening dog from injury. Running on a treadmill is much less eventful of course but you will need some padding nonetheless to keep comfortable and help you run for longer.
Drop – Shoe Incline
Drop, or shoe incline, is something you can include on your ‘buying a shoe checklist’ to assist your running stride. Drop difference will pertain to the height difference in the heel area compared to the toe area and can lead to a more fluid stride. A shoe will a high drop angle can help comfort and stride when running but in some people can feel uncomfortable and you might prefer a lower drop or none at all to get a more natural running motion. If you are not sure about what drop you would like on your shoes, I would suggest going with a slight drop or none at all, but still having a good amount of cushion, or if you have the ability to test out multiple shoes, you can make a more educated decision.
Cost vs Quality
A pair of good shoes does not have to break the bank. You can find what you need for somebody on a budget but depending on the shoe, you will have to break them in and get used to them or even force them to work for you until you save up some spending money. On the other hand, a phenomenal pair of shoes will sometimes run you upwards of $100. While these shoes cost much more, they will be more well-made that cheaper options, allowing you to keep them longer without them falling apart and most likely they will be much more comfortable to wear and workout in.
If your starting budget is limited as mine was when I started working out, then you are likely to get a cheap pair of shoes initially which will likely not last as long as other shoes based on a cost to durability ratio that is apparent after using a pair of shoes for a few months. My first pair of running shoes were fairly light, which makes them easier to run in, but were made from very cheap material. This caused them to fall apart much quicker than most shoes I have used since then. After only a few months of running, my big toe started poking through the bottom of the shoe which made then ultimately useless after that and it forced me to buy a new pair.
Fortunately, I had saved up some money so I took my time and shopped around for the best options and put in some research hours in finding the most important features to have in a pair of good running shoes which I have shared with you in the information above.
Gotta Go Faster
There you have it, those are my shoe buying parameters I have incorporated when shopping for a pair of the best running shoes possible. Padding, ventilation and cost will greatly narrow down your list of shoes to buy. If you have some extra money to spend, you can adjust drop and even examine your stride to add more complexity to your shoe and comfort level with more or less drop and also orthopedic inserts.
Please let me know what shoes you go with and how they work for you and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to help you out.