When you start running, a decent pair of running shoes is essential. Not only will it make your running more comfortable and more pleasurable, but it will also help to keep injuries at bay. However, trainers can be expensive, so knowing a few basics about what makes the perfect shoe can save you a lot of money. So, what do you need to know?
Buy Slightly Bigger Than Your Normal Shoe Size
It may be a bit counter-intuitive, but you want your running shoes to be a little bit loose. When you are running there is a lot of force going through your feet, and the shoes need a bit of give to avoid injury. Ideally, you want around a thumb width gap at the toes to allow your feet to move inside the trainers, which usually equates to around a half or full size bigger than your regular shoes.
Expensive Doesn’t Mean Better
It can be tempting to think the more you spend, the better pair you are going to get, but running shoes are a very personal choice, and expensive doesn’t always mean better. As well as this, the top of the range models target those who do some serious running, so while they might be a good bet down the line, you just won’t need the higher specs while you get started.
Ankle Support Is Crucial
If you want to avoid injury it is critical you get shoes with good ankle support. Everybody’s foot is different, so you only know what is right when you try them on. You want to find a pair where the cushioning is around the ankle bone, and without any stray threads or seams that could irritate the skin. Especially as a beginner, you will find you land slightly lob-sided from time to time while you are running. When this happens, the ankle support takes a lot of the force for you, preventing injury.
Lighter Is Not Always Better
There is a big buzz about lightweight running shoes and how they impact on performance. While lighter shoes can help you expend less energy as you run, as a new runner, you are not going to notice the difference. Besides, most lightweight trainers are for experienced runners, and so they sacrifice a bit of comfort and support for better performance. Instead of weight, concentrate on looking for the pair that fits your foot the best.
Adjust the lacing to fit your foot
When you try your new shoes on in the shop remember to fiddle with the lacing to make it snug around the top of your foot. With your heel pressed to the back of the shoe, you want to tighten the laces from the bottom up to fit around your foot. Only then will you get the proper feel for how the trainers suit your feet.
Following these few guidelines is a perfect starting point to getting your first pair of shoes. Remember as well, that running shoes are not a lifelong investment! Every shoe will wear out over time, so by the time you need your next pair you will know that little bit more and maybe want an upgrade. The most important thing is to get you out there running, so concentrate on comfort and injury prevention, and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.