Tammy Newton helps with a number of Scott & White running programs, physical fitness councils, and is passionate about wellness. As a runner herself, she shares with us some of the best tips for the right fit.
“I tell folks to get a good pair of running shoes first,” says Newton. “It is like good tires on your car. A beginner should visit a qualified running store to be evaluated so they can find out what type of running shoe they need.”
When you visit a running store, they will be able to evaluate your feet to see how you run. No two people run the same. Just because you have a friend or running buddy who loves a specific brand or type of shoe, it may not be the right one for you.
Some common foot conditions include:
- Flat feet where you do not have a normal arch when standing.
- High arches where your arch is raised more than normal.
- Pronation, where your feet turn in, or roll from outside to inside. If this occurs too much, it can impact your running and cause joint pain.
These will impact the way you run, and will help determine what type of shoe you need to avoid injury. If you are thinking about a long race or a specific type of exercise, a professional can give advice specific for you. They will be able to talk to you about your needs, watch you run or perform your activity, and see where your feet are exerting force.
The Right Shoe for You
“The right running shoe can make all the difference in your training and race day,” says Newton. “If your shoes and feet feel good then you will have the power to complete any distance.”
To avoid foot pain, you will want shoes that provide:
- Enough cushioning for your foot.
- Proper room in the shoe, more for longer distances and never pressing against the end of the shoe.
- Can hold up with how often you run or exercise.
- Fit the terrain or surfaces you like to run on.
- Insoles or orthotics to help as a short-term solution to avoid injury, but may not compensate alignment problems facing your body.
Newton says there are a number of good shoes out there and everyone is unique in their preferences.
“The brand of shoe only matters to the runner wearing it,” she says. “If it feels good and it is the right shoe for them then the brand does not make a difference. I run with several folks and I do not think any of us have the same shoe.”
“If you do not have the correct shoes then you are at high risk for injury and/or pain,” explains Newton.
Common injuries from poor footwear include:
- Blisters from shoes not fitting properly or wrong type of socks.
- Shin splints if you’re starting a new workout routine, but can get better over time.
- Inflammation on the bottom of your foot, called plantar fasciitis due to lack of support.
- Knee pain or injury, due to poor footwear, and this pain can also affect the hips, ankles and back if not resolved.
Replacing Your Shoes
As your shoes get older, you will know when it’s time to replace them. You will feel the cushion and support start to weaken, and fail to provide the support like they did at first.
Newton replaces her shoes about every 500 miles, or when she starts to experience pain in the knees, hips or ankles.
Ready, Set, Go!
Once you get the right pair of shoes, you’ll be ready to run. With the proper footwear, you will enjoy your activity, avoid injury and have the confidence you need to excel.
“I advise anyone to get out there and start running!” says Newton. “I tell anyone new to go find the right shoe, put it on and hit the road! Once you get the knowledge of what shoe you need and it feels good, then you are ready.”