I was training a client last week who was complaining of foot cramping and knee/ankle discomfort. I asked her how long she had owned her current running shoes for and she said probably two years. Two years! And in that two years she had been using them for training, running, going to the grocery store, riding her bike and even hiking. Bingo.
It’s easy to fall in love with a pair of runners that look cute and are super comfortable. But that doesn’t mean your favorite kicks are doing any favors for your joint health or your performance. There are different types of runners for different types of activities as well as different types of feet! Here are a few things you should consider when choosing the right runners for your workout.
Type of Exercise
// Running //
A pair of running shoes should last between 400 to 500 miles of running (3 or 4 months for regular runners). Take a look at your shoes and check if the midsoles and outsoles are compressed or worn out. If they are, it may be time to go shopping.
Running shoes are typically lightweight, flexible, and provide extra cushioning to handle greater impact. They have a smooth tread to eliminate any unnecessary traction and keep you moving forward easily.
When purchasing new running shoes you should have your feet properly measured and your running technique assessed so that you are buying the right style for your type of foot. You should know whether you pronate (roll the feet inwards) supinate (roll to the outside of the foot) or run flat footed before investing in a good pair or runners.
// Cross Training //
The heavier weight of a cross-trainer provides extra durability and control to support lateral movements and provide ankle support. The sole of a cross-trainer is wide and stable providing more support for fast, side to side movements which occur when playing sports, doing plyometrics or taking part in a dance based fitness class.
Using a cross-trainer for running sprints or long distances may leave you susceptible to plantar fasciitis, knee and back injuries as well as shin splints. ouch.
// Walking Shoe //
You may think that you can just wear your regular running shoes when strolling around running errands. At first glance, walking and running seem very similar but as you walk, the body’s weight is distributed differently than when you run.
A walking shoe provides more support for the ball of your foot vs the highly cushioned heel of a running shoe. The main reason you don’t want to wear your running shoes for day to day walking is because you will wear down the arch since this is where the force is heaviest during the walking motion.
Remember to always try any shoe on before buying and have an expert fit you to the right shoe after observing your movement. Buying a runner just because it comes in your favorite color or looks cute could lead to some serious long term pain so – remember to use these tips before you lace up!