Why is it so important to find the right shoe?
Feet strike the ground about 1,700 times per mile while running with up to 4 times body weight. Footwear that is improperly sized or unsuited to your biomechanical and training needs can cause injury at worst, annoyance and possible training interruptions at the very least.
What are the best running shoes for me?
Different shoes suit different runners and different running styles. What suits your friend may not be the right shoe for you. So we have put together our Shoe Finder to help you select the shoe that suits you best. For more specialised help, please visit the store or contact us and we can help you in choosing a pair.
How many miles can I expect from my shoes?
Wear varies from person to person depending on weight, running gait, frequency of use, and the running surface. Depending on these factors, the average would be 400-500 miles per pair of shoes.
How do I know when it is time to buy some new shoes?
The most important thing to look at is not the outsole of the shoe, but the cushioning. When you notice creases in the midsole from it being constantly depressed, it is time to replace your shoes. If you notice new aches and pains in your legs and feet it may suggest that the cushioning is going.
If you need added stability in a shoe then this will also become less effective over time (but should last as long as the cushioning lasts).
How much will I need to spend?
The starting price for a good shoe would now be around £75, if you need extra stability then it will probably be around £90. As stated above, the most expensive may not be the most suitable.
Pronation/Supination: what's it all about?
The foot pronates when it hits the ground the arch collapses and the foot rolls inwards. This is the body's natural foot strike best designed to absorb shock.
- Neutral gait: Optimal foot motion (20-25% of runners), requiring shoes with a balance of stability and flexibility.
- Under-pronation (Supination): Not enough foot motion (a rigid foot). When your foot hits the ground it rolls forwards along the outside edge of the foot (rare - under 10% of runners). There are no shoes specifically designed for a supinated gait but a flexible, curve lasted shoe often works well.
- Over-pronation: Too much motion as the top of the foot rolls inward (flexible foot - approx. 75% of runners). Shoes with stability features reduce this motion. An overpronator generally needs an 'anti-pronation' shoe with more support on the inside of the shoe.
How do I know if I overpronate or supinate?
Ideally take a pair of your current running shoes into the shop. An often-made mistake is to think you may supinate when the outside of the heel is worn down, but don't worry - this heel striking is usually normal. What matters more is where the wear on the forefoot is or how the shoe "sits" - whether it collapses inwards.
In the picture the darker areas show the wear on the outsole of a right shoe. i.e. an over-pronator would have a heavier wear pattern towards the inside (medial) edge of the shoe.
However, if you're unable to visit the store then the wet foot test works on the basis that the shape of your wet footprint on a dry floor or piece of paper roughly correlates with the amount of stability you might need in your shoe. Note: although this is an approximate starting point your gait can be different when you're actually running so it's always better to be seen on a treadmill if possible.
The Normal Foot
Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and will leave a wet footprint that has a flare, but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a broad band. A normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards slightly to absorb shock. It's the foot of a runner who is biomechanically efficient and therefore doesn't need a motion control shoe.
Recommended shoe: A shoe with a blend of cushioning and moderate support.
The Flat Foot
This has a low arch and leaves a print which looks like the whole sole of the foot. It usually indicates an overpronated foot - one that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards (pronates) excessively. Over time, this can cause many different types of overuse injuries.
Recommended shoe: A high stability shoe with a firm midsole and support that reduces the degree of pronation. Occasionally a motion control shoe if excessive but avoid highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, which will lack stability.
The High-Arched Foot
This leaves a print showing a very narrow band or no band at all between the forefoot and the heel. A curved, highly arched foot is generally supinated or underpronated. Because it doesn't pronate enough, it's not usually an effective shock absorber.
Recommended shoe: A cushioned (or 'neutral') shoe with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Avoid stiffer stability shoes, which will reduce foot mobility.
You may have been hearing about barefoot running & minimal footwear around the running world. While running, avoiding both overstriding and heavy heel striking is generally accepted as good practice and these types of shoes can help achieve this. However, if you have no problems with whatever you're using then probably best stick with what you're doing.
There are now more shoe choices in this area to accomodate all types of runner as everyone adapts to this change of gait in different ways. If you would like to know more then start by reading more here.
What size do I need?
Once you have determined your pronation factor, consider those shoes that fit your profile, then select among them based on which give you the best fit (there should be adequate "wiggle" room between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe, a snug heel, and secure comfort everywhere else).
Don't buy bigger to get extra width and remember the sizes are just a guide, ladies especially - you may buy a size larger than normal shoes size.
How should I care for my running shoes?
There are two important factors to remember when cleaning your shoes: do not wash your shoes in the washing machine; and dry your shoes stuffed and at room temperature. We would suggest you use warm (not hot) water with a mild detergent to scrub your shoes, and to naturally dry them by inserting a shoe form, or by stuffing them with newspaper.