Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

Monday, June 27, 2011

How to Choose the Right Running Shoes

Choosing the right running shoe can be daunting. There's so many choices, so many different types....how do you know which one will be best? And should you fork out the money for a really nice shoe or will the ones at Big 5 work just as well?

Every person's body is different, and I can't tell you a simple formula to find the exact shoe you will like best. But I hope to give a few good tips that will make buying your next pair of shoes a little easier.

First off, you have to put looks aside. I know it is hard not to choose the first shoe that you think looks the cutest...but you have to. Running shoes aren't about being cute. Its about maximizing your training and keeping your body healthy.

Secondly, you need to determine what kind of runner you are. Do you over-pronate, under-pronate or are you neutral? Do you have low, medium or high arches? I believe the best way to find this out is to go to your local running specialty store and have them watch you run and help you there. You don't have to let them convince you what shoes to buy, but it is very helpful to have a "professional" talk to you. I personally don't really believe in the benefits of buying a shoe that is designed specifically for under or over-pronators. I am more an advocate of the minimalist movement. But, that is my opinion and you should not go off just what I tell you.

Thirdly, try on a bunch of different shoes. Run around in them. Don't settle for the first pair you find. And try not to settle for the cheapest one (hard, I know). The shoe you run in is so important in avoiding injuries and making you stronger. Don't settle.

I personally believe that the cheap end shoes that you will find at Big 5, Kohl's, Shopko.....they aren't the same. I bought a pair of cheap Adidas that I thought I would like and they were fine, I did like them. But they only lasted me about 6-7 weeks before I was needing new shoes. When I spend the money to get nice shoes they usually last me about 3-5 months.

Also, the thing that has helped me the most in choosing a shoe like, is to read the reviews. Google search the shoe you are looking for, or go to the brand's website (i.e. Nike, Adidas, Saucony, etc.) and read all the reviews you can on the shoe(s) you are looking at. Doing this I think has yet to find me a pair of shoes I don't like. Remember to take the reviews with a grain of salt, some people are going to hate the shoe and some will love it no matter what. But try and find the overall message from people and find the reviews from people that are closest to your running ability. Most people will at least briefly say what kind of runner they are (weekend 2-miler or avid runner...you know).

My favorite websites for reviews are roadrunnersports.com and http://shoescience.co.uk/

 I do recommend going into a running store to find what size shoe fits you best (all brands and styles fit differently). It is really beneficial to have someone help fit you to a shoe and bring you out some that you might like. But I generally find that I can find much better deals online. So find the shoe you want, and then go home and price compare so you don't have to spend a thousand dollars every time you need new shoes. I recommend being prepared to spend anywhere from $60 to $120 for a good pair of shoes. I personally have never spent more than $90 on shoes, but I do a lot of price comparing and shopping around. Also, Road Runner Sports has good deals a lot and if you become a member of their VIP program you get way good deals. 

My favorite shoes right now are the Nike Lunar Glide, Nike Lunar Elite, Saucony Hattori and the Saucony Kinvara. These are all pretty neutral shoes and the Saucony's are both minimalist (meaning as light as possible with little cushioning.....think "barefoot"). I also really like Adidas, but I don't remember the styles I have worn. Oh and the other thing I like about all these shoes is that they come in a TON of different colors so you can have a cute running shoe too :)

Good luck on your next search. Feel free to leave any more tips you use when buying shoes!

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