by Matt Weik
What comes to your mind when you think of running? The right pair of shoes, no? Of course, the right pair of running shoes can be a deciding factor of whether you love running or absolutely hate it.
Also, the right pair of shoes not only make running more enjoyable but also prevents injuries and improves overall performance (but let’s be real, we all love a good pair of running shoes for the looks as well).
Well, there’s a common misconception that the most expensive shoes from the top brands are the best. But the truth is, there are many other factors that play an important role in determining which running shoes are best for YOU. Let’s dive more into the details.
Things to Look for When Choosing Running Shoes
When you’re looking to purchase some new running shoes, what should you pay attention to when you try them on? Below is a list you’ll want to check off before pulling out your credit card.
1. Sizing of the Shoes
If your shoes are not of perfect size, the chances of getting injured are increased (also, you can end up with massive blisters). So, whenever you purchase a new pair of shoes, check the fitting properly and even have a store clerk double check to ensure they are the perfect fit.
2. Level of Cushioning
If the cushioning is minimal, you may feel the ground while running. If you’re into barefoot running, that may be a good thing. But if there is a lot of cushioning, you may feel higher off the ground, the shoes may feel heavy, and the extra cushioning could change your running mechanics. Therefore, picking the right running shoe completely depends on what’s comfortable for you and how you run.
3. Surface You’ll Be Running On
The nature of use also matters when you’re choosing new running shoes. Basically, there are three types of running shoes out there — road running, trail running, and treadmill running. Each shoe is designed differently as per how the shoe needs to perform. Picking the right shoe is critical to improving your performance, lessening the likelihood of injuries, and making the overall experience more enjoyable.
4. Frequency and Intensity of Running Session
How many times you go out for a run or your number of running sessions per week also plays a role in deciding what kind of running shoes you need. If you are someone who runs nearly every day and for long durations, it may be better for you to go for running shoes with good cushioning. The intensity of the running session also affects the type of shoes you need to choose.
When Should You Replace Your Old Running Shoes?
There’s nothing more painful than replacing your favorite pair of running shoes. They’re perfectly broken in, you’re used to them, and they’re comfortable. But we need to accept that nothing lasts forever. Though parting ways is tough, you need to know when to lace up a new pair of running shoes if you don’t want to compromise your health and overall performance. So, when is the right time to have a proper burial for your beloved running shoes?
Generally, you should replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles. This is mainly because the midsole loses resiliency and stops absorbing the shock, which transfers all that energy through your body and joints. As you can imagine, this, in turn, can create a negative impact on joints and muscles as all of that energy is getting transferred throughout your body.
Here are a few more factors that can help you decide if you need to replace your shoes:
- Shoes with minimal cushioning can last for around 300 miles, and the ones with maximum cushioning can last for around 500 miles.
- In the case where you are a little on the heavy side in terms of your weight, you can expect to get fewer miles out of your running shoes (no matter which type of shoes you purchase).
- If you notice significant wear and tear, it’s clearly time to discard your shoes as you’ve damaged the shoe’s integrity, and it may not maintain the stability and form you need to run in them safely.
- Many runners also know it’s time for new running shoes when they start to feel discomfort in their feet, knees, or hips after running.
What Influences the Lifespan of Running Shoes?
Below are some factors to consider when wondering if it’s time to trade in your old pair of running shoes for some new ones. Many of these go hand-in-hand with what was mentioned above regarding what to look for in new running shoes.
1. Weight of the Runner
The more you weigh, the more wear and tear will be on the shoes. Each footstrike has an impact that is equal to around five times your body weight.
2. Running Surface
The wear and tear on the shoes also depend upon the surface you run on. Let’s say if you run on soft grass, there won’t be too much wear and tear.
3. Size of the Shoes
The functionality of the shoes also depends upon their size. It’s because the size of your foot expands when it comes in contact with the ground due to the pressure exerted by your body weight. This is why you should choose running shoes that are slightly larger than your foot and don’t squeeze or constrict them at any point.
4. Technique of Running
If you use a fast-running technique, where your foot makes very slight contact with the ground, it will put little stress on the shoes. Whereas, if you are an undynamic runner, you tend to put more stress on the running shoes, making them age faster.