Many new runners have a basic idea that they enjoy road running, cross country or track running. These three vastly different types of running and jogging have their own fans, all of which need sports specific running shoes.
Shoes that work best on the track don’t give you the traction you’ll need to run cross-country or the cushioning you’ll need to run on the road.
There are literally hundreds of different types of shoes to choose from. These choices must account for the type of running you’ll be doing, the type of biomechanics your feet have, shape of your foot and the type of cushioning you need.
Road Running Shoes
Road running shoes need to first of all fit the shape of your foot and your biomechanical needs. Runners who pronate have a normal gait, while those that over pronate or under pronate (supinate) have biomechanical problems with their feet that shoes can help to correct.
In order to get great correction, orthotics are required. But using a shoe meant to help correct underpronation will cause a person who overpronates to have other problems with their feet.
These problems can range from problems that actually reside in the feet or are problems in the ankle, knee or hips as the body weight is thrown in the wrong direction and high impact forces are distributed incorrectly through the legs.
Flat Feet Pronation
Runners who have low arches or flat feet will often over pronate because of their biomechanical problems while those that under pronate often have high arched feet.
You can determine if your arch is high or low by wetting your feet slightly and stepping onto a cement floor.
Look at the footprint on the ground: a person with flat feet won’t show an arch and the person with a high arch will have a large gap on the floor in the middle of the foot.
Confirm your findings by looking at an old pair of running shoes. Observe the wear pattern on the base of the shoe. If the shoe is worn on the outside of the shoe then you under pronate or supinate.
If the wear pattern is on the inside of the shoe then you over pronate. If the rubber sole on the base of the running shoe doesn’t give a good picture the soles of dress shoes will give you the same information.
When looking for the right type of off track running shoes don’t go with the latest fad or most expensive shoe. You must pick a shoe that is going to fit your needs.
Specialty Running Stores
The best place you will find your best shoe is at a specialty running store. I’m not talking about the mall chain store, but instead a specialty shoe store .
They have professionals who are trained to evaluate the bio-mechanics of the foot and match that information with type of running shoe that will best benefit the runner.
Customer service at these running stores is usually excellent. It’s in their best interest to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and share that with their customers so they’ll keep coming back.
Runners who over pronate should look for a shoe that gives more stability with a good heel counter and a medial EVA post. The medial post is on the inside of the shoe’s midsole to take more stress to compress which limit’s the pronation motion.
Runners who supinate do not need the stability that a runner who over pronates needs. Using a shoe with this stability can injure themselves when their foot is placed in a stressful position.
Once the runner has determined which type of biomechanical needs they have the next concern when considering off track running shoes is the base of the shoe.
Ripple shoes are best on the road and waffle base shoes are best for cross country runners. These waffle shoes give the runner more traction against the grass.
Off track running shoes, when properly fit, give the road runner or cross country runner an advantage over their competitors.