Friday, June 3, 2011

Choosing the right shoes

In honor of National Running Day, held this year on June 1st, runners were encouraged to celebrate in various ways including the following:
  • Wear running shoes to work
  • Choose a brand new running route
  • Take your kids out for a run around the neighborhood
  • Invite a friend to walk or run with you
  • Set yourself a new running resolution
  • Treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes
These are all suggestions from the folks who created National Running Day; other sources recommended similar activities, all emphasizing of course a day that is somehow devoted to endorsing running as a fun and healthy lifestyle sport. Participating in any of these activities would take little coaxing for those of us who actually enjoy running, but for those who are new to running and looking for something to spur the flame a little more, let's focus on an absolute essential component of running: the running shoe.

If you're a serious runner then you probably own multiple pairs of running shoes and you can probably spout out the names of various running shoe brands as well as each brand's most recently released shoe. Furthermore you have probably trialed most, if not all of the shoes you're able to verbally cite, and you've probably got your favorites narrowed down. But more than likely it took quite a long time to determine which shoes work for you and which ones don't.

Some of my favorites - Salomon Trail; Mizuno Wave Riders and Precision; Nike Frees
For new runners looking for that first pair of running shoes I recommend that you get a proper gait analysis done first. I had my first gait analysis done at Road Runner Sports a few years ago and based on their assessment, I now buy "neutral" shoes designed for high arches. Whenever I have strayed from running in these types of shoes I have almost always ended up injuring myself.

Other things to keep in mind include:
  1. Replacing your shoes every 200 to 300 miles, depending on the durability of your shoes. offers a free training log; I use this free tool to record my runs and also note which shoes I wear on each run. The log allows me to follow my training but it also keeps a separate log on my shoe mileage so I know when each pair of shoes will need to be replaced.
  2. If you can afford it, try having two pairs of running shoes available during a training cycle. By alternating run days with different pairs of shoes you will keep your shoes from wearing down too quickly and help prevent the odds of injuring yourself. 
  3. If you're like me and like to run on both trails and pavement, you might want to consider buying an all-terrain shoe, or you could buy both road shoes and trail shoes. Ask some of your WOOT friends what trail shoes they run in.
  4. Once you progress a little further in your training and start to incorporate speedwork into your  routine, you may also want to consider buying some lightweight racing shoes that are designed specifically for those faster-paced runs.
  5. has a great variety of running shoes available at reasonable prices and they also offer an additional 15% discount to WOOT members (you can email one of the WOOT site administrators if you would like to know the discount code).
These are just a few running shoe tips which I hope are helpful, and I encourage our more advanced runners to offer further comments and advice.

Happy Running!

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