When choosing running shoes, the most important thing is to find the right ones for your way of running. Footwear suitable for your biomechanics (stride), the type of running you intend to practice (where you run, over what distances and at what speed), and your personal preferences for touch on the ground.
Think about your running style
To find out exactly how you run, there is no need for a team of scientists, it is important to keep in mind that the support changes constantly, depending on the distances you run, the differences in the terrain and also based on muscle fatigue.
To identify your stride, you must first evaluate which part of your foot rests on the ground first: heel, midfoot or forefoot. If you can’t figure it out, just film yourself in slow motion while running just using a smartphone.
A shoe that accompanies your natural support is the best solution. In general, if you do not have any particular discomfort, we do not recommend that you change the type of shoe, but if you feel persistent pain or suffer from repeated injuries, it is good to contact a specialist in sports medicine, who will be able to analyze your state of health (and the shoes you use) and suggest any changes.
Familiarizing yourself with your natural support is an excellent starting point for finding the ideal shoe, especially as regards the choice of the drop (the difference in the shoe between the height of the heel and that of the forefoot). For now, we are not focusing too much on drops, which will be explained further below, but in general the more the stride takes place on the forefoot, the smaller the drop should be
Pronation (the angle between the heel and the tibia) is often considered an important factor in identifying the right running shoes, but again, pronation is not a bad thing and if you don’t get injured while running, you have no reason. to change anything. So, whether you are a pronator (when the foot moves inwards at the support) or a supinator (when the foot, on the other hand, rotates outwards) makes no difference
Set your goals
First, what kind of terrain are you running on? If you run on trails, look for shoes designed for trail running
If you run on the street, make sure you have shoes made specifically for running and not generic tennis or sports shoes.
After that, think about your goals and expectations. Are you going to run long distances or for less than an hour? With what intensity? Are you running just to stay fit or are you training for a marathon? Do you intend to use the shoes for training, recovery or competition? What level of performance are you looking for?
By asking yourself these questions you will be able to find the range that best suits your needs: non-competitive runs, training or competitions, and to further tighten the circle, consider whether the shoe you need for long distances, such as a marathon, or routes of less than 10 km.
Look for these features
After careful consideration, your goals, preferences and racing style should appear clearer. Here, then, are the characteristics to look for to find the shoe that suits your needs.
The drop is, in the shoe, the difference between the height of the heel and that of the forefoot.
A standard drop (greater than 7mm) is recommended for runners who put their heel on the ground first.
A small drop (6 mm or less) recreates the feeling of a barefoot run and is more suitable for runners who put the midfoot or forefoot first.
Cushioning and flexibility in running shoes
Cushioning is the ability of running shoes to absorb shocks when the foot rests on the ground.
Shoes designed to promote support on the heel focus more on the heel, to absorb shocks in this area. However, excessive cushioning can make shoes less stable and less precise. It is up to you to decide what you prefer.
New technologies are being developed that reduce the vibration of each stride without compromising the dynamism of the shoe.
Runners with forefoot support may need less cushioning as their body absorbs impact more actively.
As for flexibility, perhaps the best way to look at it is to think of it as a shoe’s ability to deform. A flexible shoe allows you to feel the ground better but requires strong feet for greater efficiency. At the other extreme, a stiff shoe will generally be more dynamic and provide more support, especially for sturdier runners.
Again, your personal habits and preferences should guide you in your decision.
Finding your ideal shoe size depends on many factors:
Foot length – no matter what kind of runner you are, it is essential to have enough space between your toes and the tip of the shoe. To measure the length of the foot, simply trace the outline on a sheet of paper. Most manufacturers then provide a guide that suggests which size to choose based on it.
Foot width – will orient you towards shoes that have a wide or narrow fit. Runners with wide feet may consider choosing one size up or looking for shoes with a loose fit.
Sensitivity – the size can also affect the overall experience of the shoe; a more precise and enveloping fit will ensure greater control of the stride. To find your ideal shoe, make sure you choose the correct size.
Keep in mind that while running, the size of the foot can vary based on the distance traveled and the temperature, but these changes are usually minimal and most of the time you can simply loosen the laces to make more room for the foot.
Weight of the shoe
From a strictly scientific point of view, the lighter the shoe, the less energy is needed to complete a full stride.
However, decreasing the weight of a shoe means reducing comfort, stability and protection.
That’s why we recommend choosing the lightest model possible, but one that includes all the features and comfort you need.
Here are some pointers: Running shoes that weigh less than 200 grams are usually designed for racing where performance is given, but most running shoes usually weigh between 250 and 300 grams.
Waterproofing and breathability
As a rule, road runners seek breathability for running, especially in hot, dry places.
Shoes that guarantee protection in humid environments using, for example, a Gore-Tex membrane, are mainly made for trail running or for runners who always want to work hard, be it rain or shine.
Making thousands of pairs of shoes has an effect on the environment. Some manufacturers are responsibly aware of this and are trying to reduce their ecological footprint by offering quality products. More and more brands are adopting an eco-sustainable approach taking into account the materials and the production process, the longevity of the product and the recycling of shoes after their use. Keep this in mind when choosing, and buy from brands that share your personal ethics and habits.
To sum it up, it’s important to find a pair of shoes that fit your natural running style and personal preferences, which are, in essence, the most comfortable for you. As you gain more experience and your goals change, make sure the requirements you look for in each new pair of shoes reflect these changes. When it comes to running shoes, the ultimate goal is to forget them completely while running, so take the time to make the best choice.