Getting into the running routine can be exciting. Whether you are gearing up to train for a 5k or a marathon, the right shoes really can make all the difference. All too often, however, women are hesitant to invest in running shoes. Sure, you can wear the same pair you always wear to the gym, or you can toss on those old sneakers from the back of your closet. But remember that not all running shoes are created equally. Use this guide to find the perfect running shoes, in the right size, that support you and your running.
Don’t Fall for the Pink Shoe Trick
We have all seen an ad pop up on Instagram for a new pattern or color of running shoes and thought: “I have to have those!” While fun and festive shoe designs can brighten your day, there is so much more to consider when buying running shoes. This is especially true for women, because some shoe companies focus more on the style and less on the substance.
Whether you are shopping online or in a running store, try to ignore how running shoes look until the very end of the buying process. You might be surprised to find that the pair you were least attracted to initially will be the pair that best suits your running needs.
Observe Your Gait
Have you ever seen yourself run? Most of us haven’t, but knowing your gait can be a huge factor in picking out the perfect women’s running shoes. That’s one of the reasons why it is so important to visit a local running store. Many of these running-specific retailers offer a gait analysis, which is an opportunity for them to observe and comment on your gait.
This is a great way to find out whether you pronate or supinate, or whether you have any other changes to your gait that could be corrected by the right pair of shoes. This can minimize potential running-related injuries and keep you on track to achieve all of your running goals.
Moving Up a Size
While you might wear a certain size in your everyday shoes, that does not necessarily translate over to your running shoes. Many women are wearing running shoes that are a full or half size too small, and that can cause problems with your gait, toe issues and general discomfort. This is especially true if you run in warm climates or you are pounding the pavement for long runs in marathon training, because your feet literally swell on the run. The solution is to move up a size or try on a wide fit, which gives your toes as well as the arch of your foot more space.
Get Familiar with the Heel-Toe Drop
There is a lot of talk in the running community about the correct heel-toe drop for runners. The heel-toe drop is the thickness difference between the heel of the shoe and the toe box. Traditionally, running shoes have a heel-toe drop of a few inches. However, plenty of companies are now jumping on the zero-drop bandwagon.
These zero-drop shoes have a number of benefits, but they may not be right for everyone. Whenever you make a change to your shoe’s heel thickness, it can impact your gait, your stride and the muscles you rely on during your run. Keep that thickness in mind and be slow with any major changes to your shoes.
As you pick out your next pair of running shoes, it is worth heading to your local running store. The expert staff at most running stores can check your gait and make professional recommendations for footwear, and they can also suggest other running-related items that might improve your training. You could walk in wanting a new pair of marathon training shoes and walk out with those plus a FlipBelt so that you can run with your phone – hands free – during training. While you can snag items like the FlipBelt Classic Running Belt or the FlipBelt Running Crops and Running Shorts online, having the opportunity to try them on in person and get the perfect fit is ideal. Take advantage of the expertise of running store employees and what they have to offer!