Choosing the right running shoes is very important for an athlete's comfort, health and performance. Poorly fitting or inappropriate shoes can cause foot problems such as blisters and calluses, and may even contribute to other physical problems in the legs and back. Runners should choose a pair of shoes that suits their foot shape and size, as well as the type of training that they intend to do.
If possible, it is a good idea to try on both shoes and take a walk around to test how well they fit. Don't forget to wear your usual running socks when trying on the shoes. Sneakers that are too tight can cramp the toes, causing discomfort. Shoes that are too loose can also cause problems. If the foot moves around inside the shoe, painful rubbing can occur, and if the toes slide forward and bang against the front of the shoe, you may end up with bruising and black toenails.
Runners with ‘neutral' or ‘normal-sized' foot arches may be comfortable in a variety of different shoes. For those with ‘low-arched' or ‘high-arched' feet, choosing the right running shoes can be more difficult. Low-arched or ‘flat' feet tend to roll too much during running, which can lead to ankle and lower leg injuries. High-arched feet often do not roll enough, which means they don't absorb shock properly when the runner strikes the ground.
Running shoes with a high level of stability are a good choice for runners with low arches, because these types of sneakers provide firm foot support during a run. Stability type running shoes can help to control excessive rolling of the foot, and are known for their durability.
Runners with high-arched feet should choose a well-cushioned running shoe that absorbs shock. Highly cushioned shoes have soft, flexible soles, and they encourage normal foot motion for those with high-arched, rigid feet.
Type of running
As well as general running shoes, there are various kinds of shoes designed specifically for different purposes. Performance running shoes are good for fast runners who want a lightweight shoe for racing and speed training. Cross country runners may want to choose an off-road or ‘trail' running shoe, designed to have superior traction and durability, and to protect their feet on rough terrain. For track athletes, super-light racing shoes with spikes to grip the track's surface are available. If you intend to run very long distances, you may opt for a running shoe with a little extra cushioning to keep your feet comfortable.