When it comes to running, the initiation does not require a lot of equipment. However, a good pair of running shoes is absolutely essential. But how do you choose the right shoes when there are so many choices available and a complex jargon to decipher? Is there a “universal beginner’s shoe” option to help you get started? Unfortunately no. Every runner is different, so there are a number of factors to consider in order to find the right brand and model. SAIL Expert Alexandra Healey is here to help you find the perfect pair of running shoes for you.
In this article, we’ll go over things to consider, including:
- The level of damping
- The type of media
- The perfect heel-to-toe drop
- Your racing season
- Test the fit of your running shoes
- How to clean and when to change your running shoes
- Expert advice for choosing the right running shoes
What type of terrain will you be running on?
The first question to ask yourself is where you are going to run. Do you prefer quiet trails, forest or mountain paths and scenic gravel roads? If so, you will need a good pair of trail running shoes. For urban runners who prefer pounding the pavement, road running shoes are best.
The outsole lugs of trail running shoes give you the necessary grip on steep, muddy or wet terrain. Trail running shoes are also stiffer and more durable, and protect you from sharp rocks or branches with a shank (metal plate) inside the shoe. Some shoes use a BOA lacing system (so your laces won’t come loose while running), have a waterproof or more durable upper to protect your feet from mud, and have more grippy rubber on the outsoles for you prevent slipping on roots and rocks.
Road shoes, on the other hand, are designed to absorb the impact of repeated shocks on the asphalt. They are more flexible, with a lighter and more breathable fabric to provide you with optimal ventilation. They have more cushioned midsoles to absorb shock, smooth outsoles (without studs) and most shoes use a traditional lacing system.
What about multisport shoes? While they can be used for short, occasional runs, they are primarily designed for comfort, not performance. If you already have a pair and want to try running, using your multisport shoes can be a great way to save some money. But once you catch the bug, go for a shoe that will truly meet your running needs. The On brand offers a good range of multi-sport shoes.
How much cushioning do you need?
The type of cushioning is related to the level of feeling you want to have on the ground when you run. Some runners opt for minimalist barefoot type shoes because it allows them to feel in contact with the road and be more responsive. In contrast, maximum cushioning is often described as running on a cloud. A thick sole effectively absorbs the impact on the ground better. However, some runners don’t like the bouncy feel of cushioning foam. It’s all about preference here, for both road and trail runners.
What type of support to choose?
The shape of your arch and the movement of your feet as you run will tell you if you need extra support from the insole of your shoes. Most runners tend to have a slight pronation (the foot rolls inward when it hits the ground). Others have supination (the ankle and foot roll outward as the heel leaves the ground). Here is a summary table to help you determine the type of shoes you need:
|stride||Type of shoe|
|Pronation – Mild
Supination – Light
|Pronation – Moderate
Supination – Moderate
|Pronation – Severe
Supination – Severe
If you’re unsure, start with a neutral shoe and see if you feel comfortable, and if you need extra arch support to prevent your foot from rolling forward. inside or outside. The Asics brand offers a good range of neutral and stable models.
The SAIL Shop SIDAS machine can also help you find the right insole by mapping the natural shape of your foot. All that remains is to slip the suggested insole into a neutral running shoe to achieve a custom level of arch support.
Choose the right heel-toe drop
Heel-to-toe drop (commonly referred to as drop) is the difference in height between your heel and the ball of your foot (at the toe level) when standing in the shoe. Not to be confused with the thickness of your shoe’s cushioning. Choosing a good heel-to-toe drop therefore consists of adding an angle to your shoe in order to focus on the right impact zones.
Most road running shoes have a drop between 5 and 12mm. Runners who tend to land on their heels (heels) should opt for shoes with a higher drop (6mm or more) as they provide more cushioning to your heels and are therefore more comfortable during your run. This high heel-to-toe drop also shifts the impact load to your knees and hips. The Salomon brand offers excellent trail shoes for those who need a higher sole.
People who land closer to the toes can opt for a minimalist shoe, with a drop between 0 and 6 mm. These then transfer the impact load to the ankles and Achilles tendon, rather than to the knees and hips. Trail runners can check out shoes from the Altra brand, while Saucony has several low-heel-toe drop models for those who prefer road running.
“While this element may seem like a rather complex technical factor, inspecting the wear and tear of your old shoes could be of great help to you,” explains Alexandra Healey. “Look for areas that are particularly worn. This might help you determine where your foot is landing. You can also bring your old pair to the store so that an expert can study it and direct you to a model that will match your running stride. »
Run in all seasons
Summer runners should favor a shoe with good ventilation, while winter runners will want better grip on icy surfaces. If you plan to run in the cold season, read our article on what to wear for winter running.
Those who run in particularly muddy, dusty or wet terrain can opt for waterproof running shoes. However, these shoes are not to everyone’s taste. They can be heavier than a normal breathable shoe and tend to get a little warm which can be uncomfortable at times.
Test the fit of your shoes
Now that you’ve chosen your running shoes, it’s important to try them on. Alexandra Healey recommends a field test, as well as going up and down the stairs to check that they are right for you. Running shoes don’t stretch, so if you can’t wiggle your toes freely, you should go up a size.
How to clean and when to replace your running shoes
Most shoes can be put in the washing machine, explains Alexandra Healey. Her top interview tip? “Be sure to let them dry properly between uses, as bacteria can grow inside. If your shoes are waterproof, however, the washing machine is strongly discouraged.
You should also replace your running shoes often, every 3-4 months for regular runners, or 6-8 months for occasional runners. If you’re training for an event like a half marathon, buy a new pair after you finish your run (not before!). However, if you find that the outsole is worn or compressed or, in the case of trail running shoes, the lugs are starting to wear out, don’t wait to change.
Some expert advice
- Do not use trail running shoes on the road: you will wear out the studs too quickly.
- If you run on very dusty roads, consider a waterproof shoe to keep dirt out.
- If you are already a fan of running, try to always choose the same type of shoes to avoid injuries. But if you need to change elevation, cushioning, or shoe type, be sure to allow for a good transition period before embarking on long distances.