4 factors to consider when buying new running shoes

Buying new running trainers can be quite a task, what brand should I go for? What style should I go for? How much money is a good amount to spend? These are all questions which will run through your mind. So what I have tried to do is make 4 simple steps which you should try to follow or understand when figuring out which running trainers to buy and what best suits you.  

*1 Running technique 

It does not matter whether your run marathons, 10km, or sprints, everyone will have a different running technique, this could be due to your anatomy, or it simply could just be the way in which you run. So, for this, let’s stick with the middle distance, 10km. There are 3 terms which we describe the foot striking the floor when running, these are; rear foot running (heel first), mid foot running (flat foot) and forefoot running (toes). If we can understand how our foot strikes the floor, this will help us decide what type of sole to get on our trainers. One which cushions mainly the heel, a sole which is constant throughout, or a sole which supports the balls of our feet. To decide this, you need to identify what type of running technique you have when striking the floor. 


*2 Shoes size 

When choosing the size of the running shoe, you should ideally look at getting a shoe size which is half a size bigger than your regular shoe size. Before we talk about why, you need to understand that different shoe brands have slightly different fittings, so you need to make sure that you check for proper length and width by pressing your thumb down next to the ball of your foot and around the toes when standing. Now let’s talk about why you need that extra half size. As you run or complete any exercise for that matter, your heart rate and blood flow is increased. From this, if your shoes are a snug fit before running the increased blood flow is going to cause your feet to swell, which will result in discomfort and pain over a period of time. Having a shoes size that is half a size bigger will allow the foot to swell and not cause any discomfort.  

*3 Running surface  

You may be a hill or an off-road runner, you may be a track runner or a road runner. All different terrains have different requirements especially in footwear. The more the ground is uneven, the more that we need to make sure that the foot and ankle is supported and the sole of the shoe has adequate grip, so it gives us maximum stability. If we are track runners, we can afford the shoes to be less supportive and stable as the track will be one level surface but then again you need to refer back to selecting a shoe which fits your technique.  

*4 Gait analysis 

A gait analysis is a tool which is used to assess the way in which you walk and run in a biomechanical way. It is extremely beneficial to runners as it can identify any overactive or underactive muscles in the feet, which could lead to potential injuries in the future. A common deficiency which is found in runners is overpronation and underpromotion in the ankle and foot, in simple terms it means that your foot is slightly collapsed at the ankle and then inside of the foot contacts the floor first (under pronation) or overpronation which is the opposite, so the outer side of the foot contacts with the ground first. From the findings of your gait analysis, this could determine what running shoes best suit you, or whether you need to purchase a different type of insole instead which assists and supports the foot. 

Stu Dolman 

Head Tutor – The Fittest Community