Whenever I talk to people who aren’t runners about running, the biggest reason why they don’t like running is that it causes them pain. Running hurts my knees, it makes my feet hurt, running messes with my hips. And I totally get it, why would you want to do something that causes you actual pain? But what they don’t know is the solution to their problem is ridiculously simple. Nine times out of ten, the problems you have running come from your shoes. You need the right pair of shoes that will support you and the type of running you would like to take on. Any sport takes the proper equipment, and if you want to be a runner, you need the shoes that will fit the bill. Let me break down some of the most common questions and misconceptions I have heard about finding the right pair of running shoes:
- Where do you find the right pair?
- Finding the right pair of running shoes for the first time might be a bit tricky, and it’s a great idea to try out a pair that you know you can return if they aren’t best for you. To find a good pair of running shoes you need to find the right kind of help. The best advice I can give is to go to a local mom and pop running store where the employees really know what they are talking about. Big chain stores can have knowledgeable employees, but I’ve found the smaller shops have your best interest at heart and aren’t pushing you toward the newest or most expensive shoe. Absolutely do not buy a shoe unless the person at the store has watched you run in them. If the person knows what they are doing, they can watch you run and tell you if you are wearing a shoe with the right level of support.
- How do you know which ones to pick?
- This goes back to making sure you go to a store where the people know what they are talking about. Explain what type of training you are looking to complete and if you have any existing issues and they should be able to point you in the right direction. Try on a bunch of pairs and run in each of them. Some will feel better than others, you can tell. Don’t worry about looking silly jogging up and down store aisles, it’s worth the early testing to find the correct pair of shoes.
- Do I need arch supports?
- Look at your feet, are they flat? No? Can you feel the arch of your foot touching the sole of the shoe when you are standing still? Yes? Then you might not need them. But if you are like me and your arches are sky high, arch supports make a world of a difference. For most people, the off the shelf arch supports will do the trick, and they aren’t crazy expensive. If your feet don’t fit the mold, some stores will mold supports to your feet for a custom support and fit. The custom supports are durable and last a bit and are much less expensive than doctor bills for knee and hip problems.
- Wow, they are expensive, how do you afford them?
- I have a few tricks up my sleeve for finding running shoes for less. Find the pair you want and search for it on Amazon. Ask the sales associate if they have an older version of the shoe you are looking at in stock. Most running shoe companies make updated versions of their most popular shoes each year, and they aren’t really all the different from the previous year’s shoe. Worst case scenario and you can’t find your shoe at a discount, think of them as an investment and health. I don’t pay for a gym membership, but I pay for good running shoes.
- When do you need to get a new pair?
- This is possibly the most important part of all. After a while, your shoes will die or break. Running on dead shoes is almost as bad as running in the wrong pair, it makes it super easy to get injured and nobody wants that. The best rule of thumb is to switch out your shoes every 400-500 miles. For more intense runners that looks like every couple months, for those not wracking up as many miles, twice a year should do. But don’t think you can run on the same pair of shoes forever! It is well worth it to have healthy joints.
The world of running shoes and getting started can be confusing, but taking care of your body is so important when partaking in any sport, so why would running be any different. Good luck and happy shoe hunting!