When you were younger you may have gotten away with wearing running shoes that didn’t fit or were worn out, but as you age, you need the proper support from a good pair of running shoes, whether for walking or running. The true test of a shoe isn’t how they feel in the store, but after several miles of walking or running. Choosing the right running shoe has a lot to do with the shape of your foot and your running or walking style. As we wind down the running season, the cooler air makes every ache that much more painful. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how to avoid foot pain.
1. Road or Trail Running?
First of all, decide whether you prefer exercising on pavement with occasional jaunts on nature trails or if you tend to choose off road routes. Road running shoes are designed to be light and flexible with cushion to protect you against repetitive movements while trail running shoes are a bit heftier for those that run or walk through roots, rocks, and various obstacles along the trail.
2. Get the Right Size
This means you may need to have your feet measured. If your shoe is too small your toenails may bang the front of the shoes over and over again, damaging the toenail. If your shoe is too big, your foot will constantly slide up and down and it won’t be secure in the shoe.
3. Take Your Arch Shape into Account
Do you have a high arch, normal arch, or are you flat footed? You can figure this out by taking a look at your footprint. The wider and straighter your footprint, the lower your arch is.
4. Biomechanical Movements
It’s not just about your foot, but about how you use it. What’s your biomechanical process? Most runners strike the ground on the outside of their heel. After that, the rest of the foot comes down and rolls slightly inward. This is called pronation. Those who excessively pronate are more susceptible to injury. Runners that overpronate need a straight shoe as opposed to one that curves at the toe. Most running stores will have you run on a treadmill to judge whether you pronate, overpronate, or underpronate.
Sara Novak is a Natural Health Care Expert for Zax Health. Follow her on Twitter at @sarafnovak.