Running with the wrong shoe can put a premature end to your training experience. Finding the shoe that best fits you takes time and patience. An ideal shoe is adapted to the silhouette of your foot with your socks on. When picking the right shoe, your needs will vary depending on the support you need, the stability require and the control you achieve with a given shoe.
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Having a shoe tailored to your foot involves knowing the type of arch that you have. The three arch types are the high arch, neutral arch and low or flat arch. For the most comfortable run, and to prevent injury, select a shoe that fits your foot's silhouette. Test your arch type on a gel pad at your local sporting goods store or by wetting your feet and then standing on a paper towel at home.
A shoe that keeps your foot secured while you are running is known as having good stability. The more pronated -- or inwardly turned -- your foot is as you run, the more of a stability-focused shoe you will need. A distinguishing characteristic of a stability shoe is that it has a medial post that subtlety protrudes into the shoe to slow your rate of pronation as you run; visually, this is a shoe with a thick sole and several overlays around the body of the shoe used to strap your foot down securely.
Motion-controlled shoes have a thicker sole than stability shoes but with even more cushion to prevent any sliding around and over-pronation of your foot while running. Low-arched runners tend to over-pronate and thus need a highly stable shoe with a strike point -- where the shoe bends -- for the toes, several overlays for security and a midsole that bends very little. Motion-controlled shoes provide increased security and stability for the runner.
Tips and Suggestions
Get your foot tested to note your personal arch type with a running shoe specialist, or consult your doctor during your pre-training physical. Try on different brands of shoes to learn what fits you best, and if needed, purchase insoles from your local sporting goods store for added support. Never skimp on safety in training for aesthetics. Find the shoe that will provide the safest training experience first, and consider style second.