If you're serious about running, then you should be serious about the shoes you choose. Read on to find out more about shoe myths and the best running shoe styles for your feet.
"There's a very common misconception that if you are injured or in pain, then you need a more stabilizing shoe," says Reed Ferber, head of the Running Injury Clinic at the University of Calgary. "So people go looking for a stabilizing shoe or a motion-control shoe. That is absolutely making the problem even worse."
Research shows that if you don't need these shoes, running in them can lead to injuries such as IT band syndrome and peroneal tendinitis (pain on the outside of the ankle). "It's ironic, considering that these types of shoes are often recommended to help prevent or treat an injury," says Ferber.
Up to five percent of people need a motion-control shoe, Ferber explains; another 15 percent have reduced foot pronation and need a stability shoe. The rest of us have typical foot mechanics (meaning we don't need a special shoe), he says, so "the foot needs to be in a regular cushioning shoe."
Whether your budget is $40 or $400, here's what Ferber suggests you look for in a well-fitting, cushioning running shoe:
- a snug fit in the heel
- a comfortable arch that is supportive and accommodating, not stiff
- enough room in the toe box to wiggle your toes
- the right fit for the curvature of your foot
"Most people have a semicurved foot," says Ferber. "Their forefoot is about five degrees flared in compared to their heel," so they need a shoe that mirrors that curvature. This is not necessarily something you can see, he says, but it's a matter of comfort. "The shoe salesperson should be able to read on the label that it's a semicurved shoe."