Get to know your running shoes


So, you’ve decided to take up running. That is the first step. The second step is finding the perfect pair of running shoes that are functional and cute all at the same time. Did you know that there is a science to the running shoe, and not just any old shoe will do? We want to help you understand your shoes and why they are important. Read on to take a look at the anatomy of the running shoe and how to find the perfect one for you!

First, understanding the anatomy of the running shoe will help you shop and buy the perfect set of kicks for you. Not every shoe is made equal and you need to know what to look for. If you buy a great pair of runners, they could last you up to 500 miles. 

Anatomy from heel to toe

The midsole- This is where you will find all of the cushioning and foam, and is the most important part of the running shoe. If you want a more supportive shoe, you need something with a denser foam. This will help to absorb any impact on your feet and body that results from running on hard surfaces. 

Heel Counter- This is the part of the shoe that cups your heal. This is probably the next most important part of the shoe because a lot of stability is built into this spot.   When purchasing shoes, try squeezing this spot. The more it resists, the more support and ease you’ll have on your run.

The outsole- This is the bottom of the running shoe, where the tread thickness will vary depending on whether the shoes are designed for pavement runs or for trail runs. Trail shoes usually come with a thicker, deeper tread to better get a hold of the ground and give you more traction.

Flex point- This is the part of the shoe that bends the most easily. In a good shoe, this part should line up perfectly with the widest part of your foot. If this section does not bend enough, that means that your foot can not go through its normal range of motion. This can often lead to shin splints and other injuries.

Toe box- This is the part of your shoe where your toes and the ball of your foot should fit. You want to be certain that the toe box is wide enough and doesn’t feel constricting in any way. A good rule of thumb to follow is this: If you feel any kind of pressure on either side in to the toe box, you are probably going to end up with blisters.

Finding the right shoe

  • Price

A good pair of running shoes won’t be cheap. Expect to pay anywhere from $100-$150 dollars. This is pretty standard and actually pretty reasonable. 

  • Longevity

Your running shoes should last you up to 500 miles, or for about 6 months. It is recommended that you return to the store every so often and try on the newest version of your shoes. If they feel the same, it probably isn’t time to upgrade. If they do feel different, you should buy the newer version.

  • Buying the right pair

The best time to try on running shoes is after a run or workout while your foot is at its biggest size. Bring some socks you usually work out in so that it matches what you would wear for a gym day. Give the shoes a test drive by either using the store’s  treadmill or going for a quick jog down the hall so you can get a feel for them. Keep in mind that a running shoe should fit perfectly and you should never feel like you need to break them in.

3 questions to ask yourself

  1. Does your heel slip in and out when you walk? To avoid blisters, the heel counter should be comfortable and snug to your foot, your heel shouldn’t slip at all. 
  2. Is there room at the end of your toe? Your foot will always need a bit of space to move forward, so we recommend a full thumbs length between the tip of your toe and the end of the shoes. If there is no space to move, you may damage your foot or bruise your toenails. 
  3. Does any material rub up against your ankle? Feel around, you do not want any portion of the shoe rubbing against your ankle, you want it to be able to move as freely and easily as possible. 

Above anything else, make sure you feel comfortable in your running shoes and make sure you can picture yourself in them for miles and miles (about 500) to come. You have to look at running shoes as an investment. You get what you pay for, so don’t be afraid to spend a little cash, you won’t regret it. Having the right pair of shoe will make the world of a difference and may just be what sends you from a bad run, to a great run.

For more posts on running check these out:
13 Benefits of Running

How to: Become a Runner

Photo Credits: 1,3 Lauren Hardy 2 Robert

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Lauren Hardy

Lauren is a new mom living in Toronto, Canada. When she is not at home being a mom, she is working full time as a model, playing competitive baseball, and working on her personal blog. In her “spare” time, Lauren is aspiring to become a childbirth educator. You can find her at Lauren Hardy Blog

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