Race season is officially underway. Team Feldman had a great start with our Walkway Over the Hudson Half Marathon participation and the weather finally seems to be getting consistent. We’re seeing more of our runners in the clinic, and getting the inevitable question about shoe wear from patients, friends and family. So, even though Justin and I have done a handful of posts, pics, and podcasts about this topic, there is still plenty to cover. I want to start by breaking down what you’ll find out there on the shelves.
Full disclaimer: I have about 11 pairs of running shoes, but two don’t count because they’re retired. I keep them around for old times’ sake. We’ve been through a lot together!
What is the best shoe to run in? This is the most common question we get. And our most common answer is “whichever one is most comfortable.” That answer far overpowers the occasional “whichever one looks the coolest.” In all seriousness, most of the time there is no right or wrong shoe as long as the shoe fits your foot well and feels good. Notice I didn’t say as long as you fit in the shoe.
Justin and I have a few rules about choosing running footwear. Check out our podcast Episode #35 which aired on April 13 to hear more, but, ultimately, your shoe should be comfortable and fit your foot, not the other way around, and don’t go by looks alone. Use our insole test (if you don’t know what it is, give the episode a quick listen), then, grab a couple of different shoe styles and start rotating them for your runs. Different styles of shoes will greatly help make your feet and ankles more resilient to the forces experienced during running. It’s not about preventing shoe breakdown, it’s about preventing your own foot breakdown.
There are a lot of shoe companies, and it’s important to know one brand isn’t better than another. There may be better shoe styles for your body and demands, but keep an open mind and try different ones. Don’t be committed to just one brand.
Brooks, Nike, Saucony, New Balance, Hoka, Mizuno, Asics and Adidas seem to be the biggest players right now and these are the brands you’ll see as tried and true on the shelves of most dedicated running stores. I have five of those eight brands in my closet and am super-proud of the collection. So, don’t be overcome by your choices or feel that you have to pick “just the right one” or you’ll be doomed to fail. If you recognize any of these names in running shoes, follow our rules to help find some shoes to test drive. Most true running stores will give you a grace period to try on their products or return them if you don’t like them.
Choosing a running shoe shouldn’t be overwhelming. The hardest part should be making sure you get the best color! I love trying on lots of different shoes just to see how they feel. And don’t feel badly about asking to try on a bunch. You wouldn’t hesitate to drive lots of different cars before buying one, so take your time to make a confident decision with your shoes. And last but not least, it’s okay for your preference to change over time. You will get better at running and may want or need a different response from your shoe. Don’t fight it, just go with it. And if you feel badly about buying more, just ask us and we’ll write you a note for doctor’s orders.
If you want to know more about options, your own running styles, and form, don’t hesitate to give us a shout or even swing up to our friends at Fleet Feet Poughkeepsie or another fine running shoe store.