Running can be very physically and emotionally demanding, and without the right shoes on your feet it can be very painful. With the right shoes you can expect to be less injury prone and will have faster times and more enjoyable and comfortable runs. The best way to find the perfect shoes for you is to go to a local running store where your feet can be looked at and you can count on expert opinion for recommendations. For a list of great stores you can check here. For a great local store, check out Up and Running, which is located on Far Hills Avenue. For those of you who don’t have a great local store or simply don’t have the time, there is a simple at-home test you can do to decide what kind of feet you have.
The water test is something that can easily be done at home, with only a few simple items. (This test is a rough estimate of what shoe it will determine you to buy, for the best results you should consult a specialty running store and have your foot examined) You will need a pan that is a few inches deep, a piece of colored construction paper or brown grocery bag works best. The pan should be filled with water enough to immerse the entire sole of your foot.
- Place your foot in the pan and immerse your bare foot with water
- In a quick motion, remove your foot from the pan and step immediately on the brown piece of paper and step firmly
- Remove your foot from the paper gently and you should see one of the three images below
You have overpronation which requires a motion control shoe. If your feet are on the more moderately flat side, stability shoes may work for you. Your shoes will wear quickly in the inside of the shoe, as your foot will roll inward. Shoes with good inside support and cushion work best here. These shoes can prevent injuries that are common with this type of arch, and help to hold the foot in place correctly.
You have neutral pronation, which means that the weight from each strike is distributed evenly and is the most desirable for running. Almost any shoe will work, but I would recommend a stability shoe for extra cushioning. This foot type is the most common. Stability shoes generally have more cushion in the mid sole. You should see equal wear on each side of the shoe with this type of arch.
You have underpronation (supination) This is the least common type of arch and will shoe wear on the outside of the shoe towards the back. It is best to look for shoes with a lot of cushion in the middle of the shoe and have good shock absorption. These shoes tend to be more flexible than others, and make sure to stray from stability shoes, as they may worsen the problem of supination.
Runner’s World has a great database of reviews and ratings an almost every running shoe imaginable. Just follow the link, and check the box for which shoe type you want and it will spit out a ton of information to decide what shoe you want to test out. Runner’s World has also just come out with a Fall Shoe Guide, which depicts the best shoes in each category, along with video reviews.
Whichever way you decide to buy your running shoes, it is extremely important to try them out onsite. Most places will let you do this, so just ask! It also helps to put a different type of shoe on each foot, as this helps with comparison. I hope this short guide has helped you decide what kind of shoes to consider buying or maybe even gave you an idea or two if you were totally clueless about it.