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Running Faces

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 Running Shoes

I can't run at my age, or with my weight, I get a pain in my shins, my knees are weak, I can't run on the roads.... There are many more reasons I have heard on why you cannot run - believe me - there is a way out for each of those, and as long as you are wearing your attitude, most of it has then got to do with understanding your running style and your feet better and getting some basics on the simplest of running gear - good socks and appropriate running shoes and focusing on your running form.
 Know your feet :

When I was training for my first marathon and went to a running store in Chicago, I was given 4 different running shoes for my foot type - I am flat footed and overpronate severely (I did not know of either), and was asked to wear each and tell the sales rep which one I preferred - they were all white, all much more expensive than anything I had bought so far and I had no clue!! I had chosen running shoes so far based on the colour and low price!!

Know whether you are flat footed, or high arched which gives you a static snapshot of your feet and whether your feet roll inwards a lot when you run (over pronation), which gives you a dynamic view of your gait and is the clincher for deciding what shoes suit you the best. This will arm you with the information you need, to get the most suitable running shoes for your feet. Do not go by what your friend has bought unless you know you have the same type of feet.

A simple test for checking out your arch is the WET TEST - wet your feet, step on a newspaper, and check the imprint. If you only see your heel and toes - then you are high arched and probably need running shoes which will provide you with the stability your feet need. If you see a pretty complete imprint of your feet, then you are flat footed and your feet probably need a 'motion control running shoe' with a hard arch in the midsole - normally a very stiff mid part of the shoe. If you are normal arched then you probably need a normal stability running shoe.


The clincher is whether you overpronate – ie your feet roll in too much or supinate ie your feet do not roll in much. Pronation is your body’s shock absorption system where your foot normally rolls in around 4 degrees at the arch when it comes into contact with the ground, just before lift off. A simple way to educate yourself is, next time you are walking or running in a park – just focus on the people in front of you and see how their feet at rolling inwards. You will also start noticing some really worn out shoes. The next step is to either run and view yourself in front of a mirror, or get someone to take a video of your foot contact on the floor – from the rear, or get someone to run behind you and talk to you about your pronation. The other is to flip your 3-6 month old running shoes over and see where they are worn out. If it is more worn out in the inner sides, you are probably overpronating and need an appropriate shoe.

OverThe thumb rule for starters is – MOST flat footed people tend to overpronate – and most high arched people tend to supinate. So for starting off, the wet test may be good, but for future and more researched buys, definitely check your stance and gait. That will really get you to enjoy your runs. Educate strangers in the park too about what they need to do about their shoes. Most will appreciate you for it.

When we buy jeans, we look for hip, waist, length, inseam and a whole load of other things. We never look down to the soles of our feet. But we suggest you do the wet test above, once, choose your running shoes, and experience the difference.

Get yourself the right running shoes - it may be the best investment you've made yet. Remember - the most expensive running shoes are not necessarily the best for you. This was also highlighted in a study in the UK

Also, ideally have 2 running shoes to alternate each day of your runs. DO NOT run in shoes for longer than 400-500 miles at a max (600-800 km) depending on your weight. Heavier people should change their running shoes within 400 miles. You were born with only one pair of feet - look after them.

Shoe Get a basic understanding of what type of a foot you have and what it's needs are in terms of shoe support etc. so that you can do a better job of asking for an appropriate type of running shoe when you get to your purchase decision. Also - unfortunately, many of the reps in shoe stores are not very knowledgeable about running shoes for the different feet types, so it's best you do a quick check on the runnersworld link, and then check out the shoe models for your foot type in the US sites of Nike, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, Brooks, Asics, Mizuno - or whatever other brand you may be considering,(or just look at the table and shoe finder below) and then go to a multibrand outlet and try on the shoes.

Also focus on running form

This is as critical and at some times even more important than your foot arch and the amount you pronate.
If you are a heel striker - see how you can review landing on your mid foot and the leaning forward while running and wearing a thinner sole shoe may work towards getting you to land more on the mid foot.

If you land on your mid foot then buying a neutral shoe may be worth trying out even if you over pronate
experiment on improving your form in your shorter runs and also get to understand what type of shoe better suits you.

  1. Understand your foot type with the water/newspaper test outlined above .
  2. Feet swell over the course of the day or while running for a while, so it’s better to shop in the evenings, wearing the socks in which you would run. Shoe sizes and widths vary by brands, so definitely check out a few, more by fit than by size number alone.
  3. In the stores, try on, and walk in, several pairs. Insert your thumb between your heel and the shoe—there should be wiggle space. The fit of the running shoe should not be snug. Do not listen to sales talk that the shoe will loosen up with wear.
  4. Learn from the first store and then check out the next.
  5. Do not assume that the most expensive running shoe is the best for you—many in the USD 60-100 (Rs 2,500-4,000) range could be just right for you.

You have only one pair of feet which is taxed every single day of your life. Buy shoes that are designed for YOUR feet and will protect them, keeping you comfortable. You will be amazed at how many pains and aches suddenly disappear, your feet no longer ache in the evening, or you no longer have aching shins during light exercise.

and understand the process of what to look for in a shoe when you go to a store
Try some barefoot running or minimalist shoes for your running too - it definitely helps to mix and match your running surfaces and shoes and focus on form and get more aware of how you run and what works best for you.
Now that you have your shoes which are best suited for your feet you may still find you have an issue as you may have wide toes, or the shoe heel is a bit loose, or you are high arched and the top of your foot rubs against the tongue of the shoe.
See how a simple variation in lacing can go a long way in helping you.

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