24 Jan Dillon’s Running Shoe Guide
Dillon’s Running Shoe Guide
With the variety of shoes on the wall of a your typical Running Shoe store..it’s difficult to know where to start when choosing a new pair of trainers or racers. Here’s a quick guide to what you should be looking for.
What’s the best Shoe?
The best shoe for you will be the one that suits your own personal criteria…and that decision should be based on the amount of CUSHIONING you need, your FOOT MECHANICS and the ERGONOMICS of the shoe itself. Any discussion around one manufacturer being better than another is superfluous as they’re all good!…but it’s you that counts!
Shoes are generally categorized by the amount of cushioning they have – minimum, moderate, maximum. The amount of cushioning you need in your shoes will depend on the FREQUENCY of your training, the INTENSITY of your training and your BODY TYPE.
So if, for example, you are training every day for a long distance race and are ‘well built’!, you should probably look for a shoe with maximum cushioning. On the other hand, if your training is less frequent, focused on the shorter distances/races and you look like Rosie you will probably need a lot less cushioning!
Obviously there are exceptions – and I’m not going to get involved in the barefoot/minimalist discussion or why most pro marathoners race in shoes weighing 200 grams! – but these are the basic guidelines.
Shoes are also categorized into what they do to ‘correct’ your foot mechanics on each stride. All feet naturally ‘pronate’ when you walk (or run). That is – from an initial heel strike the ankle drops inwards so that the foot can evenly distribute the weight of the body – the foot then rolls forward for the push off from the toes.
Under Pronator – Neutral Shoes
If your ankle doesn’t drop inwards very much and your foot rolls forward using more of the outside of the foot – you are said to be an under-pronator. So called Neutral shoes suit this type of foot mechanics as they help guide the foot through its natural motion.
Normal Pronator – Stability Shoes
If your ankle drops inwards ‘normally’ then Stability shoes are the right choice. Here again the shoe doesn’t actually ‘correct’ the foot mechanics, rather it supports and guides it through its normal action.
Over Pronator – Motion Control Shoes
If your ankle drops inwards a lot then Motion Control shoes are the right choice. This type of shoe does actually ‘correct’ the foot mechanics as it inhibits the foot from collapsing on the instep.
NB: To find out what type of pronator you are….ask us!…or do a wet foot test. Typically, Under Pronators will have high arches and Over Pronators will have none! So wet your foot and then stand on a dark tile or piece of dark paper and look at the imprint. If your heel and forefoot are connected by a thin line of your outstep you’ll be an Under Pronator. If all you see is a big splodge, you’ll be an Over Pronator!
Finally, shoes are different shapes…and so are your feet! – so finding the right match is also pretty important if you want to avoid all the injury niggles and blisters etc! It’s probably wrong to generalize….but here are some generalizations about the ergonomics of the top manufacturers!!
Asics – suit feet with regular to narrow heels and wider forefeet.
Brooks – suit feet with a regular shape from heel through to forefoot.
Nike – suit slightly wider feet from heel to forefoot and with squarish toes.
Saucony – suit narrower feet
Hopefully you’ll now have an idea of what you need to focus on when you go shoe hunting. To help you further, I’ve categorized the available brands and models of shoes below. I recommend that you look at the offerings from the ‘Big 4’ first (Asics, Brooks, Nike, Saucony). That’s not to say that Adidas, Mizuno, Pearl Izumi, K-Swiss etc don’t make good shoes….just that you’ll get close to a perfect fit faster if you concentrate on trying out the major brands first.
I can always help you at any of our training sessions with some gait analysis etc…so please ask!
Motion Control Shoes
Brooks Beast (Men)
Brooks Ariel (Women)
Mizuno Wave Rider
Nike Zoom Structure
Saucony Stabil CS2
Nike Free Run
Asics DS Trainer
Brooks Pure Cadence