What's the right shoe for you? Motion control? Stability? Cushion?
First, determine if your foot has a high, normal or low arch. You can do this by wetting your foot and stepping on a brown paper bag, or step in your kid’s sand box. Note the shape of your footprint and compare it to the chart below. If you’ve already started walking or jogging, look at your shoes and see how they are wearing.
Those with a high arch tend to wear their shoes out on the outside. Their style is usually an under-pronate (or supinate). Those with a high-arched foot can benefit from a shoe with more cushioning. This type of shoe offers maximum mid-sole cushioning and promotes normal foot movement.
Those with a normal arch can benefit from a stability shoe that offers added support with cushioning. Many good distance-training shoes fall in this category.
Those with a low arch (or flat foot), could use a motion control shoe that serves to stabilize the over-pronation. These shoes also offer rear-foot control and arch support.
If you’re still unsure as to the shoe that’s right for you, go to a running shoe specialty store. These shoe stores are usually staffed by runners who can help you make the right choice.
Road Runner Sports has a neat little tool to help you choose the right running shoe called Shoe Dog. It’s a simple survey that asks questions about your running preferences, foot type, mechanics, weekly mileage and body type. After you answer these multiple-choice questions, Shoe Dog retrieves a list of shoes that are right for you. Check it out.
Once you find the right shoe, stick with it. If you start running more mileage, make sure to note in your exercise log when it’s time to get new shoes (400-500 miles). I can usually tell when the cushioning gets shot, as it translates directly to knee pain. I have a narrow foot with a high arch and Nike Air Pegasus has been my shoe of choice for over 15 years.
While color and style may be important to you, please consider features like stability, motion control, and cushion. The right shoe can make your workouts more comfortable, keep you from getting injured, and ultimately make your habits last for the long-term.
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