We have all been told for several years now that we have to be very careful when buying new training shoes, as the ‘correct’ ones can prevent injuries or lessen their severity, and the ‘wrong’ ones can cause or worsen them. In reality, the findings of the numerous research articles on the subject just do not support this notion at all. In light of the lack of evidence to support the manufacturers’ claims, I’ve written some training shoe advice tips here to help you make the right choice.
If the shoes you’re replacing have served you well, get onto Google and see what style of shoe they are. If you do that you’ll have an idea of what works well before you walk into the shop and get bombarded with terms like ‘neutral’, ‘stability’, ‘cushioned’, ‘motion control’ and ‘free running’.
As a general rule, once you get to the shop and start trying shoes, your overriding consideration should be comfort. Even if you are told that a particular type of training shoe is right for you, if it’s not comfortable, you should pick something else. Each brand will have their own differences so it may be that the style of shoe is good for you, but you may just need to try a few different brands to see what shoe feels best. Make sure you buy from a retailer that gives you the chance to have a decent run on a treadmill so that you can get a good idea of how the shoes feel.
Don’t obsess about the weight of a shoe. Even if you’re looking to break a PB in a race it shouldn’t be your main worry. 30g Of extra cushioning may help keep you in the best form for keeping free of injuries during training runs and that benefit will far outweigh any tiny saving in your per-mile split during a race.
Remember that even the rule around how often you should replace your shoes varies. Of course, if you are doing lots of miles in them, the cushioning and other support elements will wear-out quicker. However, it should also be remembered that a heavier runner will put more energy through the shoe and wear the cushioning quicker. Storing the shoes in a damp environment would also cause the cushioning to deteriorate.
Finally, even when you have bought your new shoes, don’t just discard your old ones. One nugget that seems to come from the research is that alternating your shoes periodically may help prevent injuries. If you buy new shoes and subsequently get an injury, dust-off the old shoes (assuming they are still wearable) and see if they appear to lessen the symptoms.
We can offer training shoe advice in person and help many runners in and around Bristol, for more information, please get in touch. Happy running!