Running is a great cardiovascular exercise and has become a popular workout for both men and women alike. Runners put many miles (and stress) on their feet. A problem with your feet can throw your entire body out of balance and have an effect on your results at Keystone Chiropractic. This is why when it comes to running shoes, it is important to find the right type for YOU.

What to Consider BEFORE you buy:

How far and often will you be running? If you are a casual runner (less than ten miles per week), then a good, basic running shoe will be fine. However, if you are training for a marathon, consider making a true investment in your running shoes for optimal performance. In both instances though, make sure you are buying a pair of shoes that match and support your foot the right way.

What type of arch do you have? Those with a high arch, need a running shoe with a curved shape. If you have an average arch, a semi-curved shoe might be the best fit. Those with a low arch or flat feet need a straight shape shoe.

Understand pronation, which is the rolling of the foot from heel to toe through the foot strike. A proper or neutral pronation is hitting the outside of the heel and up to ball of your foot evenly across the front. This is how your foot reduces the stress of impact. Underpronation means that the outside of your foot takes most of the shock instead of finishing in the neutral position. Overpronation is too much roll across from the outside to the inside of your foot.

To determine your level of pronation, look at the shoes you walk or run in. Most everyone will begin on the outside of the heel, the real indicator is the wear on the forefoot. If most of the shoe wear is:

• On the medial (inside) side then you Overpronate

• On the lateral (outside) side then you Underpronate

• Uniform across the forefoot then you have a Neutral Stride

Where will you be running? Most people run on pavement or sidewalks, so most running shoes are designed with this in mind. However, if you are going to be running on uneven or softer surfaces (such as dirt trails or grass), look at shoes intended for those kinds of surfaces.

What is your running style? The way you run, the motion of your stride and how your foot strikes the ground has great bearing on the type of running shoe you need. When your foot comes in contact with the ground, what hits fits? The inside of your forefoot? The center of your heel? The outside of your heel? Where your foot hits is where you need more support.

What to Consider WHEN You Shop:

Shop later in the day. Throughout the day your feet swell and when you run they also swell. When trying on the shoe, make sure there is a full thumb width between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe and that the ball of your foot matches where it should be in the shoe. In a properly fit running shoe, the toe box will allow the toes to move freely. The heel should not slip or rub against the shoe and the sole should flex with ease where the foot flexes.

Get measured. Find a store that specializes in running shoes. Typically, they will have a good knowledge of foot mechanics and will be able to help you make a decision on the best shoe for you. Check out our friends at Heartland Soles or Fleet Feet Sports Des Moines.

Consider orthotics. In some cases, no matter how well a shoe is made or functions, it is still not good for a persons foot. In these situations I recommend orthotics which will usually make up for the lost support in the shoe. We have found a specific brand that works very well for most people and is very inexpensive.. They are not as customized as most orthotics but work almost as well.

Think functionality NOT fashion. Runners have a wide selection of styles, colors and levels of comfort from which to choose when looking at running shoes. Remember, whether you are a casual runner or a serious runner, comfort and excellent support are essential for the best performance!

As always, if you have questions about your running shoes, don’t hesitate to ask us. A properly fitted and supportive shoe (running or otherwise) is critical to help support proper load bearing of the body’s joints and along with structural corrective care can help you avoid future injuries.