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How to Choose the Best Running Shoes - Suggestions From the Guru

How to Choose the Best Running Shoe for You

Choosing the proper running shoes ensures that people are rewarded with all the benefits of running without the risk of injury to their bodies. As there is no single, best running shoe, it is important for runners, and especially the beginner runner, to determine what kind of feet they have so that they can make educated decisions about what shoes will fit their individual running needs.

Feet Types:

There are three types of feet: flat, neutral and high arch. The arch of one's feet, or lack there of, determine their pronation; pronation describes the way in which one's feet hit the ground and roll, while they are running. The ideal pronation is that from the neutral feet type; the outside part of the heel should make contact and roll in 15%, distributing the impact without stressing any body parts, then evenly push from the front of the foot off the ground. It is important for shock absorption that this happen, so people with overpronation (rolls in more than 15%) or underpronation or supination (rolls in less than 15%) need shoes to help them attain a proper running stride.

Diagnose Feet Type:

For the beginner, it is important to start by self-diagnosing feet type. One way to determine whether or not people have flat, neutral or high arch feet is by doing the "wet feet test"; for this test, one must step out of the shower and onto a paper bag, flat on the floor; if the whole foot is showing on the print, one has flat feet; if the foot print goes in halfway from the ball of the foot to the center, one has neutral feet; if the print shows just the ball, heel and a slight connection between the two, one has high arched feet. For a more accurate reading, take the "gait test"; this test reads a runner's foot strike, like a fingerprint. The runner runs on a treadmill with specific recognition apparatus that registers and analyzes the stance, loading, mid-stance, toe off and swing of each individual runner so that their shoes are guaranteed to fit their running style and feet.

Best Running Shoes:

Previously, runners had to choose between stability, cushioning and motion control shoes. Motion control shoes are now being abandoned, so runners can select between stability and cushioned running shoes, depending on the their individual needs. The best fit shoe depends on everything from one's weight, foot shape and biomechanics to the type of surfaces they run on. In other words, there is no universal "perfect" shoe. Everyone has specific needs that must be matched to determine the best shoes for them. The ideal shoes provide the right amount of shock absorption and help guide over/under pronators towards the ideal pronation, resulting in less pain and, therefore, less injury.

Cushioned shoes are for runners who have high arches. These shoes provide cushioning support in the midsole, because this part of their foot never hits the ground. Cushioned shoes encourage the foot to move, because they are more flexible in material and shape.

Stability shoes are for runners with flat to neutral feet, because they provide a blend of cushioning, support and durability. The inner curve of the shoe is made with a denser support to prevent wear and tear that occurs from overpronation. Their are higher stability shoes available for persons with flatter feet and moderate stability for those with more neutral feet.