Running shoes are essential for every runner. If you are a beginner, shoes are actually the only thing that you really, really have to take care of, before you start training.
Shoes are really important. All the extra stuff - special T-shirts, track suits, and sweatshirts are things that you can use, but you don’t have to. Once more, shoes are essential. Regular running puts a burden on your feet, and if you don’t have proper shoes, your feet will suffer (especially if you run on hard surfaces like concrete).
You cannot start running with your old, used sneakers or, even worse, with shoes not designed for running. Bad shoes cause tiredness, abrasions, pains (joints and even spine) and injuries.
Construction of a running shoe
There is a really vast selection of running shoes nowadays. Thanks to technological progress, sport shoes have a complex structure. Let’s look at the structure of the shoe:
During running, this part of the shoe touches the ground. It’s made of hard and firm rubber with proper tread to provide good traction. Think about the surface you are going to run on. There are differences between running shoes designed for asphalt or track and shoes designed for outdoor and field running. Shoes designed for uneven and soft surfaces have deeper tread providing even better traction.
This is a very important part of the running shoe. It is the layer between the outsole and the upper section. It ensures stability during running and cushions the foot as it hits the ground. For better shock absorption, there are additional elements under the heel, such as gel, silicon or air cushions. In the instep area, there are reinforcements preventing injuries to feet and tendons.
The upper section
This last element of the shoe holds the foot firmly inside. It is usually made of leather or synthetic materials. Thanks to modern technology, this layer of the shoe ensures good ventilation and stops the foot from excessive sweating. The upper part has to be soft and comfortable or it may cause abrasions or corns. On the other hand, the part holding the heel should be stiff and hard.
The choice isn’t easy. It is difficult to find shoes that really fit. Professional runners choose shoes that fit them after much trial and error. In order to make it easier for ourselves, we should go to a shop with professional service. The staff will help in selecting shoes that fit the feet and the running style.
Of course you cannot rely only on the experience of the salesperson. There are some things that every beginner should know about running shoes:
- It is good to buy shoes in the afternoon when feet are tired and swollen. While running, feet will also get swollen, and your shoes should allow for this.
- When trying on new shoes, you should wear the same type of socks you’ll use when running.
- You should always try on both shoes. Most people’s feet are slightly different sizes, and your shoes have to fit the bigger foot.
- Shoes have to be large enough to allow the big toe space for movement, but on the other hand the heel has to be tight.
- Heels shouldn’t move in the shoe while running. The shoe should not graze the Achilles tendon - it’s bad for the tendon and for the shoe itself.
- Shoes have to fit immediately. Don’t expect them to stretch and adjust to your feet in time. Running shoes should fit immediately - they are durable and don’t stretch.