For frequent runners, having the correct running shoes can be the difference between enjoyment and pain, or health and injury. Many people believe that more expensive running shoes equate to better running shoes, but that is not necessarily the case. You need to find shoes that are the correct fit for you and your specifications, regardless of price. You do not want to pay a fortune for a pair of running shoes simply because of the logo on the side. Even worse is selecting running shoes simply because they are the cheapest, leading to discomfort or injury and the subsequent purchase of new shoes. Choosing running shoes is a highly individual process, and women need to search for different traits than men. Read below for tips on how to select the perfect pair of women's running shoes.
Pronation is the rolling of the foot from the heel to the toe. In other words, it is the manner in which one places their weight on their foot. A neutral pronation is hitting the outside of the heel and moving the weight up evenly across the front of the foot. Underpronation is placing too much emphasis on the outside of the foot, while overpronation is just the opposite. Look inside your shoes to uncover your level or pronation. If the shoe wear is primarily on the inside of the shoe, you overpronate when you walk. If the wear is on the outside, you underpronate.
So what does all of this mean when selecting a running shoe? Well, those who overpronate should seek a running shoe with a straight shape. Underpronators should look for a curved shape, while those with neutral pronation can search for a semi-curved shoe.
In the event that you overpronate and possess flat feet, find a motion-control running shoe. These stop your foot from rolling too far and have a straight shape to provide maximum support. If you have high-arched feet and underpronate, a heavily-cushioned shoe is best for you. These absorb shock by rolling your foot inward, and possess a curved shape to encourage foot motion. They also have very soft midsoles and the least support on the medial side of the shoe. Lastly, if you have normal pronation and arches, a stability running shoe will be your best bet. These are the top combination of cushion and durability, providing support while lasting a long time. Their semi-curved shape allows for more motion.
So how can you determine your foot type? Take the wet test. Wet the bottom of your foot and stand on a paper bag. Examine the mark left on the bag. If you have a low arch, there will not be much empty space in the footprint. The majority of it will be water. If you have a high arch, just the opposite will be true. Note that arch level is correlated with pronation. Those with low arches are generally overpronators, placing too much emphasis on the inside of the foot. High arches cause people to underpronate and place the majority of their weight on the outside of the foot.
Once you know which type of running shoes for which to search, it is time to purchase. Head to a local specialty running store, as these businesses generally have the largest selection of shoes. Make sure the quantity of women's running shoes is large enough to meet your needs. This is particularly true if you have an irregular foot shape, as general shoe retailers are less likely to carry customized shoe options.
You should visit the store as late as possible, when your feet are at their largest. Your feet actually expand as you run. Bring your old pair of running shoes to the store so that the employees can aid you in determining your level of pronation. If you wear orthotics, bring those as well. You need to make sure your new running shoes fit with the orthotics in them.
When trying on your new running shoes, check to make sure they are the correct size by pressing your thumb into the area by your big toe. Your thumb should fit between the end of your big toe and the top of the shoe. Make sure your foot feels secure inside the shoe and will not move around much, but that it is also not too tight. The same goes for the part of the shoe around your heel. If possible, run around a bit in the shoes before purchasing them. You never know how running shoes feel on your feet until you put them to work.