Adamant Gear

5 Things to Look For in a Running Shoe

Image Credit: Josiah Mackenzie, Creative Commons

People who run for fun or fitness know just how important it is to choose a pair of adequate running shoes. They can make the running experience so much more comfortable, they can improve the efficiency of a training session, and most importantly, they can prevent injuries. So choosing the right pair is a bigger deal than just looking for the trendiest, best looking, or lowest costing shoes. Not that trends, looks and costs don’t matter – they do, but if you want to make a good choice, they should be second to the five things that are really important.

  1. The Quality of Make

The obvious thing – before you look for anything else in the shoe, you should make sure that it is made of quality materials and assembled properly. With running shoes, synthetic materials are usually a better choice than natural materials. Synthetic leather, for example, takes less time to dry off than real leather. A large part of the surface of running shoes is made from a special kind of synthetic mesh, which is a material that can pass moisture from the inside of the shoe easily and in the same time prevent moisture from getting in. This will allow your sweat to evaporate, and prevent your feet from getting too wet if it rains. The sole should be made of a material that’s comfortable to walk on but in the same time sturdy enough so that it doesn’t wear out after a few running sessions. And all of it has to be put together by some quality seaming or stitching.

  1. The Fit

High quality running shoes, if too big, or not big enough, will not be good running shoes for you. The fit is important, and specialized shoe shops will usually have an instrument that will measure both the length and the width of your feet. So yes, the width is also important. If a running shoe fits well, it should have some room between your longest toe and the shoe, it should grip the heel well, it shouldn’t feel tight and painful on the top, and it shouldn’t be too tight on the sides. When looking for a good fit, it would always be a good idea to do it later in the day, because that’s the time when our feet are largest. They swell during the day, so if a shoe fits perfectly early in the day, it won’t fit so well by 4 or 5pm.

  1. The Running Surface

You need to think about where you plan to do your running. A shoe that’s made to perform well on a treadmill or on a paved track will not perform that well for long on an off road track. That’s why shoes for off road running, also called trail runners, are made differently. They are heavier than regular running shoes, they are not as flexible, and their sole is different, all with shock absorption, extra stability and better traction in mind. On the other hand, the regular track shoes, like those made by Adamant, are lighter, more flexible, and with less pronounced treading on the sole. Using the wrong type of shoe for the wrong surface doesn’t have to cause many problems if it’s done once or twice, but the more you do it, the greater are the chances you’ll get unnecessarily fatigued, or even hurt, by the wrong choice of shoe.

  1. Your Feet

Your feet should have the arch support they need. They should also have the ankle support they need. You should know what kind of arch your feet have – low, high, or normal. If you don’t, you can to a simple test that involves a brown paper bag and some water. If you wet your feet, stand on the bad, and then look at the marks your feet left, you can see how much of the middle part of the print is visible. The more of it visible, the lower your arches are. People with low arches need extra support in the midsole section, while the high and normal arched will need the general cushioning seen on most running shoes. This is important because it will help align your feet and your ankles while you’re running, which will in turn make you run more correctly. This can prevent some of the wear not only on your shoes, but also on your feet and knees.

  1. A Good Feeling

It’s obvious, isn’t it, that running shoes should feel good on your feet. You should always shop at stores what will have a treadmill in them, to allow you to try running for a bit in the shoes you’re planning to buy. You should be doing this because you can’t really judge running shoes by standing or walking around the shop in them. If the shoes are too tight, or too loose, or if they’re making your feet hurt, either adjust the lacing, or try out another shoe if that doesn’t help. Your feet will be doing some heavy work in those shoes, and your feet need to feel good in them.