What should one look for in a running shoe and how do I knw when they need to be replace?
Regardless of how many features a shoe has, if it doesn’t fit properly, it won’t perform the way it should. Every shoe fits differently, so understanding why your favourite shoes feel so good on your feet is the best way to determine your individual fit issues.
Running shoes are divided into 4 main categories:
Recommended for runners with low arches who are moderate to severe overpronators and who need maximum stability and support on the medial (arch) side of their shoes. Best suited for bigger runners who need plenty of support and durability.
Recommended for runners who are mild to moderate overpronators and who generally have low to normal arches. These runners tend to need a shoe with a combination of good support and midsole cushioning.
Recommended for runners who need maximum midsole cushioning and minimum medial support. These shoes are best for biomechanically efficient runners (with minimum pronation) and midfoot or forefoot strikers with high or normal arches.
Recommended either for racing or, if you’re biomechanically efficient, for training. They have varying degrees of support and cushioning, but they’re generally lighter (most weigh under 300 grams) and fit like a glove.
How does one know when to replace the old running shoes?
Ideally, you want to purchase a new pair of running shoes before they lose their effectiveness, which is around 650 to 800 kilometres.
It’s a big range but that’s because you, not just the shoes, are part of the equation. If you land hard on your heels or are a big runner, you’ll wear down a shoe faster than lighter runners or midstrikers do. So go by feel; if the cushioning feels worn, it probably is. Or look at the sole. If the rubber on the side or bottom is worn, it’s time for a new pair.
The onset of more-than-usual aches can also signal that a new pair is in order (overdue, actually). If you need shoes before a race, get them a month prior to work out their rigidity.
As for the best time of day to shop, it does not really matter, but it’s true that your feet will be slightly larger late in the day, but running shoes are designed to accommodate foot swelling.