Choosing the right running shoe is an important part of your overall running comfort. It can be the difference between enjoying your run and sustaining long term injury. But how do you choose a shoe?
Surely a running shoe is just a shoe? Not so. Here are a few pointers on what you should consider before you go out and spend money on running shoes.
It’s not for nothing that runners are incredibly loyal about their shoes.
Once you find something, stay with it. Look at what worked in the past.
Comfort is important
Comfort and cushioning are important features to consider when buying a shoe. This might sound obvious to you, but, if the shoe feels rigid, too flexible or narrow, too soft or hard, then rather don’t get it. Your first experience doesn’t guarantee later experience, but if it’s not good then, it’s unlikely that it’ll get better over time.
If you’re a first-time buyer, it’s obviously different. You’ll need to try the shoe on and remember that if it’s not perfectly comfortable when you lace it up, then it probably won’t be comfortable after an hour of running.
Flexibility of the shoe, and even its shape, make just any old cross trainers unsuitable. They also tend not to give much support to the arches.
Many of us are lured by the look of shoe, and by the gadgets and marketing. People want the ‘air’ or the ‘gel’ or any of the array of marketing claims, because they’ve either read about it, or a famous athlete uses the shoe, or they have friends who recommend it. But there are other factors you need to consider too, such as whether or not you tend to pronate.
Do you pronate?
This involves the rotation of the foot outwards during the landing period.
That means that those who pronate land on the outside of the foot (usually at the heel) and then roll in, over towards the big toe. When this happens too much or too fast, there is believed to be a risk of injury because of the weight that joints have to support.
Many people do find that a stability shoe helps them because it does change the movement of the foot. These are the shoes that have a built up inner portion, so that when the foot lands, it is “blocked” from rotating inwards.
If you do this excessively, then you might be better off in these shoes, whereas people who roll in normally are better off in cushioned shoes.
You must be careful not to choose a heavy shoe that restricts movement of the foot.
If you find you are in some pain in your feet after running, rather see The Podiatrist for expert opinion.
How long will your shoes last?
Generally with shoes, one talks about the mileage of the shoe, and not about the time the shoe lasts, for the obvious reason that some people will run once a week, whereas others run six times a week, and so over six months, the shoe is used completely differently!
Even for mileage, it can be difficult, because it depends so much on the runner. Mass is obviously a key factor – 100kg running 8km is going to wear a shoe differently compared to 65kg running 8km.
Mechanics also affect the shoe, because it wears a shoe in different places. Generally, shoes will last 600km as a minimum, more in some people.
The only way to really gauge is when the midsole starts to get so compacted that it loses all its softness. Or, it gets compacted one side, but not the other, so the shoe starts to “lean”. Or the black rubber outsole wears away.
Not the most glamorous injury, but ingrown toenails are easily one of the more common and painful foot problems around.
Also known as onychocryptosis, there are a variety of ways an athlete could suffer from the problem.
Excessive pressure on the outside of the great toe, stubbing or having a toe stepped on, tight socks and shoes, even improper trimming of your nails can cause ingrown toenails.
The pain isn’t easy to deal with, as a soccer player is usually always on their feet.
With rugby, soccer, netball and tennis being a dynamic sport of rapid acceleration and changes in direction, kicking a ball, or landing on the toes with an ingrown toenail can be incredibly painful.
Along with soreness and sensitivity along the margins of the toenails, bacteria and fungi can easily infect the skin.
The foot’s warm and moist environment is a great breeding ground for a variety of infections.
The Podiatrist can treat an infected ingrown toenail immediately. Signs include a discoloured toe with discharge (watery, blood, pus). Any attempts at “home surgery” should not be attempted.
To prevent ingrown toenails, you want to protect the feet from trauma, avoid poorly fitting socks and shoes (too tight or too loose), and always make sure to trim your nails straight across with clippers to a comfortable length on a regular basis.
If uninfected, treat the feet by soaking them in either salt or warm soapy water. Drying them thoroughly, applying a mild antiseptic solution, and bandaging the toe will make a difference.
Visit The Podiatrist (www.thepodiatrist.co.nz)
What is it about children’s feet that make them seem like the fastest-growing part of their body? With the warmer weather approaching, now is the time to start shopping for sandals- for school and casual, you might hope you can stop spending on shoes – at least until the next change of season.
But kids’ feet do grow year round, right along with the rest of them. In fact, a child’s shoe and sock sizes may change every few months.
Comfortable, sturdy shoes are among the most important articles of clothing you’ll buy for your child at any time of year. Ill-fitting shoes can cause
problems that range from minor blisters and discomfort to serious injuries and impaired development.
A pair of well-made shoes can keep children safe from foot problems such as sprains and strains – both in class and on the playground. Unless your child
complains of discomfort, you may not realize he or she needs new shoes. Parents need to be vigilant to ensure kids are wearing shoes that fit properly and
provide the stability and support kids need.
Conduct the time-honored toe test – using your thumb or forefinger to determine where the child’s big toe is inside the shoe – once a month. Inspect
shoes regularly for signs of wear that could compromise their stability. When it’s time to by children’s shoes, here is a simple guideline for parents.
Checking for three different aspects of a shoe’s design makes it easy for parents to distinguish which models are right for their child’s foot friendly.
Here is procedure to follow when buying new shoes:
1. Look for a stiff heel. The heel counter should not collapse when pressed from both sides.
2. Ensure the shoe bends at the toes, but nowhere else.
3. Finally, make sure the shoe does not twist in the middle.
In addition, keep these tips in mind to help ensure kids are wearing comfortable shoes and practicing good foot health:
*Take children with you when you buy their shoes and shop at the end of the day when feet are at their biggest. Every shoe fits differently, and allowing a
child to have a say in the shoe-shopping process can help promote healthy foot care habits down the road.
* Always buy for the larger foot. Feet are rarely the exact same size, so buy a shoe that fits the slightly larger foot.
* Avoid shoes that require a “break-in” period to feel comfortable. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Be sure your child tries on the shoe wearing whatever type of socks or tights they will use with it.
* Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another in the same way. Also, sharing shoes can spread athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
* Whenever possible, purchase shoes at a shoe store staffed by well-trained fitters. An experienced sales person can help relieve worries over getting the proper fit.
If your child’s shoes show uneven wear or wear out on the heels quickly, it could indicate a problem that should be examined by a Podiatrist who
specializes in children’s foot problems.
Contact your local podiatrist: www.thepodiatrist.co.nz
A bunion is an abnormal, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. Your big toe joint becomes enlarged, forcing the toe to crowd against your other toes. This puts pressure on your big toe joint, pushing it outward beyond the normal profile of your foot, and resulting in pain. Bunions can also occur on the joint of your little toe (bunionette).
Bunions can occur for a number of reasons, but a common cause is wearing shoes that fit too tightly. They can also develop as a result of inherited structural defect, injury, stress on your foot or another medical condition.
Often, treatment involves conservative steps that may include changing your shoes, padding your bunion and wearing shoe inserts. Severe cases of bunions may require surgery to relieve the pain.