Going running? Here’s everything you need to know about running shoes

Running’s a great way to get fit and minimize stress – but it can be hard on your body. Make sure you select the right shoes for you with these top tips.

Running has been proven to lower anxiety and lift your mood; it’s excellent at improving your fitness and overall tone, burns lots and lots of calories, has been proven to be good for your heart health and will strengthen your joints over time.

Perhaps the best part of building running into your regular regime is that it is pretty much fuss-free.

No membership fees, busy class timetables, or expensive equipment required – depending on your lifestyle, location, and workload – you’ll be able to hit the pavement when and where it suits you.

Though while you won’t need to lay down lots of cash for gear – having a great pair of running shoes that suit your body and the style of running you like to do is very important. Bad shoes can mean bad form, which will have a long-term effect on joints and muscles.

We spoke to Saucony’s running expert Chris Adams about all the things to look for when picking out your next pair of joggers.

What are some of the key things we should be looking for when selecting a running shoe?

Shoe selection is a very individual process for any consumer looking to purchase a new pair of running shoes. Some of the features that are important to look out for include:

  1. The type of cushioning in the midsole of the shoe – some runners prefer a soft, bouncy ride while others enjoy a firmer more responsive feel underfoot.
  2. The type of running the shoe has been designed for. Make sure it suits your intended use. Are you going to be running slow easy kilometres? Tackling the trails? Or racing in a marathon? This will help you narrow down your selections.
  3. Invest in a shoe that has virtually seam-free material in the upper. This will reduce the chance of blistering and ensure more enjoyment on the run! Mesh uppers also permit the heat to escape from inside the shoe allowing the foot to breathe.

Where possible always look to try at least three shoes from different brands when in store. Your foot can change over time, as does the technology in the shoes. It’s important to get a good appreciation for the different fit and feel that each brand provides. 

In some cases, your local run specialty store will allow you to run in the store to test the shoes before you make a purchase.

So how does this change depending on the style of running we do?

All major shoe brands create footwear for different surfaces and types of running. For example, if selecting a shoe for trail running you should be looking for an outsole designed with aggressive treads that will help you with traction and a midsole that protects you from the rocks and roots you encounter on the trails.

Should our shoe change based on our body type?

In some instances, it may be more beneficial to select a shoe that has a certain level of cushioning and support to match our own body type.

This may be appropriate if a high percentage of running is going to be on concrete pathways where the impact of running (three to five times our body weight) is felt the most.

How long should a running shoe last (how many kms before it’s time for a new pair)?

In the industry, it is expected that you should get around 800-1000kms from a high mileage trainer. For recreational runners, this may take six to 12months to accumulate.

It’s hard to definitively put an exact number on the life of a shoe, as there are several other factors that will affect its wear. These are the types of surfaces you run on, your weight and your running gait.

What else should we wear to optimise our running time – skins, tights, or just whatever we feel most comfortable in?

Look good, feel good, I always say! As we move closer to summer and the warmer months, it’s great to have a comfortable performance apparel outfit that will help wick the moisture away from the body, to keep you cool and dry.

These garments are very lightweight and don’t retain sweat like non-performance fabrics such as cotton. Performance fabrics are found in running tees, singlets, tights and shorts, and can be found at all good run specialty or sporting goods stores.

Read our beginners guide to running here, or see our top tips to prepare for your next big race here

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