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What do think is the best way to choose a Running Shoe?

A good pair of fresh running shoes can make all the difference.  Stores that specialize in fitting you specifically in running athletic shoes are very beneficial for finding jus the right pair for your unique foot.  Yes, there is a difference as to what is the best shoe for different people based on such things as foot type, running style and terrain that you run on most frequently. Often actually taking a few laps down the side walk in front of the store will help finalize a comfort fit.

Skipping the proper footwear or running in shoes past their prime can cause a wealth of issues such as discomfort, pain and injuries such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, irritated nerves or the loss of a toenail, warned Dr. Christina Rowe-Bauer, a podiatrist with Penn State Health Sports Medicine.

A good pair of running shoes can make all the difference.
https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=223382

2 Responses
Avatar universal
Okay, nobody offered.  You did some work to start a conversation, so here's something, anyway.  Running shoes are not well understood.  A lot of research shows that wearing running shoes is a bad idea to start with, because the arch supports and cushioning over time weakens the muscles of the foot.  Running barefoot or in sandal-like shoes, as humans did for most of our history, preserves the natural arch and strengthens the muscles.  But, we don't run on soft soil anymore, we run largely on paved surfaces, and running barefoot on these or in so-called minimalist shoes will lead to mashed feet and plantar fasciitis.  It would be nice if we could all go back to when we first started running in those over-padded shoes and not do it, but once you start using them, your feet can't just go back to running barefoot again -- you would have to build the muscles back up slowly.  But as long as we're going to run on treadmills and pavement and not on grass and dirt, we'll probably need those padded shoes and not the minimalist approach.  Okay, at least someone said something.  
2 Comments
Well, thank you for responding.  :>)  Trial and error often leads to knowing what works best for your foot and replacing running shoes in a timely manner.  Many leg issues develop from shoes that are worn out as all of them have a certain mileage that once surpassed renders the support the shoe gives dead.  

I'd recommend anyone interested in running whether competitively or for your leisure and daily exercise to visit a shop with people trained to fit you and try the shoes out in the store or parking lot.  

One thing I've learned over time is that breaking shoes in really doesn't need to happen. The right shoes usually are immediately fairly comfortable.  

Again, thanks for the conversation.
I recommend breaking in shoes before a race or a very long run.  I usually will try to get a few shorter runs in (5-7 miles) before attempting a long run (15-20 miles) in a new pair of shoes, and I try to get a couple long runs in before attempting a marathon in new shoes.  I also will wear new running shoes out on errands or just walking for a couple days before I start to run in them - but everyone is different and maybe not everyone needs to do this.  (I have experienced new shoe related foot pain when I've pushed the distance on the first run in new shoes and even when the shoes feel great for most of my runs in them, they need sometimes need some miles on them before my feet are happy).  
Avatar universal
It's hard to offer running shoe advice because everyone's feet (and legs and hips, and how they walk and run) are different, and what works well for one person might not work well for someone else.

As someone who has consistently run about 30 to 50 miles a week for the past 17-18 years (recently it is 60 miles plus for marathon training), I have gone through a lot of running shoes.  I have had most of the normal overuse running related problems in the past (probable stress fracture in foot, shin splints, achilles tendonitis, runners knee, IT band problems, hamstring issues) - but I wouldn't blame those on bad running shoes as much as training too much or increasing mileage too quickly, lack of experience, and part of the running learning process is learning when little problems might become bigger problems and the need for pulling back a bit before they do become bigger problems.  

I think if you are just starting running, going to a specialty running store and having a running shoes specialist fit you is a great idea.  I have never done that, and I usually pick running shoes by trying them on, bouncing up and down a few times, and deciding if they feel right or not.  I still do this.

About two years ago I switched from a shoe with a lot of cushioning to one with slightly less cushioning, and so far I have felt much better in those on runs and have not had any running related injuries despite ramping up my mileage.  Some people need more cushioning though, and some people do better with "barefoot" running shoes.  I look for shoes where I have a little extra space in the toes (toes not near touching the front of the shoe), and some shoes are wider in the forefoot than others.  A lot of people need some room for the toes to spread out a bit when they run, and for me it has been trial and error finding what works.  (Error ends up with damaged toenails and other misfortunes on 20 mile plus runs).

I think probably the biggest impact for me when I switched from a lot of cushioning to slightly less cushioning is that I stopped "overstriding"(foot lands in front of the hip), and while I now take probably smaller strides, my foot lands directly beneath my hips, and seems to be working out well for me with fewer running injuries.  (Sometimes I trip on sidewalks or fall while walking over a curb while running and twist my ankle, but that isn't necessarily a "running" injury).  

I also go through shoes pretty quickly (I am training for my second marathon this year, I'm up to 260 miles a month, and most shoes last about 300-500 miles, so I can't afford to replace costly shoes every 1.5 - 2 months).  I look for shoes that are below $100, and usually go for the older, usually marked down model instead of the newest, current model.  I do make sure to buy shoes specifically designed for running - and so far what works for me for running has always been around the $80-120 price range before being marked down.  My sister (who runs slightly less than me) has had the same expensive ($150 plus) pair of running shoes for years and swears by them, but I tend to wear shoes out pretty quickly.  (I know my shoes are toast when I start having random foot or knee pain).

I am on my 8th or 9th pair of running shoes that are same style shoe (although different models because those seem to change every year), and I keep getting more of the same style because I feel great running in them.  I'm open to trying different shoes, but since I know what works for me, I stick with that.

Towards the very bottom of my list is color.  Most styles of shoes come in a variety of colors, and I usually go with what is cheapest, although I tend to like very brightly colored running shoes for visibility reasons.  There are certain colors (tan/beige/completely black) that just don't fit with what I like and I'll avoid, even if they are super cheap.   I mention this, because if you have shoes that you like to look at or go well with an outfit, it might encourage you to get out the door more often.

As for whether barefoot running versus modern cushioned running shoes are better - that's a whole debate in itself.  A large part of running is the ability for the foot (arch) to flatten and then spring back as you run which propels you forward, so high arch supports can inhibit this spring like motion, and forces that are absorbed in the feet end up being absorbed in other places like knees and hips.  But just because a shoe has some cushioning doesn't mean it is inhibiting this springlike motion.  Many people are natural heel strikers, and while there is some debate as to whether heel striking or forefoot striking is "the correct way to run", both are natural ways of running and one isn't necessarily "wrong".  So running with shoes on with a lot of padding or minimalist shoes are both fine but might not work for everyone.  There are many elite runners from Africa that grow up running barefoot and switch to shoes as they become professionals - I'm not sure how much "strength in the foot" is lost switching to shoes as long as foot is allowed to spring like it should.  (Mine still springs, even in my moderately cushioned shoes).

I think people getting out and running in general is great, especially if you have never run before.  Find shoes that are comfortable, affordable, and that you like to wear when you run and then go out and run.  If you are just beginning running don't be intimidated and just try and see what works for you.
7 Comments
I think those who switch when they become professionals do so because they have to -- you're not allowed to run barefoot in higher competition, is what I think it is.  But they've already built up so much foot strength over a lifetime.  I've never been a distance runner, and I haven't been able to run at all for years.  Can't hardly walk, actually.  Too many injuries and medication reaction that stopped me from being able to sleep anymore.  It took its toll.  But I played a lot of basket ball, ran, did martial arts, and a lot of gym activities, plus had a job that required being on my feet all the time for many hours a day.  Because I grew up in southern California, we all pretty much went barefoot much of the time, and I started playing playground basketball and running in my very calloused and strong bare feet.  But then I discovered running shoes -- this was a ton of years ago -- because when I was growing up, sports shoes meant flat canvas sneakers, not a padded running shoe.  And I loved the running shoes, and wore them for everything.  Got the basketball shoes.  In kung fu, we wore very thin shoes for working out, just enough to protect the toes but no padding.  I've got injuries everywhere now, but not from running shoes.  Now, if you're a marathon runner, you're in a different world than us recreational runners.  Marathons are intentionally unhealthy -- what would you expect from a race started by a Greek soldier who died from the exertion?  They're more to prove oneself.  I had a money problem as well, and wore shoes until they wore out, at which point they became work shoes.  Never had a problem.  But I did have one big problem -- the manufacturers started changing the shoes every six months, so you could never buy the same shoes twice.  Once that started, it became ridiculously expensive and time consuming to buy shoes.  I have plantar fasciitis, and have been put in some odd shoes that I think wrecked my hips.  The basketball and martial arts took their toll as well.  Again, it wasn't the shoes.  Got the plantar fasciitis when I could no longer run because of bad knees, back and neck on an elliptical machine, if you can believe that.  Once you're in physical therapy, well, they tell you never run.  I miss it.  I really miss it. I say all this just to show, the above is right on that we're all different and have to find our shoe and our proper habits.  I shopped at an elite running store, and there is a difference.  I recommend it for serious runners.  But I do have to say, if you run, when you get old, you will have a big chance of paying the price.  You gotta love it so it's worth it.  All the best.  
The real story of the first marathon runner, Pheidippides, is much more complicated than he ran 25 miles and then died...

From Dean Karnazes's Runner's World article on Pheidippides (https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a20836761/the-real-pheidippides-story/):

"The story that everyone is familiar with is that of Pheidippides running from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce Greek victory, a distance of about 25 miles. But first he ran from Athens to Sparta, to gather Spartan troops to help the Athenians in combat against the Persians. The distance was much more than a single marathon, more like six marathons stacked one upon the other, some 150 miles. …
After a brief catnap and some food, he awoke before sunrise and set out on the return trip—about 150 miles back to Athens...
If Pheidippides had failed in his 300-mile ultramarathon, what has been called the most critical battle in history might have been lost. Thus was the battle ultimately waged and won at Marathon."

So, yes, he died after running a long distance, under pressure, but it certainly was much more than 25 miles, although it is the much shorter run that people reference when talking about his death.


I don't know if running marathons is inherently unhealthy -- there are pros and cons to pretty much everything we do, and our bodies are designed (have evolved) to cover long distances on foot quite well.  I run because it helps keep my anxiety under control and keeps my mood more stable.  It also helps keep my weight at a reasonable level (but I have thyroid problems and have spent a lot of time with hypothyroidism, so my metabolism tends to be very slow if I'm not moving).  I've also briefly been on anti-anxiety medication (Zoloft) twice in my life, and I find running much better for me with fewer side effects.

Does running marathon cause arthritis?  I've spoken to a lot of older folks (I'm 39) who have had to stop running due to arthritis, but the actual numbers don't support running causing knee arthritis.

If you look up information on arthritis and running, you might be surprised.  From a website describing a scientific article on this topic:
https://prevailpt.com/2019/07/12/running-does-not-cause-knee-arthritis/

"A systematic review2 of 25 previously published papers encompassing more than 125,000 individuals revealed that the overall prevalence of hip and knee OA is 10.2% in non-runners, 3.5% in “recreational” runners and 13.3% in “competitive” runners (defined as professional, elite or ex-elite athletes).

In other words, running (for the grand majority of us) is NOT shown to be causally related to onset of knee OA. Let’s say that again. Recreational runners develop knee OA at one-third the rate of sedentary people. "

The article they are referring to is: Alentorn-Geli, Eduard et.al. “The Association of Recreational and Competitive Running with Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 2017 47:6, 373-390

Most marathon runners are recreational runners, not training as professional or elite athletes.  Whether marathon runners have more arthritis versus half-marathon runners or 5K runners, I'm not finding any info to support that.  The study I have found specifically looking at marathon runners shows a lower rate of arthritis in marathoners versus non-runners.

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2018 Jan 17;100(2):131-137. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.16.01071.
Low Prevalence of Hip and Knee Arthritis in Active Marathon Runners.
Ponzio DY1, Syed UAM1, Purcell K1, Cooper AM1, Maltenfort M1, Shaner J1, Chen AF1.
Author information
1
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

"RESULTS:
Marathoners (n = 675) with a mean age of 48 years (range, 18 to 79 years) ran a mean distance of 36 miles weekly (range, 10 to 150 miles weekly) over a mean time of 19 years (range, 3 to 60 years) and completed a mean of 76 marathons (range, 5 to 1,016 marathons). Hip or knee pain was reported by 47%, and arthritis was reported by 8.9% of marathoners. Arthritis prevalence was 8.8% for the subgroup of U.S. marathoners, significantly lower (p < 0.001) than the prevalence in the matched U.S. population (17.9%) and in subgroups stratified by age, sex, body mass index (BMI), and physical activity level (p < 0.001)."

I'm sure there are plenty of cons for marathon running as well, but what I hear most is that it will screw up my knees and hips, and that is not necessarily true.  My mom has and my maternal grandfather had osteoarthritis in the knees.  Neither of them is/was a runners but I have a higher chance of getting OA in my knees due to genetics than due to my running,  One benefit running has given me is to keep my weight at a healthy level for long stretches of my adulthood, hopefully keeping my OA risk lower - both my mom and grandfather have carried an extra 20-30 pounds of weight for most of their adult lives - not incredibly overweight, but years of a little extra weight can make a big difference on the knees.

I just thought I would share this since many, many people I talk think I am damaging my knees by the amount of running I do.  I am not ignoring the fact that I take about 50,000 steps in a marathon or over 30,000 on some of my weekly long runs, and each of those steps puts 3-5x my body weight on each knee.  I do my best to strengthen my calves, quads, and glutes to take pressure off my knees, and I am trying my best (it is hard with hypothyroidism) to get my BMI down from about 23 to the 21-22 range, because every extra pound body weight I have puts 3-5 pounds of pressure on my knees.  But... I am training for my 5th marathon and after losing 30 pounds in 2017 (gained due to hypothyroidism) and having two surgeries to remove my thyroid in 2018, I am probably in better shape and more prepared for this upcoming marathon than I was in 2012 and 2013 when I ran the first three, at the same or a lighter weight than I am now.  


That was really interesting about the so-called first marathon runner.  I really only mentioned it to be funny, as I always assumed that if that event actually occurred, and we have no idea if it did and if it did what the accurate distance actually was, that the guy was probably exhausted from fighting when he started.  Today's marathon runners are so much better trained and prepared, and much better fed than soldiers in an ancient army.  Arthritis isn't the main problem with marathon running.  Athletic activity of all kinds tends to reduce arthritis, but that's just one problem and it's more common in sedentary people.  The main problem with running in general is the pounding -- that's what hurts the feet and the knees and the hips and the neck and everything else.  Some people are incredibly strong and will have no problems, but most will get an increasing rate of painful body parts as time passes.  Runners are very good at keeping going through pain.  The more vigorous the exercise, the more natural pain killers the body produces.  I say, do what you like, life will get you somehow no matter what you do or don't do.  But what marathon running does is use up the body, as you out run your food supply and for the latter part of the race you are essentially eating yourself.  Again, some people are just very strong and the natural pain killers will set in, but if you looked hard enough, you'd find the damage.  There used to be physicians on this website, and the cardiovascular specialist, a former marathoner, cautioned everyone not to ever run long distances on a regular basis.  This was based on the increased incidence of heart problems.  He's the expert, not me, but he cited a lot of studies.  My answer to one of his posts, though, and it applies to you, was, if this is the thing the person likes to do the most, isn't life more for doing what you love than it is living a few years longer?  I believe that -- the last few years are usually not great anyway.  So no matter the data, for you, as your body seems to tolerate it well, keep on truckin'.  As I said, my body broke down and I dearly wish I could still get out there and run.  Something about it, it's just freeing.  I would never tell you to stop, but I might advise a young person starting out to find something else to love.  I'd say the same thing about football, and a lot of other activities, though.  Peace.
I forgot, the most common knee problems for runners are meniscus problems, other connective tissue problems, and tendonitis, not arthritis.  With the hips, it's labrum tears and bursitis, again, not arthritis.  The body can break down in a lot of different ways.
Thanks Paxiled,

You've given me a lot to think about regarding hips and knees.  I also love swimming, but right now some hypothyroidism symptoms make it difficult to go on a regular basis, but I would love to get back to swimming a couple times a week sometime in the future (but I probably won't quit running unless I really have to).

As for the body breaking down and eating itself on really long runs -- there are a lot of things runners can do to prevent this.  If they are not taking in carbohydrates on the run, most marathon runners will hit the "wall" at about 20 miles into a marathon, where the body runs out of glycogen as fuel and the body starts breaking down muscle tissue, which is not great if you still have several miles to go.  This happens because muscle glycogen usually contains 1800-2200 calories worth of fuel, and if the runner is burning about 100-120 calories per mile, the glycogen will be depleted before the marathon is over.  To prevent this, I (and I'm assuming most runners, but I can only speak for myself) take supplemental carbohydrates in an easily digestible form during the marathon.  I take supplemental energy on any run longer than 90 minutes as well.  This can be in the form of gels or goos, energy chews, sports jelly beans, or drinks that contain some sugar.  For the supplemental energy to work, it needs to be taken before "hitting the wall", as it takes time to be absorbed.  

I've also tried a "superstarch" called Generation UCAN that is slowly absorbed and is supposed to give a sustained glucose source for several hours, but I'm still working on incorporating this in to my long run strategy.  Generation UCAN was developed for a child with a glycogen storage disorder, and was developed to keep blood sugar levels stable for hours.  Many endurance athletes use it during marathons or other long events to keep their glucose levels sustained.

It may be not be possible to completely prevent muscle tissue breakdown, but my legs feel better the next day after a long run than they do the day after strength training or after a more challenging, shorter running workout such as hill repeats.
But really, keep in mind, I said that if this is what you love, do it.  Life throws dirt in our faces at some point.  Your body is holding up well despite a ton of running, and you love it.  It keeps you sane.  Yes, there are potential dangers.  Weight against definite pleasure.  How many of us get to do what we love?  You do.  Be safe, but be you.  Peace.
I guess I should have added, much of my posts are for others reading threads, not necessarily something that is a problem for the person posting.  If the person posting isn't having a problem, I might point out to someone reading that doesn't mean it's necessarily a model for someone else.  We're different.  You're obviously built a lot stronger than most.  You have strong willpower.  Me, I'm just an old guy who is suffering the consequences of the combination of a lot of heavy exercise combined with the great harm the medical establishment did to me without meaning to.  Without that, I'd probably be fine, as I was fine before that other than a bad knee -- which, I might add, I got while running, but that doesn't mean the running caused it -- could have been the basketball, you know?  As I mentioned, I may be the only person who got plantar fasciitis on an elliptical machine, I never got it running or doing all the more harsh things I did.  So you never know.  
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