Every runner needs to have the perfect running shoe that fits well and works well for them. Specific footwear characteristics should match the individual needs of a runner. Also, each training type - endurance, strength, or speed - that runners undergo have different demands on their bodies and also their running shoes. Thus, it is important to know which kind of running shoes match your specific goals and individual needs.
With the wide developments in running technology today, it can sometimes be confusing and even intimidating when choosing your new pair inside a running shoes store. How will you choose what's best for you and your training when there are different categories, shoe types and shapes within the standard Neutral, Stability, and Motion Control?
The design and technology of shoes varies depending on the brand and type. As a general guide for running shoes, here are brief definitions for the 3 major categories and some tips when buying your new pair:
The shoes under the neutral category are usually designed with a flexible forefoot and soft but firm mid-sole. These are the best types of shoes when you tend to land on the outside of your foot. You can determine where your foot lands by checking the soles of your old shoes - if the outside of the sole is worn out, then you tend to land more on the outside of your feet. This may also be the best pair for people with a high foot arc. Check if the arc of the shoes you're planning to buy has enough support or rigid especially if you have a high foot arc. These kinds of shoes support the arc of your foot more than your ankle or your knees. You can observe that this type of running footwear often has a curved sole.
Running shoes that are under the stability category are designed to control your feet from turning outwards when you run, balances your heel, and supports the arcs of your feet. These types of running footwear provide extra cushioning and excellent stability for your feet when you run. These shoes are for runners who lands on the outside of their heels and slightly turns their foot inward (pronates) when running. The arc of these shoes are not as rigid and may have varying degrees of support.
The soles of running shoes under the motion control category are usually straight or flat. Some designs have slightly curved soles but the main goal of these running footwear is to keep the heel secure and minimize the rate of pronation when you run. These shoes usually have a wider landing base for your heels, and a strong, rigid heel counter. These are good for runners who have flat feet or low arches. Runners who tend pronate their feet and have unstable knees when running can benefit more from these types of running shoes. Check the soles of your old pair - if they are worn out on the mid-sole, then this category is for you.
Getting a new pair is an investment since your feet are the only parts of your body that touches another surface and absorbs all the impact when you run. Your legs and feet are your main engine for running so you need the excellent tools for support, stability, and comfort for them all the time. One of the keys to reducing risk of injury is to replace them once they break down or wear out.