Running shoes have evolved to incorporate lightweight materials that cushion the foot from the trauma of running. Most (not all) cushioning comes from EVA foam, a lightweight material injected with air cells designed to absorb impact. But, like all good things, the foam eventually loses its magic. Besides the technology used to cushion the shoe, how often you run, your weight, and your foot strike will affect the life of your running shoe.
According to some researchers, running shoes should be replaced anywhere from 300 to 500 miles after the first wear. For a runner doing five 3-mile runs per week, that means a new pair every five to six months. (Ask Santa for a gift certificate to the Runner’s Roost!)
Why go to a specialty running shop?
If you were going to play tennis, you would get fitted for a racket. If you were going to play golf, you be fitted for a set of clubs. Hockey skates – same thing. Virtually every sport involving equipment would require a visit to the store to see how things fit with your body type/biomechanics. Why would running be any different?
How you land on your foot in the running gait will help determine what shoe you will wear. We will also want to know how well, how often, and what type of running you are doing. Running for pleasure? Running to train for a marathon? Running on a track team for school? We know the shoes so well, we’ll narrow down a few shoes for your type of foot, and you’ll decide what feels best. Bring your old running shoes and your favorite pair of socks to get started.
What is pronation?
Dr. Jo, our local Darien Podiatrist, and marathoner, states “Pronation is a normal occurring motion in the foot, it is the shock-absorbing mechanism during the gait(walking) cycle.
Overpronation is when the foot rolls inward more than average, the muscles on the inside of the ankle over work to stabilize the motion, therefore, the large toe works harder to push off to the next step. Underpronation is when the foot does not roll inward effectively, it creates more pressure on the outer half of the foot, and fatigues the muscles on the outside of the ankle.Choosing the correct shoe minimizes symptoms and keeps you running strong.”
For appointments with Dr. Josephine Velazquez, 20 Old Kings Hwy South, Darien, CT, call 203-655-6299.
I want to get new running shoes. Can’t I just order them online if I know my size?
Shoe companies change their shoes at least once a year. Some shoes more or less stay the same year after year. But sometimes they make significant changes to your favorite trainer making the fit unrecognizable. Ordering a shoe online that is the exact same version you are wearing comfortably is not a problem, but when the new version comes out – come back to the Roost!
Changes in running shoes forces the runner to re-evaluate their gait, and how they run – which ultimately is a good thing. New and better products are always being introduced to the running world and it’s best to keep an open mind when it comes to your shoes.
I got new shoes, so why do I still feel pain in my knees/back?
Hopefully, the easy answer is that you were not fitted at the Runner’s Roost to buy your shoes. Sometimes even with our expertise a shoe may not solve your problems. In these circumstances we recommend a visit to a medical professional for an evaluation. We can not emphasize enough how important it is to listen to your pain! Do not ignore it, or try to run through it without consulting either a physical therapist, podiatrist, or an orthopedic surgeon.
What is plantar fasciitis, and how can I cure it?
Plantar’s as it’s commonly referred to, is a condition characterized by stabbing pain in the heel or arch. It’s essentially an irritation of the plantar fascia, a long, skinny rope of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, attaching the heel bone to the toes and forming your foot’s arch. The pain is usually the worst first thing in the morning, since the fascia tightens while you sleep.
There is no “cure”, but most people will recover within a few months without cortisone injections or other invasive treatments. Back off your high mileage and stretch the affected areas. We carry various products to aid in your recovery like the Strassburg Sock andIcy Feet to just name two. A store bought insert with stability can often alleviate the pain from plantar fasciitis. We carry inserts fromSuperFeet, Spenco, CurrexSole, and Sorbathane.
Remember not all heel or arch pain is plantar fasciitis, so consult a physical therapist, podiatrist, or an orthopaedic surgeon if things do not improve or worsen.
How often should I run?
There is no single right answer to this question.
Let’s just say everyone should have some form of exercise everyday. That is not to say your should run everyday, but if you want to progress in running, you need to run at least three times per week. Three times a week will minimize injury risk. On other days, you can bike ride, swim, weight train etc. Separate your 3 running days to one tempo run for intensive endurance, one speed run to build speed, and one long run for raw endurance.
Non-elite competitive runners will run six days a week with a scheduled day off. Some runners might cross train instead of running everyday, but that is a personal preference. Many serious athletes work with a coach or read different methodologies based on how they want to train.
Always listen to your body, and take care of yourself so you can continue the sport you love.
Can I use running shoes for other physical activities, such as weight lifting, tennis, basketball, etc?
Running shoes are designed for forward motion activities. They cannot take pressure to the outside wall of the shoe like a basketball shoe or a tennis shoe. They will not sustain the torque (twisting) involved in exercise classes and other field sports. If you are doing Plyometrics or CrossFit you could injure your ankle in a running shoe unless it has an extremely low heel-toe offset. You can do regular weight training, run on a treadmill, and use the elliptical machine, and running shoes make great modern day “walking shoes”.
Keep your running shoes fresh for running or walking, and buy the necessary footwear for other sports.