Your running shoes are the most important – and expensive – part of your kit, so you need to give them careful consideration before you buy.
Your trainers should be tailored to the type of foot strike you have – in other words, how your feet land when you run – plus where you intend to run, whether on road, track or trail.
The way you run (your biomechanics) will affect the type of shoes you wear. A ‘normal’ foot lands on the outside of the heel and then, to absorb shock, rolls (or pronates) slightly inwards. If your foot pronates too much, you’ll need a motion-control shoe to prevent long-term overuse injuries. Similarly, if your foot doesn’t roll enough (‘supination’), often as a result of inflexibility or high arches, you’ll
also need shoes with corrective features.
You should visit a specialist running store to get your gait assessed, but you can look at the footprint you leave on a tiled floor when your foot’s damp or check the soles of your shoes to see where the tread is worn to get an idea.
What’s your gait?
1. Road or park
Your shoes will have shallow tread and lots of cushioning to absorb the shock of running on hard surfaces.
You’re unlikely to be on the track if you’re new to running, but if it’s something you decide to explore later on, you’ll need lightweight, low-heel racer shoes for speed!
3. Trail or off-road
These shoes have grippy outsoles, tough (sometimes waterproof) uppers, good lateral support and moderate cushioning.
4. Going ‘barefoot’
Wearing trainers that provide a cushionless protective barrier from the ground can help you run more instinctively and realign your technique, but they’re best avoided if you’re new to running, you run on unpredictable terrain or have an unusual foot strike.