Those old shoes might get you through one or two runs, but over time, running shoes that aren’t properly fitted to your foot can lead to all sorts of injuries, such as shin splints, lost toenails or knee problems.
You can help avoid some of these common running ailments by heading to your local running store and getting fitted for a pair of running shoes.
What to Expect When You Get There:
When you walk into a running store, tell a salesperson that you are looking to purchase your first (or a new) pair of running shoes.
Make sure you bring your current pair of running shoes in to the store. The salesperson may want to look at the tread patterns to get an idea of how your foot strikes the ground when you run.
Everyone has a slightly different arch in their foot and buying the right shoe for your arch type will help you get the most comfortable fit. A salesperson can help you identify whether you have a flat, neutral or high arch. You can also do a simple water test at home to get an idea.
To perform the water test, dampen the bottom of your foot and then step onto a paper towel on the floor. Match your footprint to the ones shown here. You want to pick a shoe that offers support for the specific type of arch you have.
The salesperson will probably ask you some questions in regards to how often you run and how long you’ve been running, and then will have you walk on a treadmill or around the store. While you’re walking, the salesperson will look at the way your knees, ankles and feet line up during each stride.
Based on this information, they will bring you a variety of shoes to try on with proper padding to support your stride.
Most stores will let you try on several pairs and take them around the store or even outside for a test run.
It’s up to you to pick the pair that feels best on your foot. Don’t make the decision based on the color or style of the shoe. You want the shoe that gives you the best fit.
And remember, you shouldn’t have to “break in” a pair of running shoes. If they don’t feel good on your test run, they probably won’t feel much better after two or three more runs.
If you get your shoes home and notice some discomfort after you’ve run in them a few times, take them back to your running store. Some stores have return or exchange policies that let you return used shoes if you have problems with them. Just make sure to hang on to your receipt.
If you’ve had your shoes for a long time and you begin to notice some aches in your ankles, shins or knees during your runs, it may be time for a replacement pair. Most running shoes need to be replaced every 300 to 500 miles.
With these tips you can make sure you’re up and running in a pair of new shoes that support your feet and keep you injury free!
About Guest Blogger Jess Milcetich:
Jess Milcetich is 24 years old and currently lives outside of Washington, D.C. She is a runner and loves training for a variety of race distances, especially the half marathon.
She has completed 10 half marathons, two full marathons and several other race distances.
Jess loves to have fun and enjoy life while still being healthy. She believes health and fitness shouldn’t be a chore; but it should fit naturally into our daily lives.
Jess writes about all aspects of health and fitness, including training, nutrition, finding motivation and making it fun on her blog Jess Runs.