Choosing a running shoe

It’s common place to find yourself in a proverbial minefield of shoes when you go to your local running retailer. If you are starting to run or you are a seasoned pro, it’s still filled with a lot of unknowns of what to do. Do you go for neutral or anti-pronation; minimal or regular; barefoot or minimal? What sort of heel drop should you have, actually, what the hell is a heel drop?!

I have helped several runners with their shoes and personally completed a few half marathons and one full marathon (most of these were done in barefoot shoes). I have been exposed enough to honestly say that there is not one singular shoe available that will satisfy all of the worlds needs because our bodies are all very individually our own, but there are some very good points of reference you can use to help choose a shoe. It’s like having a metal detector in that minefield. You are going to trust what you “feel and see” rather than listen to Bob from the running shop who has “already swept this area for mines and it’s clear, so go right ahead and walk through it”. No thanks.

This takes a bit of self-awareness on your part and you can ask one of us at Spirohealth to help you do it. What you need to do is pre wearing shoe and post wearing shoe take a deep breath in and out and let your body slump. You want your shoes to improve your depth and ease of breath and make you more upright and stable. So the pattern goes like this:
1. Standing barefoot, breath in and out and let your body slump
2. Note depth/ease of breath and stability.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 a few times to make sure.
4. Put a running shoe on and repeat steps 1 and 2; note any improvement or decline in breath and
stability of the body.
5. Take the shoe off and repeat steps 1 and 2. You should now know if you are better or worse
when wearing the shoe.
Repeat this as many times as you need to make sure you have got it. Step 6 would be doing the above test with the inner soles removed which generally make the body work very hard by making it compensate, wrecking the breathing and structural stability.

If you are a runner under construction or well adept, you should make sure your shoes are helping you with achieving your goals and not destroying your structural integrity. If you struggle with ITB syndrome, shin splints, low back pain or shortness of breath, this will help a lot, but it may only be part of a deeper primary problem in your body, which we can normally help with at Spirohealth.

We also offer a free educational seminar on what shoes, beds, pillows and chairs are right for you too. Check them out here

Next month I will talk a bit about barefoot shoe running and how I got to the point of doing a marathon in them.

All the best,

Stuart Murray


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