How to Pick the Right Running Shoes

One of the most important things to keep in mind when beginning any exercise regime is how shoes influence your performance.  Not having the correct shoe can not only  lead to blisters or calluses, but also more serious injuries like back or hip pain.

Running shoes are perhaps the most important shoes you will ever buy. They must be comfortable, roomy, but most importantly, cushioned enough to absorb the constant pounding a runner's feet must endure. However, before selecting a shoe, you must find out your running style.

Running Styles

Not all runners have the same running style. It is important that a person's body weight is evenly distributed when the foot comes in contact with the ground to avoid injury. Pronation is the slight rolling in of the feet (about fifteen percent) when the outside part of the heel makes contact with the ground.  If the force of impact is properly distributed  and your body weight is supported.  This is essential for proper shock absorption, however, this is not always the case.

Runners who overpronate are also called flat-footed. These people tend to roll their foot inward more than the ideal fifteen percent. Shock is not absorbed sufficiently because the foot and ankle fail to stabilize the body. The person's arch's collapses upon weight bearing and the big toe and the second toe must do all the work.  Overpronation can lead to shin splints and knee pain.

Underpronation, also called supination is when a runner tends to roll the foot inward at less than the ideal fifteen percent. This results in an uneven distribution of the shock impact  where the force is concentrated on the outside of the foot. Back pain and knee pain can be a common problem in runners who tend to overpronate.

Best Running Shoes for Overpronators

In general, runners who overpronate need a shoe with motion-control and a medial post to offer shock absorption.  Look for the words "stabilization" and "support"  or "motion-control" in the descriptions. These are the best type of running shoes for overpronators.

Best Running Shoes for Underpronators

Running shoes for underpronators need to have a flexible and extra-cushioned midsole and a medial section to help with pronation. In addition, they should be light-weight and have a moderate arch. These are the best type of shoes for underpronators.

Contact a Specialist

If you're still not quite sure what type of runner you are, see a podiatrist to help you determine which type of shoe would be best for you. A gait analysis of your running style would be the best approach.

Additionally, a running specialty store is also a good place to get information on different types of running shoes. Run and Roll, located at CityPlace in downtown West Palm Beach has a wide variety of sports shoes and a friendly staff to help put you on the right track.


West Palm Beach Quick Workouts Examiner Sharon Young currently resides in sunny South Florida where working out is contagious. An active gym member for more than 15 years, Sharon takes her workouts seriously, but also believes it's important to have fun. With a bachelor's degree in media communications, Sharon puts her talents to good use when she's not hitting the weights. Contact Sharon at sitnspin11@yahoo.com.

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