How to buy the best running shoes?
We often know the type of shoe we want but are unaware of the specifications of it and hence can’t determine whether the given shoe is the best for us and whether it fits all the criteria of its purpose.
Different components of running shoes :
It is the top part of the shoe which is responsible for holding the shoe in place and it kind of controls the sideways movement of the shoe.
Further it is divided into many parts like: overlays, heel counter, collar, toe box.
Let’s understand these terms in brief:
Overlay is a synthetic piece which provides support to the upper and is essential in holding the shape of the shoe. Fitting of the shoe often depends on the number of overlays present in a shoe.
Heel counter is a device positioned at the back of the shoe where the heel sits, which holds the foot in place. It provides longevity to the shoe and is one of the essential features for stability. The internal heel counter can be made up of rubber, thermo plastic and leather. Wedge is usually the one which provides support to the heel.
Collar is made up of foam and present at the rear and sides of the shoe.
Toe box obviously occurs above the place where toe’s are placed and there should be enough space in special running shoes so that toes are allowed movement and they can expand freely when doing physical activity. Always make sure your toes have a breathable area and they shouldn’t be compressed.
2. Outsole : it is the bottom of the shoe and provides the traction. It is important for the flexibility of the shoe. It is made of rubber. Rubber has different grades based on the purpose for which it is to be used like carbon rubber, blown rubber, outsole EVA etc.
Most of the running shoes comprise of rubber as they are quite firm and durable.
Blown rubber is filled with air which makes it light as compared to carbon rubber and this one is softer as well. This material reduces the impact energy of the athlete when he/she takes a faster run, the reason being the airy rubber which gives a cushioned effect.
EVA sole i.e ethylene vinyl acetate comes with the shock absorbing properties. It has elastic material too, which gives the premium support. They are much lighter than other types.
The shape of the outsole also varies for different purposes and are available in curved and straight shapes.
3.Midsole: it is found between the upper and the outsole. The main task of this material or part is shock absorption. Again EVA can be used as a material here and polyurethane is also used but the disadvantage being it gets little firm. Thermal plastic unit is used beneath the midsole as a protection and to reduce overpronation. Appropriate amount of cushioning in shoes is required to reduce the impact of rigorous running on the legs. Medial post is a device which is present inside the midsole often made of EVA and is denser than the midsole.
4. The last : upper is stitched around the last and is connected to the midsole. This is the final layering provided to the shoe. It is of the shape of a human foot and it is molded accordingly to fit the size and shape of human beings. Last is divided into three types:
Strip, strobe and combination of both. Athletic shoes have straight lasts and the outcome obtained is a heavier shoe. Lightweight shoes fall under the category of curved lasts.
Different materials are used in the making of the shoe synthetics, leather is usually used for the upper. Midsoles are made of plastic like EVA which we have already discussed.
5. Shoe tongue: it is the part below the lacing system and faces the feet of the user. These may be cushioned for additional comfort.
6. Lacing system: laces do the job of adjusting the firmness of the shoe to the feet and helps to adjust the stiffness. Some shoes may have more lacing holes depending upon the need.
Shoe makers take a lot of effort in building the technology to make the best running shoe which is unique to every person. It’s our duty to take some effort in selecting the right shoe for our feet before we get grumpy and start complaining about the shoe fit.
Running shoes are of various types and belong to different categories which fall under the type of running you will be doing.
Everyday running shoes: these are the most durable ones and can handle the running intensities of different people.
Lightweight running shoes: these are generally less cushioned and durable than everyday shoes but best for hardcore workouts and faster running. Due to the lightweight the feet movement becomes easy.
Trail running shoes: these are anti-slip, and perfect for running on uneven surfaces and rocky areas. These have better grip on the ground.
People are often of the misconception that the best shoes are the ones which cost more, but let me tell you this criteria is false and the best shoes are always that fit you well. You can choose the shoes based on the frequency of your workout example if you take a run daily or alternately. Even the intensity of the running really matters and in this case the durability factor should be examined when purchasing a new pair.
Knowing the type of your feet is a blessing in disguise and the types are divided into three: neutral, over- pronated and under-pronated. In neutral type when you touch the ground the heel touches the ground first and toes at the very last. For this purpose this type of runner will need good heel cushioning.
Over- pronated type the foot of the runner rolls inwards due to which it faces stability problems. Motion controlled shoes are suitable for this kind.
Under-pronated : the outer heel touch the ground first in this case and the feet now rolls outwards. So for this type the athlete needs shoes with better toe traction.
You have learnt about the various aspects of shoes which will help you in buying the right shoes for yourself. Thank you for reading this article.