The Importance of Running Shoes for Form and Injury Prevention

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Photo by Pixabay/CC0

With the 2019 Gap Relay Carbon Neutral event announced last month, we thought it essential to address one crucial topic connected with running—shoes.

There isn’t any other mainstream sport that requires as little equipment as running. All you need is a pair of shoes, and you are good to go. At the same time, this “tool” plays a vital role in how fun, effective, and most importantly, safe your runs are.

Brands

So which brands to go for? One of the most popular brands in sportswear is Nike. It equips many athletes and the NFL, but is far from the only one to consider when purchasing a pair of running shoes. Speaking of the NFL, star quarterback Tom Brady, whose New England Patriots run the best odds of winning the Superbowl according to Oddschecker, is endorsed by UnderArmour which is also among the top brand producers of quality athletic apparel. Models by Reebok (sponsors of CrossFit, UFC, and Spartan Race), Brooks, Skechers, New Balance, and K-Swiss also regularly make it into the lists of best running shoes.

Form

The way that the foot lands and lifts off the ground, as well as the whole movement and positioning of the body, are vital for a productive and injury-free running session. Therefore, high-quality running shoes are built not only to serve the primary purpose of a shoe, which is to provide protection when walking on rough surfaces, but also to help ensure proper running form. Nevertheless, keep in mind that the main responsibility for a run in good form lies within you.

Support

The legs and feet are under lots of stress during physical activities, and especially so when running, so they need adequate support. What’s more, some people have lower or higher foot arches, which needs to be accounted for when picking the right running shoe. Another part of the shoe to pay attention to is the ankle collar and how well it wraps the ankle. Of course, in the end, the whole shoe must provide adequate 360-degree support, especially if you run on rougher terrains.

Photo by Snapwire/CC0 

Comfort

If your running shoes aren’t comfortable to you, they will affect your workout, increase the chance of injury, and will, in general, make your workouts miserable. This is why it’s a good idea to check with the store’s return policies in case you only find that the shoes are not the right pair for you after you’ve tested them in real-life conditions. Do note that it’s normal for new shoes to feel a bit “off” at first, at least until they break-in. But this should dissipate within a couple of runs and should not put you at risk of injury.

Variety

Running on a treadmill is not the same as running on pavement. And running on pavement is quite different than running on mountain trails. That said, if you go for workouts on varied terrains, you need running shoes that are made for specific terrains. So, while it might sound like quite the investment, in the long run, it will be an investment in your health and wellbeing. Even small injuries, accumulated over time, can result in chronic pain and suffering.