So, you're wondering how to choose the best running shoes?
It is difficult to find consensus in this arena, though it is fun to try (sometimes).
As long as the conversations remain civil, and you're able to keep an open mind, there is a lot that can be learned from fellow runners when it comes to talk of the feet.
And, the knowledge your friends, and fellow athletes, share about running sneakers just might save you some aching feet in the future!
When I was growing up, I gave little thought to postural or gait analysis.
I chose sneakers based on how they looked.
That was without much (if any) regard for how my feet, ankles, calves, and anything else would feel following a full day of wearing them.
Despite any youthful exuberance, I'd wager that my daily and weekly mileage back then was less than the totals that I might achieve currently (save for the running training at the beginning of various sports seasons).
Somehow, I was able to make it through that period of life without it resulting in any major foot injury or discomfort.
The way I choose is far different today!
With the knowledge that I have today, and the knowledge of practitioners so readily available to us, there is very little reason to play the guessing game of days gone by.
A complete postural and gait analysis, conducted by a qualified professional can be completed quite easily.
And, if you're skeptical of the skill set, the process, or the recommendations of one provider, there's nothing stopping any one of us from getting a second or third opinion in short time, helping to solidify your choice of the best running shoes.
Without getting too "sciencey" on you, we move a lot differently today than we used to even a few generations ago.
We move a lot less.
For many, that means that restriction in how mobile various joints of the body are.
It also means that there may be over-activity and under-activity in certain muscle groups, which further impacts the joints that those muscles overlap.
It doesn't stop there.
Remember the song where "...the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone..." etc.
Well, those imbalances, whether joint-related, muscle-related, or both, may have implications through the entire kinetic chain because of their connectivity.
Here's an example:
The ankle should be a fairly mobile joint. Not so much so that we can't keep to our feet, though it should provide fairly good movement in more than just a hinge-like manner.
The knee, on the other hand, acts as a hinge. It presents as a forward, backward, flexion, extension joint, and that's it. We wouldn't see much circular play through the knee. If we did, most of us would know pretty quickly that something was wrong.
If the ankle is restricted for any reason, whether because of inactivity, because of wrapping for sport when it may not be necessary, or because of choice of footwear, there is the possibility that the body will look to find the missing range of motion elsewhere.
Where is elsewhere? The next closest joint; the knee. And now, what should be a hinge joint, is pressured into working outside of its scope of practice, resulting in some sort of injury; usually to the connective tissue (e.g., ligaments, tendons, etc.).
The same holds true for many of the joints, and their neighboring joints, throughout the body.
So, what sort of recipe are we cooking up?
The prevalence of inactivity (and, especially lots of sitting) plus questionable footwear, and a tendency for humans to engage in recreational and sports-related activities with little to no warm-up is a tasty, little recipe for injury.
Take all of this into consideration, and it is no wonder why we hear complaints about hip pain from running, shin splints, and other ailments so often.
The good news? We can, for the most part, be proactive in addressing these concerns and running-related injuries.
If nothing else, shoes have gotten more bold in the available selection of styles.
Scientific progress has also given us specificity of purpose for many of them.
Combine those with the advances in the ability of practitioners to perform much more well-designed postural and gait analysis assessments, and the evidence would suggest that not all footwear, and not all feet, are created the same.
Think of an outfit professionally tailored to suit you, specifically. Your feet, and the rest of your kinetic chain, deserve that same pampering.
The alternative, choosing solely based on looks, leaves too much chance for a host of aches, pains, and injuries.
So, for choosing your best running shoes (don't forget running socks, too), go get that assessment. Your ankles, knees, and back will thank you!
There may not be an actual right or wrong when it comes to choosing the best running shoes.
Some will look to assessment, while others go by feel. Still other runners just want a sneaker that catches the eye.
So, how do you choose your best running shoes? We want to know.
Complete the form below, and give us a glimpse into the inner workings of your mind, when it comes to running sneaker selection.
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