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One of the most important choices a runner can make is what running shoe to buy. Running shoes not only help to absorb the impact force when your foot hits the group, but they also help to align the foot, legs, and hips. Running in improper shoes will probably get your injured, while finding the right shoes for your body can help to cure and prevent injuries. But how do you know what running shoes are right for you?
The running shoe industry includes many terms and definitions. Mysterious words such as Injection Molded EVA, Medial Post, and Polyurethane foam, sometimes are only truly understood by the manufacturers. In reality, there are only three shoe classifications that consumers really need to understand: motion control, stability, and cushioned.
- Motion control: Motion control shoes provide the most support for runners. These shoes are made for runners whose feet roll inwards when they land. Pronators sometimes have IT-band and hip problems from the torque caused by this inward roll. One way to determine if you pronate is to view yourself walking in a mirror. If your knees turn inward when your feet land, motion control shoes may be able to help you.
Another way to detect pronation is if the sole of your shoes are worn more on the inside than the outside. Finally, if a runner has a very low arch, or “flat feet,” then motion control shoes are essential. Often, motion control shoes have a “roll bar” located underneath the arch to ensure that your feet do not collapse when they hit the ground. Popular brands for motion control shoes are Brooks and New Balance, among many others.
- Cushioned: Cushioned shoes are for runners that underpronate (also called supination). As you might have guessed, underpronation is the opposite of overpronation – the foot rolls outward on landing. To determine if you underpronate, look at the sole of your shoes – if the outer part is more worn than the inner part, you may be an underpronator. Cushioned shoes enable feet to roll inward and also have a curved shape to assist the foot with the inward motion. This type of shoe is also good for runners with high arches.
- Stability: Stability shoes are for runners that are fortunate enough to not overpronate or underpronate. These runners do not have excessive roll either inward or outward when their feet hit the ground. Additionally, runners who use stability shoes have normal arches that are not too high or low. Stability shoes are very common – almost every running company makes a stability shoe.
As stated, running shoes are such an important investment for runners. Understanding the fundamental terminology of running shoes can make the buying process much easier.