By: Michaelle Fields
What could be worse for runners than wearing the wrong athletic shoes? Well, not much! Sure, running can be uncomfortable (especially for beginners), when challenging muscles to work harder than they have before. However, running should never hurt. So before spending too much time or money in less-than-perfect shoes, do yourself a huge favor and take these 3 essential steps to ensuring a safe, productive, and happy run.
1. Check yourself (yes, folks…before you wreck yourself). Arguably, the feet and ankles are among our most delicate body parts. Together, they contain ¼ of the bones in the entire human body and take on a variety of sizes and shapes – including, high/low arches and inward-/outward-leaning ankles). So when running, choosing properly fitted shoes is by far one of the most important things you must do. To help, many specialty running stores today offer free Gait Analysis tests, where they videotape your foot characteristics and running patterns, identify posture or movement-related problems. and match you to shows that’ll help you run more efficiently. West Stride Running & Fitness (the only female-owned running store in Atlanta, GA) is where I recently had this assessment done, identified a slight pronation issue, and discovered that the Nike Structure 18 was the shoe that worked best for me.
2. Choose Comfort Over Fashion. As you can imagine, athletic shoe companies today offer a whole variety of shoes to accommodate varying needs. So once your own need has been clearly identified, feel free to try on as many as you can. Some will surely fit and feel better than others. But, as experts recommend, look for the shoe that gives your toes plenty of room (at least ½ inch) to wiggle around and fits your heels and ankles nice and snug.
3. Try Before You Buy. If at all possible, give your favorite selection a trial run before final purchase. Either take a brisk walk or jog around the store or (better yet) ask to take the shoes out for a quick run. Most specialty stores, like West Stride, will oblige. Alternatively, check their return policy and confirm that they’ll allow an exchange or refund after a trial run, if needed. So rather than risk pain or injury when running, take time to get yourself the perfect shoes! Running, after all, is an experience to enriches and gives joy. And, running in the most fitted and comfortable shoes most certainly will help you achieve that. A new member of BGR, Michaelle Fields is an educational materials sales consultant; certified physical fitness trainer; Spinning® instructor; and founder of California Radiance, a health and beauty brand offering a fresh and natural approach to personal skin care. You are invited to stay connected with Michaelle on Facebook (www.facebook.com/californiaradiance) and on Instagram (@californiaradiance)!
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