How to Pick a Pair of Running Shoes

You would think that picking a pair of running shoes is simply getting the right fit and aesthetics. But there is much more you need to look at when buying your next Nike running shoes. Running is an impact sport meaning that your feet, ankles, and knees absorb shock as you pound the tarmac. Your shoes can make running a comfortable or an uncomfortable, and even risky undertaking. What should you look at when buying running shoes?

Where you run

  • Trail running – This is off road running where you encounter mud, pebbles and loose soil. Trail running shoes are made with deeper tread, greater underfoot protection, more support and stability for the ankles.
  • Road running – This is running on tarmac, pavement, field track and other packed surfaces. Road running shoes are light and made to cushion the foot against the hard surface.
  • Cross-training – These exercises are more about the foot having more contact with the ground rather than shock protection.

How you run

Where does the bulk of your pressure land? This can be seen by looking at how your shoes wear off.

  • Normal pronation – This is where the pressure is evenly applied to the whole foot. It shows as wearing out at the heel and ball of the foot. Neutral runners need neutral shoes
  • Under pronation (supination) – Pressure falls more on the outer edges of the foot. This needs neutral shoes with extra cushioning
  • Overpronation – The feet roll inward when running wearing out the inner edge of the shoes. This needs shoes with stabilizers, which have a ‘post’ which reinforces the arch at the mid-sole. Motion control shoes are also suitable for this condition. These are shoes with stiffer heels.

Shoe material

What are the shoe uppers made of?

  • Nylon and mesh – Preferred for lightness and breathability
  • Synthetic leather – A mixture of polyester and nylon. This material is lighter and more breathable than leather while lasting more than nylon mesh.
  • Thermoplastic urethane overlays – Used to enhance stability

Most running shoes have midsoles made from Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA). The EVA is laid in single or multiple layers depending on the support and stability needed. Other features on midsoles include:

  • Posts – These are thicker sections that are harder to compress and used for stability. The posts could be dual, quad or multi-density.
  • Plates – Used on the ball of the shoe to protect this part of the foot from sharp rock, thorns etc.

Outsoles are made of either blown rubber, which is lighter or carbon rubber which withstands wear for longer.

The next time you are picking a pair of Nikes, you might want to spend more time evaluating your shoe for more than the perfect size.

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