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On the hunt of a new pair of running shoes

Posted Aug 24 2009 12:21pm
I've been thinking a lot about buying a new pair of running shoes lately.

My current shoes, a pair of Adidas Supernova, would be two and a half to three years old now though they would still have way less than 500 km 'on the clock' due to my on and off running over that time.

Despite their low mileage I still think its a good idea to update the shoes so I'm starting a fresh when I start running again this spring.

So to try and improve my knowledge I've been reading up large on the topic and now I'm well versed with such terms as flat feet, high arch , medial post , motion control, stability etc. Runners are certainly spoilt for choice these days when it comes to shoes. There is literally a shoe to fit everybody (or foot).

Apparently the key to finding the right shoe for you is to know your foot type. Generally there are three types of feet, determined by the height of your arch. A simple test to see which foot type you are is to stand on a surface with wet feet so that it leaves an impression of your foot. If you can see almost your whole foot then you have a low arch , or flat feet. If the middle of your foot narrows to around half of the foots width the you have a normal arch. If you have a distinctive curve to your foot print from ball to heel, such that very little of the mid sole is visible then you have a high arch.

Most runners have a normal arch height which allows them to generally choose from a wide variety of neutral running shoes offering cushioning or some motion control features for those that slightly over pronate.

Runners with flat feet tend to overprotate due to the low arch lacking the shock absorbing qualities of a normal arch. They tend to need a motion control shoe offering firm support on the inside edge of the shoe to try and correct the over protation.

A high arches will also provide inadequate shock absorption often resulting in under pronation (or supination). A flexible, cushioned shoe which encourages pronation is generally recommended for these runners.

So having done my research (ie the 'wet test') I've found that I have normal feet. Well at least something is normal I thought! The next step was to find a shoe.

An interesting exercise is to go to one of the many running shoe websites and use their shoe finder tool. I did that at Roadrunnersports.com and here's what they came up with for me.

Runningshoes.com cam up with this selection for me.

Some interesting choices there with a notable exclusion being Adidas, which has been my shoe of choice for the last two pairs. Most of the recommendations seem to have me in a stability shoe with some additional medial support to guard against over pronation.

I generally like to try before I buy though so over the past few weeks I've visited several specialist running shoe shops in town to see what they can offer me. I'll post further about my findings shortly.

Until then happy running.
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