How to choose running shoes

Alexander Ågren from Saucony helps to solve the mystery.

How to choose running shoes

What will happen in the future? How do you know whether you have the right running shoes? What is the meaning of life? These questions are not always easy to answer.

In this article, Alexander Ågren from Saucony gives a couple of pointers which can guide you in your choice of running shoes:

1. The feeling!
The most important thing is that shoes should be comfortable. If you lace a pair of shoes that do not feel comfortable on the foot, it does not matter what features the shoes have. They will probably end up in the closet. The first area of focus is thus that they should feel good to train in.

2. But running shoes have many different functions, why?
All people are different and have different strides. A shoe model that fits one person does not necessarily fit another runner. This means that you should not be susceptible to your neighbor's or friend's claims that "there is no better model than this", but you can definitely test and feel if it is right for you.

3. Categories
To facilitate things, shoes are normally categorized as either neutral or pronation. We have a mechanism in the foot that dampens the impact that occurs when the foot hits the ground. This is an inward movement in the foot which we call pronation. But because, as I said, we are all different, some pronounce less and some more. When the movement becomes "too big", we call this overpronation. This can cause problems for some. There are running shoes called "pronation shoes" with include extra stability in order to control the foot and to reduce the movement. But some people who overpronate run at least as well in a pair of neutral shoes, so you have to test them for yourself and see what you prefer.

Supination is also a phenomenon among runners, although less common. In this case the foot is usually very rigid, which means that the shock absorption does not work as it should. As a result, the runner starts running on the outside of the feet. In this situation a neutral running shoe with a lot of shock absorption is preferable.

4. Surface
It also matters what surface you plan to run on. A rule of thumb is that the harder the surface, the softer the cushioning. If you know that you only run on asphalt, you should invest in running shoes with soft cushioning. But if you mostly run on trails, a harder shoe can be preferrable to avoid a spongy and heavy feeling. Cross-country running shoes can also withstand a little more beating and are equipped with soles with better grip. Since variation reduces the risk of injury, the tip is to run on different surfaces. To improve the feeling during your runs it is thus a good idea to have different shoe models for different training sessions.

5. Injuries
I have no clear data, only 7 years in the branch, but would dare to say that everyone who runs will at some point suffers from a running-related injury. It is completely natural - nothing strange at all. The most common reason why the damage occurs, if it does not happen as a result of an accident, is due to overload. The most important thing is that you step up your training in a slow but steady pace. To return to the first point, what matters most is that you think the shoes are comfortable to run with.

6. Bonus tips
The color of the shoes does not really impact your performance, but if you feel fast and stylish, the chances are greater that you will want to go for a run. And once you get out for a training session, you will improve. You should not choose running shoes based entirely on color. But if you have two models to choose from, the color can be meaningful.

You can nerd out on this topic even more, but this is a start. Hope you find the right model for and that you get many great runs together!

tcs TATA Consultancy Services