If you are looking to start taking your running more seriously, upgrading your trainers is a great place to start.
Today, we will aim to give you some clear information on what to look for and how to look after your new trainers.
DON’T GET TOO HUNG UP ON BRANDS AND MODELS
Whilst we agree that trainers are important, there is not a specific model or type which is “perfect” for running. We all have extremely different running styles and so that means we will all need different trainers. Many brands offer great shoes and there is currently no scientific evidence on one pair offering the lowest risk of injury or the highest level of comfort.
Our best advice is to look for a shop which offers a gait analysis. This involves trying on a range of trainers and having your gait filmed to look at how your foot lands. The aim of the analysis is to find a pair which allows your foot to land in a neutral position to avoid excessive strain on one part of the foot.
Some common brands are: Brooks, Mizuno, Asics, New Balance, Addidas and Nike.
It is common that your running shoes may be half or one size larger than your usual shoe size. It is recommended that there is a thumbs width between your big toe and the end of the shoe. This is to allow for some sliding during your run, with the space aiming to protect our precious toe nails! It is also common for the feet to swell, spread out or flatten when running longer distances. This sizing will hopefully reduce any pain, nail loss and blistering.
This is relatively straight forward. Never put your running shoes in the washing machine! Even on a cooler wash, the detergent and power of the machine wash can damage and shrink the cushioning.
The best way to clean your shoes is with a warm, damp cloth and some mild cleaning product. You can then stuff them with newspaper and leave them somewhere to dry. Avoid placing them on a radiator is in an airing cupboard, as this can also lead to some shrinking. The same can also be done if they are wet from a rainy run!
HOW LONG WILL THEY LAST?
This is different for each individual. Generally, around 400-500 miles or one year, which ever happens first.
There are some factors which will affect how long your shoes last. Some may include;
– The terrain you run on
– Whether you heel strike or your foot rolls inwards a little when running
– Your weight
– How well your look after them
Some people can also just tell when they need a new pair. Some aches and pains may return or they feel less “bouncy”. So the best advice is to keep an eye on how long you have had them and how they feel on longer runs.
CAN I CONTINUE TO BUY THE SAME SHOES AGAIN AND AGAIN?
If you get on well with your shoes – technically, yes. Manufactures do have a habit of updating their models and making small changes each year. So if you cannot seem to find your trainers again when the time comes, we advise repeating the process. Have a gait analysis again and find another pain which offer the same support and comfort. It is worth investing in this rather than buying a pair “similar” to ones you have had before.
BREAK YOUR SHOES IN
Just as you would any other pair of new shoes! Avoid long runs the first time you wear them. Go out for a shorter run or a treadmill run to check it all feels okay. If so, gradually build up from there.
Unfortunately this can happen with new trainers. Good socks which are breathable are worth investing in. Running socks are often designed to have additional protection in vulnerable spots such as the Achilles. They also draw moisture away from the skin and generally make it all feel more supported.
If this does not solve the problem, you can try some heel lock lacing techniques. The idea here is that lacing your shoes slightly differently can reduce the heel from moving too much. This you tube video explains the technique perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBbc6TackDQ
DON’T NEGLECT STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING
A good running shoe does not mean we can neglect other parts of our training. Strengthening the calf and foot muscles, stretching the muscles and increasing our training at a sensible level (e.g. 10% rule) are all still crucial to making sure you run happy! Look out for more posts on this in the coming months.