How to find a running shoe that fits
Now that the warmer weather is here, we are changing sports and running (or walking and hiking) again. In anticipation of getting out on the trail, some of you might pull your trusty trail shoes from the bottom of the closet and notice that the tread is worn and they have molded to the shape of your feet. Yet while they’re finally comfortable, they might hurt your back if you wear them too long. Begrudgingly, you realize it’s probably time to retire them and get some replacements. What should you get? Ideally, a good running shoe is a comfortable one that provides the appropriate amount of support. It has a minimal break-in time, incredible durability, keeps your feet dry, and doesn’t give you blisters or bunions. Running shoes are often manufactured for ideal feet. The reality is that very few people have ideal feet. This presents a problem with proper fit. A few basic facts and sometimes, when required, the use of the appropriate orthotic, can greatly aid in the perfect person/running shoe fit.To make that possible, let’s get familiar with some “shoe anatomy.” Knowing what each part of the shoe is and what it does, helps users understand how best to fit their shoes.- The Sole (also called the outsole): This is the part of the shoe that comes in contact with the ground. It is usually made of rubber and provides for some degree of shock absorption and traction. – The Midsole: Sandwiched between the sole and the upper, this material is very important, as it will accommodate to the load imposed on it from you and your body weight. Softer density material in the heel of the shoe softens the forces acting at heel strike and is good for impact and shock absorption. The stiffer the material, the more motion control. – The Shank: The shank is the stiff area of the shoe between the heel to the middle of the foot. It corresponds to the medial longitudinal arch of the foot, provides torsional rigidity to this shoe and helps to limit or allow motion at the individual foot articulations.- The Last: The last (look inside the shoe on top of the shank) is the surface that the insole of the shoe lays on, where the sole and upper are attached. Shoes have either a straight or curved last, with certain shapes appropriate for different foot types.n The Upper: This is the sides and top of the shoe, the part above the midsole that holds your foot on the sole. It is usually made of nylon, Gore-Tex or some other manmade material. Pick something light and breathable.- The Heel Counter: This is the back of the upper. A strong, deep heel counter with medial and lateral support is also important for motion control; The heel counter should grip right above the calcaneus, hugging the Achilles tendon.- The Toe Box: This should be generous enough to prevent crowding and pressure on the metatarsal heads. Excessive pressure can result in bunions and/or hammertoes. The shoe may soften and break down laterally, but it will not increase in length.- The Insole: This removable inner footbed is the part of the shoe that an orthotic would replace. They are usually made of some type of foam or EVA material. Some of the newer ones are even dual density foam.When measuring your feet and determining shoe size, do it both sitting and standing and use the larger of the two sizes, and remember your feet swell as the day goes on, so they are larger at the end of the day.People often buy smaller shoes because when you pronate, there is less volume in the midfoot and a smaller-size shoe will feel better.Hopefully you now have a better idea of what shoes are all about. Know your feet and your needs and pick a shoe that fits them both. Drs. Waerlop and Asthalter will be giving a free running shoe clinic at Wilderness Sports in Dillon in Red Mountain Plaza today at 6:30 p.m. They practice at Summit Chiropractic and Rehabilitation in the Dillon Tech Center and can be reached at (970) 513-9234.Running Shoe ClinicWhere: Wilderness Sports in DillonWhen: Today at 6:30 p.m.Cost: Free
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