When it comes to selecting the right running shoes, runners are often given the same sage advice: visit your local running store for a proper fitting, and buy whatever they recommend. In many cases, this is a great idea. A running shoe expert can ensure you get shoes that address your specific needs, such as extra support for overpronation or extra padding for a high arch.
Running stores tend to stock the latest and flashiest running shoe styles. Some of the features of these flashy styles are more for show than for function. If you're looking to spend less and still walk out with a shoe that fits your foot and meets your biomechanical needs, feel free to look past these three trendy running shoe developments and go with a more basic, classic shoe.
Thick, archless soles.
Traditional running shoes have soles that come into contact with the ground at the toe and ball of the foot and at the heel. There's a slight raised area under the arch, where the sole does not touch the ground. This design worked for runners for decades. Recently, however, companies are designing shoes with soles that are totally flat on the bottom. This extra padding is claimed to reduce injuries and speed recovery time. However, scientific studies have not backed these claims.
Some ultramarathon runners have reported fewer injuries when running in these extra-padded, archless shoes, but unless you're logging hundreds of miles per week, you can safely leave them on the shelf and stick with more traditional styles.
Rubber No-Slip Soles
Several popular brands have released running shoes with no-slip rubber soles similar to those which are commonly seen on hiking boots. Many trail runners have long depended on this type of sole to get them through slippery runs on rainy days. However, these soles are now appearing on running shoes meant for everyday use on streets and sidewalks.
Think about it – when was the last time you actually slipped while running on a clear street? Unless you make a habit of running outside after a freezing rain storm or slogging along sloppy trails, you don't need this type of sole on an everyday running shoe.
There's nothing wrong with keeping up with the latest running shoe trends. If you want to have the coolest running shoes on your team or at your gym, by all means, purchase a pair with ultra-thick or rubberized soles. Do not, however, count on these features to prevent foot and leg injuries. These features are more about looks than function, and injury prevention still relies on increasing your mileage slowly and remembering to take your rest days. Talk to places like Mid Nebraska Foot Clinic for more information.