WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET FITTED FOR RUNNING SHOES and not just buy the ones that are least ugly part 1: PERSONAL
With the rise and rise of athleisure sneakers are hot property – which means it’s very easy to get caught up in the fashion of footwear, and completely forget about function. If we’re talking sneakers for general everyday comfort knock yourself out with whichever off-the-shelf Nikes catch your eye, but a high impact, high volume, repetitive activity like running? Different story.
We are all, in theory, built to run, but our biomechanics are different. Most of us need a bit of help to stay injury free, and this starts from the ground up. All sneakers are not created equal – and we’re not talking design subtleties between Y3 v Yeezy.
Run Your Style’s bottom line? It’s so tempting to shop on style cred first, but the risk of serious injury from running in inappropriate footwear is real. It’s really important to find a technical shoe that suits both your body and your training needs.
But I get it. Most of the options are horrific chunky monstrosities in too many colours. I’ve definitely been guilty of choosing form over function in the past - blame it on growing up in an era when sneakers were either Baby Spice platform numbers or worn by suits power-walking to work (how they didn’t sweat through their polyester blazers is a mystery to me), for a very long time I’d rather be seen dead than insult my outfit with a pair of trainers. Pre #runnerlife the last pair of vaguely athletic shoes I (or rather, my long-suffering mother – sorry Mum) bought was an ill fitting pair of Reebok hi tops. For school sport. No, it wasn’t the 80s. Yes, they were completely inappropriate, for both my feet and strictly regulated school uniform, but in my head I was part of the Breakfast Club so suffered through the pain they inevitably caused.
Cue many years of then wearing bad high heels (because FASHUN, but fashion student budget), when, finally, I came to realise that the most important element when choosing a shoe is fit, with quality a close second. It might look the business, but if it isn’t friends with your foot you’re wasting your time/cash/life. With heels I look for good balance, an appropriate shape in the toes, vamp and sole and sturdy, preferably Italian construction – but you’re not likely to be pounding the pavement in Aquazurra stilettos or Acne boots in quite the same way that you will your runners, so there are some other factors to consider.
The good news is that you don’t have to navigate the wide world of sneakers on your own. Any running shop worth their salt will offer gait analysis and shoe fitting to help you suss out what ‘right for you’ actually is (but like anything, there are generalists and specialists so expect the process to vary between stores/fitters) – so let’s get technical about the things you need to be looking out for.