Track, trail or sand: the secret to a good run starts at the shoe shop


SO you’ve decided to take up running and you’ve made a great decision. Along with obvious health benefits, a great advantage over pastimes like golf or cricket is that you just need yourself, some very basic kit and an open space to get going, making the transition from couch potato to certified practitioner of the sport a fairly simple and inexpensive process.

The first thing you will need are some decent running shoes, but how should you pick them? Turn up at your local sports warehouse, select the ones that are the prettiest colour within your budget, and run straight home in them?

Alas, no. To avoid injury it’s essential you get the right choice for your requirements and running style. Fear not: simply adhere to the following best practice and you won’t go too far wrong...

• Buy from a specialist running store.

• Know your foot strike (neutral, overpronation or supination) and get a shoe with the correct amount of support.

• Get the best brand for you. There is no correct choice but they all fit differently and some will suit the characteristics of your foot type better than others.

• Ensure shoes fit snugly around the heel.

• Ensure shoes are not too tight around the mid-foot (where the foot arch is).

• Ensure there is approximately a thumb’s width of space between the end of your toes and the front of the shoes.

• Ensure toes have room to wiggle (important as during a run your feet will expand).

• Experiment with different lacing techniques for maximum comfort.

• Get the correct shoe for the surface you intend to run on (road, fells, trails etc.)

• Change shoes after about 500 running miles.

Don’t worry, your running specialist will help you with all the above by using video or gait analysis. You may not get the shoes in the prettiest colour, but you can console yourself with the knowledge that if they had led to you getting injured you may well have fallen out of love with them anyway.

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