Saturday, September 1, 2012

How To Choose Your Running Shoes

There is no easy way to say this, but we cannot choose a pair of running shoes just because you lurve the colours (like hey, it matches my shorts, dammit!) or because it's a really really really famous brand!

 I wish I could simplify this but I learnt this along the way (and I'm still hopelessly confused at times) when I first started running in 2009.

But we learn new things everyday so I really hope that this rambling post of mine will assist some of you newbies out there. (Disclaimer: But I'm no expert!)

1. Do you pronate?
Pronation is the rolling of your foot from the heel to the toe as your foot lands on the ground.

You should identify whether your feet are neutral, under-pronate or over-pronate when you walk/run. How can you tell?

Check the soles of your shoes and see how it wears.

If the heels of your shoes wear off evenly, you're neutral.
If the outer heels of your shoes and the side of your feet (the side of your little toes) are worn off, you under-pronate.
If your outer heels of your shoes but the inner side of your feet (the side of your big toes) are worn off, you over-pronate.

 [source: Brooks Malaysia]

Looking at my current pair of Brooks shoes, I under-pronate.

See how the soles of my shoes wear off? The outer heels and the outer feet.

See my left sole?

Note: This pictures are just for illustration purposes.

2. What foot type are you?
Are you normal, high arched or low arched?

Touch the curve along the inside of your foot with your foot flat on the ground. 

If there's a wee bit space, say, you can only squeeze your finger tips in) between the inside curve of your foot and the ground, you have a neutral arch.

If there's barely space in between, then you're flat footed and have a low arch.

If you there's plenty of space in between say, more than your finger tips, you probably have a high arch.

  [source: Brooks Malaysia]

I myself have a neutral arch, thanks for asking. ;D

Knowing your foot and pronation type is the first step towards choosing the right shoes for you. Check out the diagram on Brooks Malaysia's website here.

3. What type of shoes are for you?
Cushioning, Stability, Lightweight ... Oh my goodness, what's with all these names?

Cushioned shoes are generally for people who don't over-pronate and have a moderate or high arch. Suitable for the neutral runners with softer mid-sole support with no arch support.

Stability shoes have extra support to decelerate the pronation of your foot, including an arch support. Suitable for the mid-weight runner. (If you ask me, they may feel a wee bit chunky but I stand corrected.)

Lightweight are generally recommended to people with a more neutral foot type. There are some lightweight shoes which have a bit of stability, but do bear in mind that these shoes usually offer minimal support.

 [source: Brooks Malaysia]

A few years ago, I started off with a lightweight shoe because I liked them really light.

After running in them for about a year, I realised that my feet would hurt, especially around the ankles. Occasionally, I would grimace in pain whenever my foot landed at an awkward angle.

Soon after that, I wore cushioned shoes. To date, I still wear cushioned shoes and have no problems with it so far.

Always go to a speciality store near you and have their people assist you in finding out your foot and pronation type. Let them recommend you the right shoe for you.

Don't go to a departmental store for running shoes because the assistants may not be knowledgeable enough to guide you.
4. Wear half a size bigger than your shoe size.
 Always make sure there is space between the tip of the shoe and your toes. They can't be too tight! And make sure you wear socks while you're trying out your shoes as well.

Your feet will swell while you're running and if your shoes are too tight, your feet may feel uncomfortable and you could develop blisters.

Or worst, blue/black toenails!

You don't want to see a picture of my blue/black toenails then. Ugh!

Seek on Google and you shall find! ;D

My second toe nails on both feet have never recovered since then. They're so ugly that I'm too embarrassed to have pedicures ... for life.

5. Your shoes have a life too.
Did you know that?

They normally average for about 650km. Fancy that!

Why is it important to choose the right pair of running shoes for you?

Proper shoes support your whole body and the impact from running shouldn't jar your entire body of bones. You will also have less tendency to get injured around the ankles, knees and hips with the proper support.

Brooks Malaysia will be happy to assist you select the right running shoe for you. Visit their nearest outlets and seek their assistance. They're pretty helpful, especially the outlet at Sunway Pyramid!

And you know what? Looking my pair of shoes, I think it's time I buy a new pair!!

Otherwise, why not participate in their Go Green Campaign?

I'll brief you about it in the next post! =)

For more information on Brooks' products and outlets, check out their website at

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