Put your best foot forwards- A guide to buying the right trainers.

March 01, 2012

I don’t sell trainers but years in the fitness business has taught me that choosing the right trainers is critical to an injury free and comfortable running experience. So follow this trainer shopping guide and your feet, knees, hips and back with thank you for ever!

Step1: Understand your ‘foot type’.

Look at your wet footprint when you next get out of the shower and check whether they are 1) over-pronating or flat-footed – that’s me! 2) normal pronating – your arch will appear about half the width of the widest part of the foot or 3) supinating eg you have a high arch. Another way to check whether your feet roll is to look at the heal of your shoes.

Did your wet footprints surprise you? If one footprint seems to pronate more than the other I suggest you buy a pair of trainers to fit the foot that is most ‘flat’. You can then get great inner soles that can be shaped to support your feet.

Step 2: Match your foot type to the shoe shape:

Running shoes handily come in three shapes which neatly support these foot types; 1) straight for over-pronating feet, 2) slightly curved for normal feet and 3) curved for supinators.

If you don’t get the support right it can impact not only on your feet but can cause problems all over your body. Your body tends to compensate for flat feet by allowing your knees to roll in which can become very painful at the knee or create problems else where in the body like the hips.

Step 3: Find a trainer with the right roll control:

Another handy feature for fellow flat footers is ‘roll control’ which stops your foot rolling over. Essentially this is a firm sole with denser material where the arch of your foot should be.

If you have type 3) supinating or high arches your feet will struggle with the impact from running unless you buy shoes with a good amount of cushioning.

Step 4: Get the right size:

Your running shoes should be between half and one size bigger than your usual shoes.

Step5: Try as many as you can:

If you are looking to buy shoes I highly recommend going into a specialist running shop. Any good running shop will have a treadmill set up and allow you to try as many pairs of running shoes as you need. Hopefully this little blog will give you an idea where to start.

Step 6: Don’t give up!

It may be a hassle but please don’t stop looking for the perfect trainer until you find the one that support you. If you are sure you have the right shoe another issue that can effect running comfort is that some people have one leg longer than the other. In fact my osteopath recently told me that I had about 2.5cm difference in the length of my legs. This is really easy for a physio, osteopath or chiropractor to spot and they will most-likely provide you with a small step to place inside your shoe.