When you think about comfortable shoes, one of the first things that come to mind is probably extra padding. As it turns out, however, the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that running shoes that incorporate shock-absorbing padding are no more effective at preventing injuries than running shoes without additional padding.
The study itself, which involved 247 participants, ran for five months. During this time, participants were asked to train in hard-soled or soft-soled running shoes a minimum of one time each week. When the study ended, the researchers found that the shoes did not seem to make a difference in the type or severity of injuries that occurred. These results seem to indicate that extra padding doesn’t necessarily minimize the risk of injury.
According to the researchers, this may be in part due to the fact that people tend to adjust their running habits on their own to eliminate any pain or discomfort. This could essentially cancel out any of the benefits of wearing soft-soled running shoes. The researchers did find, however, that past injuries and body weight both affect the performance of participants far more than the shoes that they were wearing.
You may be wondering what that means when it comes to shopping for running shoes. As it turns out, the primary thing that you should look for when you shop for shoes is comfort. They should fit well and should feel good on your feet. Try keeping these tips in mind as you shop to find a great pair of shoes:
Consider Shopping At Small, Specialty Stores
Typically, small stores that specialize in athletic footwear employ people who are more knowledgeable about athletic shoes than larger department stores. Being able to talk to an expert about your needs can make it easier to find the perfect pair of shoes.
Choose Shoes That Offer The Right Fit
Most experts recommend buying running shoes that are slightly larger than shoes that you wear for other activities. Adding an extra half of an inch to the length of your shoes can give your feet the room that they need to move. You also may need to experiment with different shoe widths to find the right fit for your feet. The key is to avoid buying shoes that are too small or that rub against your skin, causing pain and irritation.
Try Them Out
Before buying a pair of shoes, try running in them. Most salespeople won’t mind if you take a quick jog around the store. In some cases, they may even let you try them on the pavement outside. Just be sure to ask before you try running in them. Again, smaller stores that focus primarily on athletic shoes are generally more accommodating when it comes to allowing you to test out the shoes ahead of time than larger stores.
When you find a pair of running shoes that you like, consider buying an extra pair. Having a backup pair that you can use when your current pair wears out can eliminate the headache of having to buy new shoes again. If you want to get a great deal on a second pair of shoes, consider waiting until next year’s models are released. Usually, stores will significantly discount the price on shoes from the current year when the new ones come in.
Never Guess When It Comes To Size
According to Orthotic Shop every time you buy a pair of shoes, even Spenco sandals, you should have your feet measured. You should also try on the shoes before you buy them. Don’t assume that sizes are consistent between manufacturers. Even though a particular size works for you in one brand, you may need to go up or down a size in a different brand. Trying on the shoes in person is the best way to ensure that you get the proper fit.
Don’t Fall For Special Features
A lot of times, shoe manufacturers will try to add extras to their shoes as a way of enticing people to pay more money for special features. In most cases, however, these features don’t provide any additional benefit when it comes to preventing injuries. The only exception is if your doctor recommends buying shoes with gel inserts or other features. Otherwise, you should be able to get by with basic shoes that don’t have a lot of extra bells and whistles.