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The Right Running Shoe Begins at the Podiatrist
When searching for a new running shoe, the best place to start is at your local podiatrist for a foot evaluation. They will help you to understand the nature of your feet including the nature of your arch as well as the full biomechanics of your feet. Remember, not all shoes are the same. They are not all built the same with a different look to be fashionable. They are designed to work with your foot to give you the most comfortable experience and enhance your performance. But if your foot and shoe don't line up, they can be counterproductive. If running is not going to be a major part of your life and you can't justify a trip to the podiatrist, the next best thing to do is find a local shoe store that specializes in athletic shoes that has an experienced salesman (not the part time employee that' only been working 2 months).
Discuss with this expert about your plans and goals. A marathon around the corner can dramatically change your needs compared to a short morning jog on the weekends. Also discuss injuries you have had in the past as well as times in the past when your feet have hurt. For example, do your arches hurt when you stand for long periods of time? Make sure to bring a current pair of shoes for them to look at and make comparisons. The more you discuss, the better educated you will likely be.
The key questions to have answered are: Is my arch high, normal, or flat? Are there safety concerns based on my foot type? Will I need to wear an orthotic insole in my shoes? What is the proper shoe size for my feet (keeping in mind that it may be different for both shoes)? What type of shoe will best suit your foot type - neutral, stability, motion control? Remember to write all this down.
Keep in mind that if you wear prescription orthotics, that this will play an important role in the shoe you buy. Not all shoes are compatible with orthotic insoles, While most insoles can be removed from the shoe, some orthotics are designed to be used with a specific type of arch and other are designed to work with an insole. Your podiatrist as well as the shoe store should be able to let you know which type of shoe the insole is compatible with. Your job is to remember to ask as you will likely need to use the orthotic in any shoe.
Armed with the right information, it is time to buy. It is generally best to buy your first pair of shoes from a local store where you can be properly fitted. When it comes time to replace your first pair, the internet opens up a world of opportunities once you know exactly what your foot needs and have confirmed that a specific type of shoe works for your foot and works well with your orthotics. Remember, you only have one pair of feet and that is it. Treat them with the care they deserve and they will last that much long and you will have a better experience during and after your run.
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