Womens Running Shoes

Womens Running Shoes

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  1. Whether running marathons or just running to the grocery store, women’s running shoes have become as varied and ubiquitous as the ‘little black dress.’   Today’s running shoes are hardly just for hardcore runners anymore.  In fact, they have become a staple in American women’s apparel for both fashion and fitness.  However, if you plan on actually using running shoes for, well, running (other than the occasional wind-sprint to a mall sale), how do you go about finding the right running shoe? 


    Specialty Running Shoe Stores

    Choosing a running shoe can be overwhelming with all the latest fads, advertised technology and special features.  The first decision to make when choosing running shoes is how you plan to use them.  If you are going to use them primarily for running or jogging, you may want to consider a consultation at a specialty running shoe store in your local area.  Store consultants are trained to diagnose your individual running style, and find the most appropriate shoe for you. 

    A running shoe specialist may start by asking you a number of questions about your running.  How often and how far do you run?  How long have you been running?  Do you have any conditions such as shin splints, knock-knees or flat feet?  Then you may be asked to run without shoes, as they observe how your feet hit the ground, your gait and other structural factors.


    Cheaper Is Not Always Better

    Don’t be tempted to purchase discounted running shoes the same way you buy, say, discount running shorts or other women’s apparel on sale.  The right running shoes will make the difference between a comfortable, easy run or a potentially painful one resulting in injury.  At minimum, try going to a specialty store for your first pair, so you know what to buy in the future.  Once you find a specific brand and model that works, stick with it.  You can then search for your replacements online or at your local sports stores.


    Check Your Feet Before You Wreck Your Feet

    There are a few factors that will determine your proper running shoe.  The most important factor is pronation and foot type (level of your arch).  Pronation is the rolling of the foot from heel to toe as the foot strikes the ground.  Overpronation is too much roll from the outside (heel) to the inside (big toe) of your foot.  The heel bone angles inward and the arch tends to collapse.  Overpronation is often associated with knock-knees and flat feet (although not always- you can have flat feet and underpronate as well).

    Underpronation (or supination) occurs when the outside of the foot absorbs too much of the shock instead of finishing in a neutral position.  People with high arches or internal rotation at the hip, knee or ankle tend to underpronate.  Often (but not always), those who are bow-legged also tend to underpronate. 

    To determine if you over- or under- pronate, take a look at the soles of your current running shoes.  If the forefoot is worn on the inside, then you probably overpronate, and will benefit from motion-control shoes.  This will help prevent the foot from rolling inward and straining muscles, ligaments and tendons in the foot, ankle and leg.  If the forefoot is worn on the outside, then you should consider cushioned running shoes.  This will provide much needed ‘give’ to help absorb some of the shock that is not being absorbed by your feet naturally.  If the wear on your soles is uniform, then you have a neutral stride and may choose stability running shoes to help keep your form aligned properly. 


    Other Considerations

    Besides the physical mechanics, there are other factors to consider when choosing a running shoe.  Will you be running primarily indoors on a treadmill, or outdoors?  If outdoors, do you run on pavement or trails?  Trail running shoes tend to have a more stable sole and deeper treads for traction on dirt and rocks, and some are even waterproofed.  Also, think about the seasons in which you’ll be running.  If running through the winter, you may consider a more insulated and waterproofed shoe.  If running indoors or in fair weather, you can try a lighter, more breathable shoe.  Just like your choice of women’s apparel, you wouldn’t wear a raincoat to go sunbathing- nor should you run in the wrong shoes for your purpose!


    Finding Your Fit

    Once you find the right running shoes, make sure they are snug, but not too tight. You should be able to press your thumb between your largest toe and the top of the shoe.   Your foot should not slide around in the laced shoe, and your heel should not lift up or down when moving.  Keep in mind that running shoes can run between one half to one and a half sizes larger than your dress shoes, so be sure to try on a few sizes with the socks you typically wear for running.  Finally, sizes differ by brand, so always try them on a take a short run in the store before making your final purchase.  Investing time upfront to find the right running shoes can save years of pain and provide miles of enjoyment down the road.

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