So you have decided to run your first marathon, you have a training plan set up, you have routes to run, but what do you put on your feet? Do you just grab some sneakers and go? Only if your training program is limited to your driveway. Running shoes are the most important piece of equipment you will purchase for your running career. First look in your phone book or on the Internet and find the nearest running store in your town. Most running specialty stores will have trained employees that will help to fit you into the perfect pair of running shoes.
There are three types of feet and thus three types of running shoes.
- Normal Pronator: This is the foot with a normal arch. The type of shoe for this foot is a stability shoe, one that offers some pronation control.
- Over Pronator: This is the foot with no arch or flat foot. The type of shoe for this type of foot is a motion-control shoe that controls pronation.
- Under Pronator: This is the foot with a high arch. The type of shoe for this foot is a neutral shoe that allows natural foot motion.
If you do not have a running store near you that can help you what type of foot you have, you can do a simple “wet test” to determine which type of shoe is best for you. Wet the bottom of each foot and stand normally on a paper bag. After a minute or so, step off and observe the imprint left by your foot. Trace the outline with a pencil so that you can bring it to your local running store to help choose your new running shoes.
Be sure that the shoes you choose have a lot of room in the toe box. While standing in the shoes, flex your toes; they should push up on the mesh part of the toe box not the canvas or leather. I found that I wear a size and a half larger in running shoes than I do in everyday shoes. When I start my runs my shoes are a bit loose, but by the end of the run they fit perfectly. Your feet will swell as you put in the miles.
You will not know for sure if the shoes you choose are the right ones until you put in some miles on them. It took me three tries to find the right shoes for my feet. I ran over 100 miles on my first pair before I realized they just were not right. Most running stores will offer some sort of return policy, 30 days of running, and if they are not right you can exchange them for another pair. Ask first before you buy what is their policy. Running shoes can be your most expensive investment, but are well worth the cost and the time and effort to find the right pair.