As an increasingly popular sport, running may be part of an active lifestyle and a way to enjoy high quality leisure time for many. Alongside reported health benefits, regular exercise may contribute to better self-awareness and work-life balance. As team captain, it is encouraging to see positive interest among members.
Picking the Right Running Shoe
While running is an accessible form of exercise, a pair of good running shoes is essential. Running shoes compatible with the runner’s biomechanics may help mitigate injury risk and improve efficiency. They are like a runner’s “best buddy” given the time spent in them. Fartleks and runs totaling about 100 kilometers per week during marathon training would not be possible without the wonderful support!
Shoes worn by athletes in this year’s Summer Olympic Games obviously have come a long way since the first modern edition in 1896. See photographs for independent samples of latest running shoes. Ask yourself which pair suits you best? Did the answer come easily?
With the wide variety of shoes on the market, runners may be pleasantly spoilt for choice. What factors need to be considered? How can risk of blisters be minimised? Is the answer as elusive as Cinderella’s magic slippers? If feet could talk, the inside story on running shoes could go something like this ….
It’s no Fairytale, but What if Feet Could Tell Us What’s Best …
Materials and workmanship? Once upon a time, during a 20km run on a humid July weekend, the runner’s Left Foot asked the Right Foot, “Hey buddy! What do you think of Boss’s new running shoes? The moisture-wicking materials seem durable, breathable and light weight.” Right Foot replied, “Yeah, most running shoes are made of synthetic leather and mesh, and have high quality build. Mr Emil Zátopek, the triple 1952 Olympic champion would no doubt find modern sneakers sensational! Left Foot said, “Still, Boss did his due diligence at the shop. For example, the Adidas’ high tech Boost foam midsole offers a feel that is high in responsiveness. With the new combined gel and foam technology, the ASICS fuzeX running shoes seem responsive and lighter than other ASICS.”
Shoe fit the run? Left Foot exclaimed, “Phew! I’m glad Boss is avoiding rocky trails.” Right Foot said, “Running shoes should suit the terrain and type of running, eg track, paved road or trails. For example, for speed work training or racing on the track, the pair of Mizuno trainers looks primed for the role. If I needed serious traction, the shop also offered track spikes.”
3-D Feet? Right Foot asked, “Shoes are roomy?” Wriggling toes in agreement, Left Foot replied, “Yeah, spacious enough to accommodate my size plus natural swelling during running. Boss has remembered to get half size larger than normal shoes with sufficient width and toe volume.”
Check foot shape or arch? Left Foot said, “I can already feel that the benefits of seeing the podiatrist and running gait and foot-strike check. Goodbye to heel soreness….”. Right Foot said, “Specialist fitting advice helps. Foot shape or arch height alone may not properly inform appropriate shoe type, cushioning, etc.”
Foot strike and heel-to-toe drop? Left Foot added, “By showing Boss’s running form, the check also identified differences between the height of the toe and the heel of the shoe. The shoe’s “drop” may affect how we strike the ground.”
Feel right? Right Foot asked, “How’s the feel or snugness at heel, midfoot and forefoot?” Left Foot replied, “Shoe feels almost part of me! No rubbing at seams. By bending at the same point as we do, the shoes avoid inhibiting motion. Right Foot recalled, “For a customised feel, the Reebok ZPump running shoes offers an innovative pump and inflatable bladder feature that provides air cushioning”.
Wow factor? While passing a puddle, Right Foot proclaimed, “We looked smart in all the running shoes briefly sampled at the shop!” Left Foot said, “Sure, fashionable feet pay attention to shoe colour, style and brand, although the shoe specialist reminded Boss that trends should not trump fitting.”
Price v Fitting? Right Foot asked, “Why didn’t Boss simply pick the most expensive pair?” Right Foot replied, “Higher price does not necessarily equal better fitting. Cutting corners on quality may not mitigate foot or knee risks. Dude, talk later as Boss is pushing beyond conversational pace!”
Why Do the Feet Feel Liberated?
While the non-exhaustive narrative may belong partly in the realm of fiction, runners should be under no illusion about the underlying message. Recreational runners ignore conventional wisdom of listening to their bodies (and hard-working feet) at their own peril. Therefore, these insightful tips coupled with specialist fitting, gait check and shoe test at the sports shop (preferably in the afternoon when feet have “swollen” and wearing socks) should help a runner to find new shoes that fit his or her personal needs and preferences.
Living the Lifestyle!
With reputable sports shoe makers behind the pictured samples, each pair is worthy of members’ consideration. Why not live the lifestyle and show off new pumps at next team training! Many thanks to the Law Society Member Services’ Ms. Janice Yuen, Eric the photographer, the publisher, the running shoe companies (pictured) and the team!