The News on Shoes

By: Runner's World

You love running. It's one of your favorite past times. If you're stressed out from a long day at work, you go for a run to relax. If you're tired, a run will give you energy. Sometimes you run to clear my head or enjoy being outdoors. Other times you are feeling competitive. Whether you run for fun, fitness, or competition, appropriate running shoes are essential.

If you're running on old or ill-fitting shoes, you put yourself at risk of poor performance, discomfort, or serious injury. Some people (like your father!) like to stick with their worn out shoes. There is no reason to stand by your smelly, dirty, running shoes. Believe it or not, shoes aren't sentimental.

To find a pair of running shoes that are right for you, why not start by checking out the wear pattern on your thread-bare New Balances? They've seen you through 200+ miles, over that killer hill in the desert, and through that snow storm in New England. But it's time to make new shoe friends. Here are a few tips on how your wear pattern can help you improve your running with new and better shoes.

Even Wear:

Treads across the heel and under the ball of the foot are both worn, with additional wear marks underneath the big toe.

New Shoe Tip: These are the hallmarks of a healthy stride, and Runners who show this wear pattern are okay in the shoe model they're wearing, although heavier runners may benefit from a running shoe with some stability.. Just keep an eye on the treads: If they're worn smooth at any point, it's time for a new pair.

Edge Wear:

Tread loss is concentrated at the outside of the shoe. In extreme cases, there will be holes in the upper where the runner's foot has broken through.

New Shoe Tip: This is the usual wear pattern of runners who don't roll their ankles inward enough and tend to strike the ground with the outside edges of their feet. High, rigid arches that restrict the foot's inward roll are a common cause of supination. Landing on the outside of the foot puts a lot of pressure on the leg, so these runners tend to be candidates for stress fractures. They should look for well-cushioned running shoes, that absorb some of the pounding, and they should avoid stability shoes.

Heel and Forefoot Wear:

Significant wear in the heel and the ball of the foot extending to the big toe.

New Shoe Tip: Runners who roll their feet too far inward as they land, commonly show this wear pattern. They often have flat arches and a more flexible foot, so it rotates farther inward on the ground. Too much rotation at the hip or knee can also cause this. Running shoes that provide a lot of arch support can help runners limit the inward roll and keep their stride in line. Since they break down soles more quickly than other runners with the extra rotation on the ground, these runners should wear heavier shoes with more durable rubber outsoles.

Heel Wear:

Heel worn down to the midsole, with some slight wear around the ball of the foot.

New Shoe Tip: This wear pattern occurs with runners who overstride, meaning that they run with their feet too far in front of their body. Most of an overstrider's foot rotation happens in the air, which puts the heel in sole position to absorb the force at impact. Overstriders should look for running shoes that offer a lot of protection, since they are more durable and have extra cushioning to take some of the shock out of landing. They should also keep an eye on the heels of their shoes and be sure to replace any pair when the tread on the outside wears smooth.

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