Whether you’re a beginner runner or have a few races under your belt, the shoes you wear make a big difference. One of the best ways to prevent injuries is to wear a properly fitted running shoe — so it’s time to throw out those uncomfortable, ill-fitting sneakers.
“Not all running shoes are made the same,” said Scott Pennewill, sales associate at Flying Feet Sport Shoes in Springettsbury Township. “If you wear the wrong shoe, it can cause more harm than good.”
How do you know what shoe is best for you? Head to a specialty running store to be fitted by a knowledgeable expert. Chances are, they’re a runner. They’ll put you in the best shoe for your level of activity, foot type, running style and body structure.
At Flying Feet, it takes about a half hour to be fitted. Customers discuss their exercise routine, then Flying Feet’s staff examines anatomical and biomechanical information by measuring and using thermal boards. Once a type of shoe is chosen, the customer walks or runs some 30 feet while the employee studies their running style. This is done outside or on an indoor treadmill.
“It’s important to wear the shoe you need,” said Pennewill. “For example, if you have a high arch and tend to push out, you need a shoe that helps keep that alignment.”
If you’re serious about running, stay away from big-box sporting goods stores that sell stripped-down athletic shoes. It’s worth the cost to have experienced staff fit and measure you for the right shoe.
“Some stores water down the technology of running shoes,” said Pennewill. “You get what you pay for.”
Finding the right shoe
So how do you know if being fitted for running shoes is right for you?
“If you’re serious about running, you’ll want to make that transition from wearing an OK shoe to an actual specialty running shoe,” he says. “If you’re still deciding if this is the thing for you, you can get away with a basic shoe.”
Another tip — take a look at how often, and what distance, you’re running.
“Mileage matters,” said Pennewill. “If you’re running one or two miles a few times a week, you don’t need anything special. Your body will let you know when it’s time to take your shoe to the next level.”
Did you know?
Replace running shoes every six months or 500 miles, whichever comes first. You’ll know it’s time when the mid-sole (the cushioning) begins to break down.
Where to get fitted
If you’re ready to invest in a specialty running shoe, here are some area stores:
Flying Feet Sport Shoes, 1511 Mt. Rose Ave., Springettsbury Township; 717-845-283; www.flyingfeet.com.
SoleMates, 110 W. Eisenhower Drive, Hanover; 717-634-2870; www.solematesrunning.com.
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