5 Running Shoe Mistakes You May Be Making
Whether you've just started running or have been running for decades these are common running shoe mistakes that even seasoned runners sometimes make. Get ahead of the curve and know what to look out for so you don't make these same mistakes with your running shoes.
Running is a great sport because you don't need a big investment or a lot of training to get started, most people can strap on a pair of shoes and hit the pavement to begin their running journey. Picking the right shoe for your individual running style and mechanics is the single most important thing you can do to ensure a good running experience and to help avoid pesky injuries. Don't dig out your old gym shoes from the back of the closet. The first thing I recommend to runners is to go to a specialty running store and get properly fit for the correct shoes.
MISTAKE #1: BUYING THE SAME SHOE YOUR RUNNING PARTNER LOVES
Just because a shoe works well for your running partner does not mean it will be the right shoe for you and your individual running mechanics. (My running partner doesn't wear running shoes, but that's another story.) I see people making the mistake of asking for shoe recommendations in online groups or depending on online reviews. If your BRF (best running friend) wears a stability shoe and you buy a stability shoe when you don't need one, you are opening yourself up to injuries. Visit a specialty running store and get a proper fitting to find out the right shoe for you.
MISTAKE #2: CHOOSING (OR NOT CHOOSING) A SHOE FOR THE COLOR
Of all the factors to consider when buying a pair a running shoes, the color should be the last consideration. You want to make sure you are buying shoes that function best for your running mechanics, then they must be comfortable and sized correctly. They should be functional, they should fit well and feel comfortable. Fashion is not one of the three Fs of running shoes. It would be a mistake to choose your running shoes based on colors alone.
MISTAKE #3: BUYING THE WRONG SIZE
Even if you think you know your shoe size, it's usually a good idea to get your feet measured (both of them). Your foot size and shape can change over time. If you are running in the size you've always worn, it may not be the right fit for you anymore.
Running shoes should be 1/2 size to one full size bigger than your dress shoes. Your feet swell during running and you need to allow for the extra space for your foot to expand. Aim for a thumb-width of space between the end of your big toe and the end of the shoe. Don't worry about the size number on the box. A comfortable fit with room to grow is more important.
MISTAKE #4: WEARING YOUR SHOES TOO LONG
Running shoes generally last up to 500 miles. That means if you run 20 miles a week, you get about six months out of them, depending on your running style, your body weight and running surfaces. When you outrun the life of your running shoes you open yourself up to the risk of injury. Not sure when the right time to replace? Check out this article on how to tell when it's time to replace your running shoes plus tips on how to extend wear. Spoiler alert: Usually around 500 miles, when the tread is worn down, when the midsoles are compressed or when your body tells you with new aches and pains. If you've been wearing the same shoes since last summer, it's probably time to replace.
MISTAKE #5: BUYING DISCOUNT RUNNING SHOES
Hey, I get it. I like to save money as much as the next gal, but if you are buying your running shoes from a big discount shoe store you miss out on the opportunity to get properly fitted for the correct shoe. When you shop at your local running store you get expert advice, a great fitting and you are supporting small business in your local economy. It may cost a little more, but you are paying to make sure you get in the right shoes the first time. Cheap shoes that are not right for you can cost you a lot more in the long run.
Have you made any of these mistakes? I know I have and I've paid for my sins with lost toenails and unnecessary aches and pains. We learn from our mistakes and get smarter with time. Take my advice to avoid these common running shoe mistakes to stay healthy and out on the road!
Are you in Fort Worth? We'd love to help fit you for the perfect running shoes. Not in Fort Worth? Use this specialty running store finder to find a store near you.
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Lea Genders is a running coach and personal trainer in Fort Worth, TX that specializes in strength training for runners. Visit her on Mondays at Lone Star Walking & Running Company, on her strength & running blog at www.leagendersfitness.com or say hi to her and her favorite four-legged running partner over on Instagram at Runningwithollie