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How to choose running shoes

Choose Running Shoes | Live Great | Great Eastern Life

Whether you are running your first marathon or pounding the pavement for the first time, choosing the right pair of running shoes is the first step to running comfortably and injury free.

1. Where are you running?
It's hot and humid here and you may find your shoes deteriorate faster in this climate. If you find a shoe that fits perfectly it's sometimes wise to buy an extra pair. Designs can change and may be less comfortable. Also, take into consideration whether you generally run on a treadmill in the air-conditioned gym, pound the pavements, or run on specialised running tracks or grass. Your running shoes should provide stability, support and motion control, giving maximum comfort on the running surface.

In fact, where you run should be your main criteria when choosing the right running shoe:

  1. If you're a road runner or prefer to pound in the gym, then a standard running shoe will suit both surfaces.
  2. If, on the other hand you want to go off the beaten track and run off road, you'll need a running shoe with a thicker sole. These have a bit more grip to help you through the mud and wet.
  3. Don't be tempted to cut costs and think you can find something that is suitable for both – if a running shoe is not fit for purpose that's when injuries can occur.

2. Did you suffer injuries from running?
A good pair of shoes can also help to protect your joints and lower limbs when you run. Stretch regularly, warm up and cool down before running as well. All these minimise your chances of getting injured. If you suffer from slight, but niggling injuries – like tender feet (a common running injury known as plantar fasciitis), tight hamstrings, shin splints or aching knees – your running shoe could be to blame. Historically the best type of running shoes were suggested depending on foot analysis. This would mean that the flat –footed runner would have been steered towards a motion-control shoe that controlled pronation – the inward roll of the foot. People with high arches, on the other hand, would have been advised to buy a neutrally cushioned shoe.

However, recent studies have shown that prescribing running shoes according to foot type has no affect on reducing running injuries - or improving running performance. What's most important when choosing running shoes is comfort.

With that in mind, here are my top three tips for choosing comfortable running shoes for three of the most common types of runners:

  1. Beginners: Choose lighter, more minimal shoes, instead of big, bulky shoes
  2. Children: When purchasing running shoes for children, go for ultra-minimalist shoes that allow their feet to move freely as they are lightweight and offer both moderate cushioning and protection.
  3. Marathon or long-distance: Choose more cushioned shoes and look for shoes with a toe-box that's wide enough to allow your toes to spread freely.
    Running with the right shoes not only improves performance but also helps to build your confidence and makes running more pleasurable.

Ultimately, comfort is the number one consideration when selecting your shoes. Once you find a shoe that fits, excites you and looks cool, just it lace up and get running!

Want more?
Running is a sport that can be enjoyed by all the family. From KLCC Park in Kuala Lumpur to East Coast Park in Singapore, click here for our top running spots in Malaysia and Singapore.

About the contributor
Glenn Fayers is a Senior Physiotherapist at Singapore Physio and has been practising in Singapore for five years. To find out more about Singapore Physio's services, including a runner's clinic that will help you achieve your personal best. 

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