When choosing your running shoes, take into account the conditions you’ll be running in, your goals, your gait type and body type. With the right running shoes, you will protect your back, improve your comfort and achieve better performance.
Choosing the most suitable running shoes for your sport activity
The choice of your running shoes depends on different aspects of your sport:
- Training frequency: you won’t need the same pair of shoes if you train 1 to 3 times a week or between 3 and 5 times a week.
- Distance covered: how many kilometres do you run per week? If you are preparing for a marathon or race, for example, your shoes should be able to withstand intensive use and be comfortable enough to run for a long time.
- The terrain: there are just as many types of running shoes as there are training grounds. Do you run on a treadmill, on the road, in the forest, on a race track, or on pavements?
If you’re running on the road, give priority to good cushioning, then consider stability and finally comfort. If you’re going to practise on steep paths or terrain, look for durability, comfort and weather resistance. On running tracks, shoes should be lightweight and equipped with spikes. On treadmills, opt for comfort with a versatile design.
Choosing the right running shoes based on your goals
Depending on your sporting objectives, you will not necessarily need to go for the same type of running shoes:
- If you want to get back in shape, jogging shoes will meet your needs.
- To prepare for a race, focus more on performance with high-tech running shoes.
- If you are preparing for a race or running in extreme conditions, the technical nature of the footwear will not be the same as for on the road as the track. The shoes will often be heavier and more durable.
Beyond the objectives, not all runners prioritise the same criteria when choosing their running shoes. The decision is primarily a personal one: which features do you prefer?
- Comfort: the inner lining material, waterproofing, breathability…
- Cushioning: to protect your joints from the impacts felt during the race.
- Stability, strongly linked to your gait (whether you are a supinator or pronator)
- Practicality: ease of maintenance, weight…
- Lightness: to achieve better performance, gain speed…
Choosing shoes that are suitable for your gait and body type
When choosing running shoes in which you will be running for many kilometres, personal factors such as the type of gait you have or your body type are taken into account. Each pair of shoes also has a specific lifespan depending on its materials, the practice area and the frequency of training. By knowing how to detect the signs of wear and tear on your shoes, you can ensure that you run in the right conditions.
What is your gait type?
With an average of 800 steps per kilometre, this criterion should not be overlooked when selecting your running shoes. There are different gait types:
- Neutral or universal gait: this gait type is balanced and the foot is well-aligned.
- The supination gait: during a race, the foot leans outwards.
- The pronation gait: the opposite happens as the foot tends to lean inwards.
To find out your gait type, take a look at your shoe sole’s condition: is it more inwards or outwards? You can also ask a specialist for advice.
How to choose the right shoes for your body type?
The body absorbs the equivalent of 2 to 4 times your weight with each step. By choosing a good cushioning, you avoid transferring the impacts to your joints and protect your knees and back. There are shoes that indicate the weight range so you can choose the right one.
During running, the foot tends to lengthen and widen. To find shoes in your size, try them on with the same socks that you will be wearing during training. Running shoes are often available in half or quarter sizes to provide optimum support for all body types.
What is the lifespan of your running shoes?
Before you make a purchase, take into account the lifespan of the running shoes in order to work out the number of kilometres they will allow you to cover and the number of years they will accompany you, bearing in mind that the materials of a running shoe wear out even when they are not worn. Here are 3 tips to protect your body and your joints:
- Never take part in a race with new shoes.
- Take at least 2 pairs of shoes with you to alternate, especially if you have an intense running session.
- Change your shoes as soon as they have reached their mileage limit or the sole is worn out.
Check out our Fitness equipment & Coaching page for more advice.