Buy runners that fit your feet and suit your stride

Photograph: Getty Images

Photograph: Getty Images


In our weekly online Get Running Q&A sessions, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “What shoes should I buy?”. It is one of the most difficult to answer because, well, it really depends.

Look up running shoes on a higher end online retailer’s website and you’ll quickly come across categories such as “Cushioned”, “Support”, “Motion Control” and “Neutral”. This refers to the shoe designs that deal with the particular characteristics of different types of feet and variation in stride. If you don’t know a bit about your own, and pick shoes at random – as many people do when they’re starting – you could be asking for trouble.

The greater the distances you cover in your training, the more likely all of this is likely to become an issue, and wearing footwear that is wrong for you can often result in, or least contribute to, injuries or discomfort when running.

The best advice we can offer is to find a retailer who is equipped to carry out gait analysis in their shop. Typically, this means a sales assistant will ask you to run on a treadmill or an in-store track for a few minutes and will film how your feet move. Their assessment will inform what types of shoe they recommend for you.

Not every shop has the required equipment, but there are simpler ways of getting an indication of what footwear will work for you. The most important thing is that you are dealing with knowledgeable staff, ideally people who run or have run themselves. If you go into a shop to buy shoes to wear while training, and no one brings any of this up with you but simply looks to sell you a pair based on price or appearance, you should probably just go somewhere else.

We asked our followers on Twitter – see @IrishTimesRun – what shops they would recommend, and the names coming back most often were: Amphibian King; Elverys; Great Outdoors and Runways in Dublin; John Buckley’s and The Edge Sports in Cork; Alfie Hale’s in Waterford and My Sport in Enniscorthy. Not all of these shops do gait analysis, so check beforehand, but all have been recommended, some of them many times, as good to deal with and generous with their advice from other runners, so we hope this provides a good starting point.

And decent socks to go with your new shoes will be money well spent.

See running; irishtimesrunning;

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