What Are The Best Running Shoes?
The best running shoes are actually ones that are needed for your feet.
Sounds simple but true.
Many people go to work in poor shoes- no cushioning, no lace/ Velcro. Admittedly work sometimes demands proper footwear, however work can be flexible.
General shoes are just that- general shoes. They are designed to be general. Not for major walking- they never meant to be.
Some people say that you can walk barefooted and that is better for your feet. Yes, in the "cavepeople" times we did, but we walked on soft earth, not concrete flooring so the damage factors to our feet are different and wipes away the benefit of walking barefoot.
But we can not walk barefooted (some patients shouldn't- and not just Diabetics). I advise to each and everyone of my patients to wear a supple running shoe, because of the comfort benefits that they can bring.
If you are going to go walking around your local block then you don't really need cross country running shoes. On the flip side if you are going to go on long distance runs then cross country runners would still not do.
But My Feet Hurt, So I Need Orthotics In The Shoes...Right?
Many people also "self diagnose". This can be damaging to your feet in a huge way. Just because you think you have flat feet doesn't mean that you have. And just because an orthotic is expensive doesn't mean that you shouldn't have one. Orthotics 101 for the best running shoes for running shoes should actually be moveable, soft and prescribed rather than bought "over counter" (this is for runners, but over the counter orthotics are fine- only if you need them- that's important).
If you do decide that you need orthotics, you should actually consider that you do not. Have a good reason:
1. do your feet ache,
2. legs ache over a sustained period of time.
3. do you get pain on certain parts of your feet or
4. do you get a build up of hard skin in certain spots on your feet. These are all areas of interest for considering orthotics.
But remember to stretch- warm ups and cool downs and you will be surprised to see the difference in foot/ leg pain.
This orthotic speech is present because people buy the best running shoes because they see themselves as being "over pronated" or "over supinated" so they buy running shoes that have pronation inhibitors built in.
However some of the best running shoes that have forced arches and I can not wear them because they rub away at my arch causing a whole heap of problems- but I do not have flat feet. Now I wear Nike running shoes which are actually flat skater shoes because they have quite an arch on their runners.
I have also tried and tested out New Balance which I find to be really cheap but really effective. However they do pinch the toes especially if you have a slightly wider foot type and their toe box is very narrow.
I actually went into a department store and tried on a wide range of running shoes. This is because one size in one running brand usually does not mean the same in another. Also styles also affect whether the shoe will fit your foot- as in my Nike and New Balance problems.
I would advice:
1- not trying on old shoes as they have worn "to your foot"
2- walking around the store area for at least 10 minutes so that you can get a "feel" of the shoe and see if it pinches
3- never buy a shoe if it rubs
4- never buy a shoe if you can feel tightness- the best running shoes are so because they are the right size. Rubbing, pinching and tightness are the hallmarks of a bad shoe. it is an old age tale that you "wear in your foot" - no don't.
Can You Recommend A Brand?
There are so many different types of running shoes and different manufacturers that recommending a certain type is nigh on impossible.
You might want to check out their social responsibility, their environmental impact- or even their specialty.
And, just because a super-star is wearing them doesn't usually mean that much.
Most running shoes are bought not upon what they can do for your feet, but how they look, the recognizable brand and who wore them.
Some running shoes are actually pretty poor for you (the slip on types), so recommending a brand name sometimes gives a green light to their whole stock- but you just can not do that.
Check out the 4 points above and see what you need (and don't) within a sports shoe and then judge each shoe from that. It might be that the one that you are looking for pinches your toes- it is therefore not a good shoe...period.
Below are the most common brands, their histories, their famous fans (if any) and their future.
Also remember a few facts:
1- A lot of the best running shoes have a mesh frame on the outside which makes them poor water repellents.
2- Many are machine washable, so keep those smells down :)
3- Go with comfort, rather than brand. However, obscure brands can have poor quality factors built within their shoes.
4- Many of the best running shoes can have subdued colors rather than "out there" designs.