How to choose the right running shoes??

How to choose the right running shoes??

Biomechanics of running

Modifying the running shoe also affects the biomechanics of running. The thicker heel causes the weight and center of gravity of the shoe to change. As a result, the runner is quasi "forced" to land on the heel. The impact in this landing is particularly high. And let's be honest: the heel is not exactly the best point of the body to land hard on. The heel bone is protected by a fat pad, but this fat pad is minimal. Ideal for the much lower (and slower) impact when walking, but not at all suitable for the hard impact of a heel landing when running.

And so the vicious circle begins: the athletic shoe industry starts looking for a new material to absorb the energy or cushion the shock (although this is obviously impossible - just think of the law of conservation of energy). The sole gets thicker again, the (wrong) running pattern remains....

So is it impossible to run with a forefoot landing with classic athletic shoes? Of course not! Just look at today's well-known athletics stars. If you analyze their running style you will always end up with the same thing: none of these athlete’s land on the heel!


Different Parts of the Shoe

                                Shoe Repair | Boot Repair | Rago Brothers

Heel collar

  • Always compare the runner’s shoes, the left with the right and especially the old shoes.
  • Heel collar
  • Assess if there is any asymmetry - if the collar bends inwards, it may indicate pronation
  • Using video analysis can help to identify if the runner has forefoot or rearfoot pronation or a combination.


Tongue of the shoe

  • Identify the tongue of the shoe
  • Upper
  • What is it made of? For example, mesh and how dense?
  • Trail shoes have a toe bumper - i.e. a solid part to protect the toes from being hit by rocks.
  • What is the wear on the upper? This might indicate where a runner scuffs one leg on the other.

 Toe box

  • Toe box
  • This is an important aspect of the shoe
  • There are different sizes available in the same make shoe, so it is necessary to check that the runner has what they need.
  • Are their toes bulging out the sides or is the toe box loose with too much space?
  • How wide or narrow is the toe box and does it fit well?


  • Note how the runner laces their shoe. This may have an influence on possible niggles or injuries developing.
  • The shoe can be laced differently to accommodate areas that need either more or less support.
  • Lock laces are also an option, but depend on personal preference. The lock lace is great in that once it is in place, you won’t have to stop and tie a shoelace!

How to choose a running shoe-tips

  • Get both feet measured: Your foot size changes over time, so it’s important to get your feet measured when trying on new running shoes.

  • Try on shoes at the end of the day: Your feet swell throughout the day and will be largest at the end of the day. This helps you avoid buying shoes that are too small.

  • Aim for a thumbnail's length of space in the toebox: You should be able to wiggle your toes. The width should be snug but allow a bit of room for your foot to move without rubbing. Laces should be snug but not tight. 

  • Try on both shoes: Some people have one foot that is larger. Try on both the right and the left shoe and find the pair that fits your larger foot.

  • Bring along insoles, running socks or orthotics (if you use them): They affect the way your shoe fits.

  • Make sure they’re comfortable from the get-go. You don’t need to break in running shoes.

  • Consider aftermarket insoles (aka footbeds). Insoles come in models that can enhance comfort, support or fit—or all three.



Dr. DURGA SARAVANAN (PT., MSc Sports Biomechanics and kinesiology), Consultant physiotherapist.

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