The foundation for a good race or fast sprint is planted firmly in the feet. A good pair of shoes can make even the most arduous of runs seem like a walk in the park, especially if you plan on going for a longer distance. If you are not wearing the right shoes, something as basic as walking might turn into a challenging experience.
Finding the appropriate pair of running shoes is vital if you want to “hit the ground running”. When it comes to running shoes, there are many different alternatives available, so it could be tough to narrow down your search and choose the right pair. It’s no surprise that runners are bewildered by the plethora of terminologies used in the running shoe industry, from heel drop and stability to pronation and supination and the difference between the forefoot and midfoot.
Don’t get stressed over it. Here is a breakdown of the main categories of running shoe categories. In addition, you’ll get some useful advice for choosing the ideal running footwear for you.
Types of Running Shoes
The perfect running shoe for you will depend on a number of factors, like the terrain you’ll be running on, your foot’s unique biomechanics, and the running you want to undertake. These 4 are the main types of running shoes; however, you may come across a pair that combines qualities from more than one of these categories.
Motion Control Shoes
Shoes with motion control technology provide the greatest degree of stability during exercise. Motion control running shoes offer everything a runner might want, including a medial post, a dense layer of foam in the inner midsole, a supportive arch, and a large heel drop. These features are meant to limit overpronation. Overpronation occurs when the foot rolls inward too much during running.
Typically, stability running shoes are recommended for runners whose feet are within the safe range of pronation. These athletes often need shoes with a cushioned midsole and good support. Stability shoes are useful because they provide extra stability in the arch, the ankle, the midsole, and the heel, all of which work together to avoid or at least mitigate overpronation.
For those with what is considered a neutral or “proper” running gait, neutral running shoes are the best option. They work well with under pronators as well. Lighter than stability shoes, with a smaller heel drop and more of its cushioning concentrated in the heel, these shoes are a popular option for runners.
Minimalist running shoes are just what their name implies: simple. In theory, they should feel similar to running barefoot. Many styles of minimalist footwear accomplish this by eliminating unnecessary padding, lowering the heel to create a virtually or completely flat sole, and providing a roomy toe box. This shoe style offers almost little arch support.
What to Look for in a Good Pair of Running Shoes
- Determine Your Pronation Type
Pronation refers to the inward rolling of the foot that normally happens during gait. Pronation impacts running form. Too much foot rolling when running is a common contributor to injury for many runners. When looking for running shoes, it’s crucial to consider your pronation type. Pick a pair of shoes that works to correct the pronation.
- Consider Comfort
The best running shoe is the one you can go the most distance while feeling completely at ease. Which do you prefer: the sensation of bare feet or the height of a high heel drop? Do trail running shoes with wide heels hinder your stride? Do you consider yourself a novice runner or a seasoned pro? To what extent do you like to be cushioned, and what materials do you prefer?
- Consider Your Running Style and Surface
The right pair of running shoes may be an invaluable training aid, so it’s important to consider the terrain and intensity of your next run before making a purchase. Here are some broad categories into which you may place running shoes based on the surface you’ll be using them on and your running style:
- Speed: Minimalist shoes are ideal for quick interval running. You won’t feel weighed down by them. Also, remember that the best shoes for running on the road and the best shoes for running on the trail are different.
- Long Distance: Long distance running and other activities that require sustained standing or walking need a more supportive shoe.
- Technical: If your runs take you through rocky terrain, it may be worthwhile to invest in a sturdy set of trail running shoes such as the groundbreaking neutral and stability model, which are intended to do more than simply tackle climbs.
- Recovery: During light recovery runs, you should wear a shoe with greater support (such as a neutral or stability shoe) rather than a minimalist shoe. Your legs and feet won’t have to work as hard to keep you stable, allowing you to give all your attention to healing.
With this information in hand, you can go out and choose the perfect pair of running shoes for you. Hoka is the undisputed industry leader when it comes to running shoes. Whatever it is that you’re looking for in a shoe—one that provides a lot of cushioning, one that lets you feel every inch of the ground, or anything in between—we’ve got you covered.