Far and away one of the most interesting topics I love talking about is athletic training equipment. Too often, running shoes can be overlooked as primary contributors (or detractors) to athletic performance. Running shoes are equipment for virtually all athletes, whether it is during competition, or in training for their respective sport. The topic is broad, but here are a few tips from the field:
1. Go to a professional running store at least once in your life and have your foot type assessed. This will tel l you if you are a pronator, supinator or neutral foot type. This can help get you in the right shoe. Typically, you will want to be in a motion control, stability, or neutral shoe, depending on your foot type. Once you know your foot type, shop accordingly.
2. Don't let price or brand names guide you. Injuries are inherent with all physically active individuals, and that famous name brand may not protect you any more than the no name brand. A $140 pair of shoes may not provide you anymore protection than a $40 pair.
3. Ask your athletic trainer if you are in the right shoe for your foot type and sport. Maybe those nagging lower extremity injuries are caused by you being in the wrong shoe! Similarly, you may be impairing your overall performance if you are not in an appropriate shoe.
4. Understand barefoot training. I recommend reading Born to Run, by Chris McDougall. It warmed me to the idea. Since we are not necessarily used to running barefoot (our soles are pretty sensitive), it might be a good idea to try it out a few times in a product such as Vibram Five Fingers, which provides an experience similar to barefoot running, but gives you some protection. It may not be for everyone, but certainly interesting to learn about.
I am not promoting any product, nor do I receive any special rewards for mentioning them. I include them only as an idea for a resource for those of you looking for information on the subject.