Finding a good running shoe that is more than having your feet fit without your toes curling! There are many features of a running shoe like cushioning, stability and control, that are designed to support your unique feet arch and how you run – to enhance your experience each time you practice running. If you’re prone to standing before a wall of bright running shoes in a running store, attracted by their colour and design but stumped about where to begin looking, this guide is for you. Here are the different factors to consider in order to choose the best running shoes in Singapore!
How do my feet arch?
This should be the first question you ask yourself before choosing a running shoe at the shop because it helps you choose a shoe that fits and supports your feet!
There are three types of arches: flat, neutral and high. Flat-footed people tend to have their feet roll excessively inwards when they walk and run. People with neutral feet arches will have their feet rest in a healthy, middle position when they run, and people with high arches will have their feet roll outwards.
Having weight rest on the inside of the foot (pronation) when running can cause stress to arch, heel, ankle, shin, knee, hip and back – all the parts of your body that line up from your foot to your lower back. Alternatively, having weight rest on the outside of the foot (supination) causes excessive strain on the ankles and can lead to pain in the heels and balls or your feet, or even shin splints, bunions or calluses. The goal is to have your feet rest in a balanced, middle position to reduce strain and prevent injuries – and your running shoes can help you to achieve that!
Shoes for different arches
Motion control running shoes are great for people with a flat arch. These shoes are made with either high-density foam, plastic or fibreglass which are firmer and more rigid, to provide support to your foot and prevent your heel from rolling inwards. The arch areas of these shoes are also filled in to hold up your arch and keep your weight balanced in the middle.
Mild stability shoes work well for people with neutral arches because they are usually designed with a gentle curve from the front to back of the insole to support a normal-arched foot. Unlike neutral shoes that allow a runner’s foot to move about freely and with minimal support or guidance, mild stability shoes provide moderate support through the filled-in small arch area of the insole.
If you have a neutral arch, you can choose either neutral or mild-stability shoes, because your foot mostly keeps itself in a balanced position when you run. Even runners with neutral-arched feet may overpronate slightly, so it’s best to check in with a shoe-fitter or salesperson at the running shop whether a neutral or mild stability shoe works better for you. The salesperson might look at your running gait (the way you move when you run) to check how much your foot rolls inwards – to advise you between the two.
Finally, cushioned runningshoes are best for runners with high-arched feet. Cushioned shoes have taller, raised arches to prevent your arch from collapsing. They also have softer, and more cushioned (as their name suggests) midsoles, which allows your foot to sink in and fit snugly inside the shoe – offsetting any extra space that causes your foot to roll and rest its weight on the outside of the foot. Have a high arch but never tried cushioned shoes? Just slip those babies on in the running store and you will find that they make all the difference!
What type of running do I do?
The next question you can consider is the type of running that you do. Runners with neutral arches can consider more cushioned shoes, for example, if they do long-distance running so as to reduce the impact on their ankles and knees. Depending on whether you’re running casually, long-distance, or hard-core competitive racing, the ‘recipe’ of your running shoe will likely be altered again.
In general, if you are tying up your shoelaces to head out for a casual 3 – 5km jog every few days a week on the road, standard running shoes (for road running or jogging) will work just fine for you. If you prefer more cushioning or need more cushioning because of your high arch, you should still look for shoes with extra-cushioning just for that extra impact absorption each time that your foot hits the ground. Most running shoes in a running shop offer enough cushioning for casual runners, which means that you have a wide selection!
Long-distance running requires shoes with more cushioning to protect your feet and knees from injuries that come from over-impact from your feet hitting the ground. If you put on your running shoes to run up to 40 or 50km a week, you might want to also get more than one pair of running shoes so that you do not completely wear out your only pair of shoes too fast – running shoes only have about a 500 to 800km lifespan, after which they get too worn to protect your feet and offer you the support you need.
Lightweight and less-cushioned shoes are preferred by many competitive runners because these shoes, lighter and less bulky, do not restrict athletes from pushing off the ground and hurtling around the track. Standard running shoes do work well for fast running, but lightweight shoes just help you make that extra liftoff – to infinity and beyond!
Altogether, the best thing you can do is to check in with a shoe-fitter or salesperson in the running shop to point you to a right combination of shoe features for your unique arch and type of running you do.
Finding the right fit in the running store
You now know which running shoes have the features to fit your feet, but don’t forget to try them on in the running store – only you know how they feel on you.
- Shoe shop in the evening. Your feet are the most swollen at the end of the day, so that’s the best time for you to try on your shoes and make sure they fit you at any time you’re wearing them. People who try their shoes on in the morning, when their feet are the least swollen, might find their shoes too tight later when they put on their shoes for a breezy run in the evening.
- Definitely, test your shoes with your socks on. Your socks will take up some of that shoe space.
- Stand up when trying on your shoes. When you stand up, push your heel to the back of the shoe. You should check that you have enough room in your shoes for your toes to be relaxed and lying flat, without being too tight in the front (curling up) and sides (squashed together). Give your feet half-a-thumb’s worth of wiggle room for both length and width.
- Don’t be embarrassed. Stand, walk and jog around the running store to make sure your shoes are nice and comfy. Decathlon is a running store in Singapore with lots of room in their aisles for you to jog around and test your new shoes out!
Overall, get the help of expert shoe-fitters in the running shop to help you pick out the best shoes and check that the shoes are a right fit for your feet. Now that you know what you need in a running shoe, you’ll be sprinting out of the shoe shop faster than you can imagine!