With so many brands and styles, choosing a runner that is right for you can be a daunting task for some. Not only is it a big health investment but is a financial investment also.
Stability vs neutral:
The biggest most obvious difference you are able to make when choosing your runners is whether you need medial (inside) arch support or a flat/neutral shoe. The main reason for getting a stability shoe is for people whose feet roll inwards once making contact with the ground, long term can cause knee and hip pain. A neutral shoe on the other hand is flat, normally fractionally lighter than a support shoe and is designed for runners, walkers that already have enough support in their arches.
Runners who already have an orthosis/ orthotic need to purchase a neutral shoe so the curve of the orthotic fits the foot better, as there will be less room in a stability shoe.
With so many brands out there which one do I choose?
The running shoe market is flooded with so many different brands. This competition has been great for us the buyer as technological advancements in the past few years have seen a dramatic improvement to both performance and comfort. Gone are the days where we look at different companies and pigeon hole them into things like New balance being a wide fitting runner and Nike a narrow fit. Most brands now give you the choice in both length and width. As for everything else to do runners most bands are now marketing 3 different choices of runner. They generally fall into the categories; CUSHION, ENERGIES, and PERFORMANCE.
> Cushion: As its name suggests is a very soft, “cloud-like” experience for the runner. Very much for those runners that don’t like feeling the ground under their feet.
>Energies: Most will offer an energy return runner which is generally more rigid through the forefoot, these are great middle distance running shoes and can be used on race day but tend not to not get as many kms out of them.
>Performance: Minimalist type shoe with its major feature an extremely light weight shoe, perfect for race day but not a long term trainer as they are less durable.
Due to the fact that each brand offers the same categories of a runner as its competitors, there is a lot of overlap between them, meaning the decision comes down what feels most comfortable. As with so many things nowadays we are becoming over-analytical. Comfort and appearance are the two most important things to think about when runners, because if they feel good and look great you are more inclined to use them!