Running is a great sport – you can get a full cardio workout straight from your front door. It’s easy to start, it’s fun, and it’s relatively accessible to all.
One of the most appealing features of a running routine is that you don’t need loads of expensive gear before you can get going. However, since it’s easy enough to throw on a pair of old joggers and a T-shirt to wear for your run, you might be wondering if you can also compromise on your shoes. Surely those comfy old trainers will do the trick?
Proper running shoes can be a sizeable purchase. At The Edge Sports, we stock a wide range of Men’s Running Shoes and Women’s Running Shoes, suitable for all types and abilities of runners. We believe getting the right gear is an investment in your health, your safety, and your enjoyment of your sport. So here’s why we think good running shoes really do make a difference…
What’s the difference between a running shoe and a normal shoe?
You might hope that you can get running in the comfy old pair of shoes you like to walk in, but it’ll likely be much harder than you think. Running shoes feature a much more flexible sole than normal shoes, and are designed with the latest technology in mind. This means they are very adaptable, and you can find a pair to exactly suit your running style, whether you are a toe-striker, a midfoot-striker, or a heel-striker.
What are the features of a proper running shoe?
Since runners hit the ground with much more force than when simply walking, they need a much better cushioning system built into their shoes. Air cushioning systems are a big focus for running shoe manufacturers, who are constantly innovating to create the best way to absorb impact and protect a runner’s knees. Runners are particularly in need of extra cushioning in the heel.
Runners need great stability and support for their feet. Different styles of running will require different heel heights, but generally, all runners will benefit from having a more built-up heel in their shoes, which will help to keep their posture aligned as they move.
This again is to do with increasing the stability of the shoe when you are moving at speed and need support maintaining balance. By contrast, a flared heel would impede the rolling gait required by walking shoes, so they are built very differently.
Runners require a flexible shoe, that will move with them as they bend their feet to gain purchase and to lift off from the ground. Running shoe designs may flex most in different areas – arch, midfoot or forefoot – in order to align with different running styles. It may be useful to get a gait analysis to establish whether you are a toe-striker, midfoot-striker, or heel-striker, as this will determine where it would be most useful to have the maximum flexibility in your shoes.
Runners who need particular help with motion control and stability may sacrifice some flexibility in their shoes, in order to have the support their feet need to stop rotating too much during their step. But these specialist running shoes will still be more flexible than non-running shoes.
What are the benefits of wearing proper running shoes?
There are numerous benefits to getting kitted out with proper running shoes before you go running. They include:
Proper running shoes cushion the midsole area of your foot from the impact of repeatedly slamming your feet against the ground.
Proper running shoes give your foot arches the support they need to withstand high-impact activity.
Proper running shoes help protect you from injuries, reducing stress on your ankles, heels, and toes.
Proper running shoes help to prevent and to reduce back hip, and knee pain.
Proper running shoes help to prevent the occurrence of tendonitis, joint pain, and stress fractures, which are all commonly associated with runners who don’t use the correct footwear.
Proper running shoes will improve your running performance – you’ll be amazed at how much lighter your feet feel, how much of a spring they put in your step, and how much faster you can go!
Why is it important to get proper running shoes?
Proper running shoes are important because they are a key way to protect your feet, knees, and joints during this high-impact activity. As well as looking after the health of your feet, they help prevent knock-on injuries, such as back pain.
Effective running relies on the correct footwear. Get it wrong and you could cause damage that makes it impossible for you to run altogether. What’s more, to run well and achieve your best times, good running shoes are a must. Sub-standard footwear will hold you back from achieving your personal best.
What are the different types of running shoes?
Men’s and Women’s
Running shoes are designed separately for men and women because there is actually a gendered difference between the way that men and women run. Their feet hit the ground at a different angles, while foot shape and the amount of force applied also differ. Women’s shoes tend to be narrower, with smaller heels and more cushioning. Men’s shoes have wider heels and are built to be able to absorb greater force, so the cushioning tends to be heavier and denser.
Trail running shoes
Trail running shoes are designed to cope with rougher and softer terrain. They will provide a better grip on off-road surfaces. Trail running shoes may also have additional features that allow them to cope with all weathers and conditions such as mud. They may focus on qualities such as stay-dry or quick-dry materials, and breathability.
At The Edge Sports, one of our favourite trail running shoes is the Salomon Wings Sky Slate runner. Salomon built the Wings Sky for adventures on rough, high terrain. With an anti-debris mesh upper, the breathable fabric resists abrasion without weighing you down. Enhanced support is provided by the Advanced Chassis, which maximises motion control to keep you stable on uneven ground. A Contagrip TA sole with 4mm lugs completes the set, so you can take changing altitudes in your stride.
Road running shoes
Road running shoes are intended to be used on the hard surface of roads, with fewer obstacles. Their main feature when compared to trail running shoes is greater cushioning to cope with the hard surface of the road and protect your knees and ankles from the impact.
A great example of a superbly engineered road running shoe is the Brooks Glycerin 20. Softer and sleeker than ever, these endlessly innovative shoes are packed with updated tech. Aiming to make your feet feel as light as possible, they come as low-top runners with a sock-like feel. The Fit Knit upper provides seamless structure and breathability, while the nitrogen-infused DNA Loft V3 technology offers supreme softness and cushioning. These state-of-the-art sneakers go all out to create supremely soft cushioning and silky smooth transitions for miles and miles of pure comfort.
Shoes to accommodate foot conditions
Some running shoes are specifically designed to help those struggling with foot health remain active. These include shoes such as the Hoka One One Bondi 8 Wide Women’s Running Shoes. With an extended heel known as a Meta-rocker, this shoe evenly distributes pressure throughout the foot, taking pressure off the heel and ball of the foot to help with pain from Plantar Fasciitis, Morton’s Neuroma, and Metatarsalgia. A wide toe box allows extra width for bunions and hammer toes.
So do I really need running shoes?
Yes. Just as a cyclist needs a crash helmet and a wild winter swimmer needs a wetsuit, running shoes are a vital item of safety gear that can help you enjoy your run, and keep running without injury. Whether you are training for a marathon, or simply like to get out for half an hour to stay in shape, looking after the health of your feet, back and joints is essential to get the most out of your run.
At The Edge Sports, we stock a wide range of expertly designed running shoes. From trail running to road running, track sports to those with specialist foot conditions, at The Edge Sports we have the shoes you need to get up and get running!