One of the most important things you can do to enjoy running and prevent injuries is to buy a good pair of running shoes. Here are three tips to help you get the most out of your investment, from Rich Green, a physical therapist and Director of Physical and Hand Therapy at DMOS Orthopaedic Center:
Get a Gait Analysis.
Before you buy your shoes, consider obtaining a gait analysis from your physical therapist or specialty running store. In a gait analysis, a professional will watch you run on a treadmill looking for any abnormalities in your gait. This analysis can help you determine what type of shoes might be best for you, whether you need orthotics, and specific stretches or supplementary exercises that can help you avoid injuries.
“I especially recommend gait analysis for anyone who wants to do an endurance run of 5k or more and who notices they have consistent knee, hip, or foot pain,” Green said. “When people get a gait analysis and a proper shoe that addresses any biomechanical issues, it makes such a big difference in preventing injuries.”
Buy From a Specialty Running Store.
An associate at a specialty running store will be sure you buy running shoes — not walking, aerobic, or cross-training shoes. They’ll have you try on shoes that fit the prescription from your gait analysis. And most importantly they’ll have you run around the store to help you find a shoe that feels comfortable while you run.
Replace Your Shoes When Needed.
The standard guideline is to replace your shoes between 500 and 600 miles. If you run 15-20 miles per week, that means you need to change your shoes every seven or eight months. If you run twice that amount, you’ll need new shoes twice as often.
“Changing your shoes every 500 to 600 miles is a good rule of thumb, but it isn’t true in all instances,” Green said. “If you weigh more, you might have to replace your shoes more often. If the treads on the bottom of your shoes are wearing out, it’s time to get new shoes. And if you notice a sudden change in pain such as shin splints, that can be another sign that it’s time to look for new shoes.”