Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast, we’re talking about how to choose the best running shoe for your particular run.
Are your running shoes the best for your run today?
You and I both know there are lots of different kinds of running shoes on the market. You can buy neutral running shoes, pronation control shoes, somewhere in between with structured cushioning, minimalist running shoes, maximalist running shoes.
There are all kinds of running shoes, and they are all built for different runs, different foot types, and different runners. Every shoe has its place.
Every runners longs the one perfect running shoe.
Everybody wants the best running shoe…built just for you.
Well, I have lots of different running shoes. I run in different kind of trail shoes. I have some Cascadias that are very stiff…but great for muddy runs and soft trails. They’re protective and though. They really protect my feet well from certain obstacles. But they are also kind of rigid, so with my foot type, if I run in those and I’m running on really hard packed surfaces, well, I might be at-risk to stress fractures.
But if I run in the Hoka Stinson, which has a lot more cushion than the Brooks Cascadia, I might be better protected if I am running on really hard trails, but at the same time, if the trail’s super soft, like it’s sandy, it’s muddy, any of that, I’d probably prefer to have the Cascadias because they give me better grip and they’re a little more stable, and so my feet do skate as much.
Same thing on the road. I have Saucony Kinvaras that are really soft and flexible. I have some Hoka Bondis, which are very cushy. I also have some Asics Gel-Nimbus shoes, which are very cushy. I have lots of different variety of running shoes, but they do different things. They load me in different ways, and they apply stresses differently.
The name of the game with running and picking the running shoe is to make sure that you have the appropriate amount of stability and the appropriate amount of cushioning for that particular run. A lot of that has to do with the run that you’re going to do and the surface you’re going to run on. For example, if I’m in San Francisco and I decide I want to do a, let’s say a 26 mile trail run. Well, if I go from my house, I can actually run all that way to Tennessee Beach and back, and it’s 26 miles.
Now, most of that is on trails, but it’s different kind of trails, so much of it, the overwhelming majority of it is relatively hard packed fire road kind of trails, and so I need some cushioning because it’s not really that soft and forgiving. Even when it rains, it has lots of rock in it, so the water doesn’t really make it very muddy when it rains a lot.
The other thing is that I have to run through San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge, and then I’m on the trails, so I’m running a relatively long way. I’m running not quite half of it. I’m running maybe about 10 miles of it or so on pavement, so I don’t want to wear stiff running shoes that have great grip that could protect me from rocks and things like that if I’m going to run on concrete or asphalt most of the way or even half the way or even 10 miles because I would never pick those shoes for that 10 mile run.
When I get on the trails, I want obviously a trail shoe for that, so I run in some trail shoes like the Hoka Stinsons that have a fair amount of cushioning that can protect me on the concrete, and they still are pretty good on that trail because it’s a relatively stiff trail.
Now, the problem gets trickier if you’re running half of the way on a road surface or concrete or asphalt, and then you have to run on a really soft trail that’s sand or really loose mud or lots of grass or something like that that’s a much softer surface.
But you have to think about this. You know which shoe is best for you when you’re running on concrete. You probably know also which shoe is best for your trail runs when you run on those specific trails you like to run on the most, but you have to find the right combination of shoe for those things.
That’s the big deal here. You have to really match the shoe to the surface. If you’re going to run in a minimalist shoe like a Kinvara that’s really flexible and soft, but you’re running on a really soft surface like dirt or sand or gravel or something like that, it may skate too much, and that can cause a problem because if the shoe is too flexible for you and it skates around underneath you too much, then you can get a plantar plate sprain, you can get a stress fracture, you can get peroneal tendonitis.
You can get lots of different injuries just because the shoe is too flexible and it’s moving around too much underneath you on that soft surface.
That exact same shoe might be totally appropriate for you if you’re running on a track or on the road, but you have to really think about what shoes work best for you and how it feels when you’re actually running so that you can match the best shoe to the surface that you choose.
If you have a question that you would like answered as a future edition the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me, and then make sure you join me in the next edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast. Thanks again for listening!