Did you know that experts recommend replacing your running shoes every four to six months?
When you translate months to miles, that’s about one new pair every 300 to 500 miles.
Old shoes aren’t only less comfortable—but with more wear and tear comes less support and cushion. While old running shoes haven’t been directly linked to running injuries, most believe that newer running shoes are more responsive, offer better control of pronation (the inward rotation of your foot), and have better shock absorption. These factors ultimately contribute to a runner’s mechanics.
If you’re having trouble choosing running shoes for women, you’ve come to the right place. Follow along with us as we sprint to the finish line of this article.
Consider Your Running Habits to Find a Match
First, let’s start with you.
Where do you typically like to run? The answer can be anything—on the cracked sidewalks of your neighborhood, the treadmill at the gym, the middle of the pavement, through the woods. It can even be a combination of places.
In general, running shoes are separated into categories: those meant for running on the road, those meant for running outdoors (think: trails), and those built for cross-training, which are an ideal match for people who run in the gym.
If you’re most often running in your neighborhood, on a track, or on the treadmill, you’ll want shoes to accommodate a mostly flat and hard surface. That means you’ll look for lighter-weight shoes with flatter bottoms—perfect for keeping you balanced and your gait consistent—but an optimal level of cushioning to protect you from the impact. These shoes also tend to be more flexible, as stiffness isn’t often required with that terrain.
Trail-running shoes, on the other hand, do tend to be more rigid. That’s intentional, to protect your foot from things like rocks, large branches, and uneven terrain. They’re also traditionally heavier, offering the much-needed stability and traction required when jogging offroad.
You can wear trail-running shoes on pavement, but the reverse isn’t recommended as steadily.
Think About the Construction of the Shoe
Learning basic shoe anatomy can help you narrow down the perfect fit.
Shoes boil down to three main components—the upper, outer, and midsole.
The upper fabric is what encases your foot in the shoe and it should be breathable and snug, all the way down to the toe box. The outer sole comprises the bottom of the shoe. The midsole is where you’ll find variations in features such as cushioning, flexibility, or support, and resides between the outer and upper soles.
Each shoe has extras to consider—the tongue, the insole, the lasting, the collar. When it comes to these features, the highest concern is comfortability. You’ll want to focus primarily on the upper, outer, and midsole when finding your match.
Conducting a Gait Analysis
Is your gait . . . “normal”?
Have you ever had a gait analysis?
Gait analysis looks at three specific things—how you’re landing, where on the foot you’re landing, and whether there’s anything that’s misaligned. This method is one of the most accurate ways to notice irregularities (or not) in your stride, whether you’re walking or running. Knowing your gait can help you in choosing the correct shoe.
Often, gait analysis is done by looking at videotapes of your feet while you run on a treadmill. You can perform your own gait analysis or ask an expert if you’re unsure. Observations are known for being “moderately reliable,” so feel free to get second or third opinions.
Comfortability Is Key From the Beginning
Do you know how with some shoes, there’s that “breaking in” period? You might even carry bandaids in your purse until it’s over, ready at a moment’s notice to cover that fresh red blister forming on the back of your ankle.
Well, this shouldn’t be the case with running shoes. You should have a near-immediate perfect fit that doesn’t require you to break them in or suffer from pain or soreness after wearing. If you’re experiencing any of these issues right off the bat with a new pair, you’ve likely gotten the incorrect size.
Now, most people can get away with buying a standard shoe in their size—but it’s also worth considering that your gait might be different. You might have a gait imbalance or a pronated (leaning inward) or supinated (leaning outward) stance. If that’s you, you’ll need to shop for shoes specifically for those conditions. You also have the option of inserting insoles in your shoes, like those from Protalus, that provide arch support and give you more balance while walking or running.
Putting a Fashionable Foot Forward
There’s no denying that the sneaker game has elevated itself.
Today’s running shoes are not the Saucony’s of your dad’s past, and they’re certainly not limited to just running. Fashionable sneakers are a, well, fashion statement, created to make any sweatsuit look instantly chicer. From chunky, new age-y pairs to featherweight ones, there are plenty of options out there.
For example, the Air Max 97 continues to get accolades for its use of fun color schemes, that undeniably aerodynamic appearance, and Nike’s signature Air Unit, designed to make you feel like you’re walking on a cloud. We also can’t fail to mention the Yeezy craze, featuring none other than foam as its main material.
On Your Mark, Get Set—Go Shopping for Running Shoes for Women!
Like all important purchases, buying running shoes comes with some considerations and nuances.
The running shoes that are fantastic for you might not work for your jogging partner. It’s all about your gait, your foot shape and size, your running preferences, your style tastes, your budget, and so much more. With so many running shoes for women on the market, you can choose one that’s unique to you. After you’ve exercised your body, don’t forget to exercise your brain. Keep coming back to our page for more great articles like this one!