Top Tips for Choosing the Right Running Shoe

Posted on 
October 25, 2023

Runners are often on the lookout for the latest and greatest footwear to help them run longer, faster and pain-free. With so many options available, it’s hard to know where to start.

Forté’s Run Fit program is designed to help, beginning with an evaluation and assessment designed specifically for runners.

“We look at your range of motion, flexibility, strength and several functional tests related to running,” says Brian Armstrong, a physical therapist and member of the Forté Run Fit team. “We then pair that information with a slow-motion video gait analysis to offer exercises and corrections to running mechanics that improve performance and help prevent injuries.”

“Many patients will also ask how to choose the right footwear,” continues Armstrong. “We make recommendations based on mechanics, previous injury history and performance goals, and then we turn to our partners at Athletic Annex to help patients decide what brand and style of shoe would work best based on what they’re trying to accomplish.”

The Science of Shoe Selection

With advanced technology and extensive knowledge of how different shoe brands fit, the staff at Athletic Annex, a specialty running store located in Carmel, Fishers and Nora Plaza, are experts at guiding patients through fittings.

“With the help of our 3D foot scanner, we can quickly narrow down the brands and models that will work best for you based on your arch, instep and foot width,” says Carmel store manager Jake Hostetler.

Gait analysis also helps the team at Athletic Annex analyze your running style. Most runners have a neutral style – landing on the outside of their foot and rolling slightly inward. Known as pronation, it’s a natural movement needed to support your arch and absorb shock. It only becomes a problem if you overpronate and roll too far inward or underpronate and roll too far to the outside.

“Typically, a neutral shoe will offer enough structure and support, but if a person has excess movement that could lead to injury, that’s when we want to look at a shoe with more control,” says Hostetler. “From there, it’s personal preference.”

How to Find the Right Fit for You

To help you stress less, Hostetler shares five things to keep in mind the next time you’re looking for the perfect running shoe.

  • Comfort is key. It’s important for your shoe to feel natural. The one that feels best on your foot is probably the best shoe for you.
  • Find your foam. Shoe foam acts as a shock absorber. Some are more responsive and rhythmic, while others are more plush and less likely to bounce back. Different runners have different preferences.
  • Don’t assume your size. One of the biggest mistakes runners make is buying a shoe that’s too small for them. When running, the toes need to be able to splay out for better support and control. This might require staying open-minded to a different size than you usually wear.
  • “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It’s good to try new things, but if a brand is working you, especially regarding the harsh impact of running, change isn’t always better.
  • Be aware of being “influenced.” Just because a specific brand or style is trending, doesn’t mean it would work for you, and that’s okay.

Ultimately, finding the perfect fit can affect more than a person’s performance.

“We see a lot of customers who are at a point in their lives when they’re going through injury or trying to make a change through exercising,” says Hostetler. “If we can get them into the right product, we know we can make a difference in their lives.”

Both Athletic Annex and the team at Forté aim to begin that process by empowering you with personalized shoe options and recommendations.

“We’re not so strict that we’re going to say you have to be in this shoe,” says Armstrong. “We highly recommend that you try two or three options and see what works best to help you succeed.”

Want to learn more? Visit our page dedicated to the Forté Run Fit program and our blog about specialized treadmills and technology for runners.

To make an appointment at one of our three Forté Run Fit locations in Carmel, Noblesville and Greenwood, call 317.817.1200.

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