As a podiatrist I often get asked. “What runners are the best or Which brand is the best?”
It’s a very common question that can have a short answer or a long version of an answer.
Let’s try understand what is the best runner or shoe.
Firstly, there is no such thing as a ‘best runner or shoe’. It’s about what the best runner or shoe is for you. There are a number of considerations as to what might make a shoe good for you versus someone else. The things to consider are: How wide or long is your foot? How does your foot or feet move when walking or running? What type of activity will the shoes be used for? And so on and so forth.
Firstly let’s discuss the fit aspect. Obviously the shoes need to fit your feet. Now, some brands or models of shoes despite saying they’re a size 10 might fit really tight or small, then you jump into a 10 in another brand and that fits just right. It’s important to be aware that just because a shoe says it’s a particular size, doesn’t mean the shape of your foot will agree.
Here are the main criteria for a good shoe fit.
- There are no apparent rubbing issues.
- Your foot is not overhanging the midsole.
- You’re not slipping out of the shoe.
- You’re not able to grab or pick up the fabric of the upper when your feet are placed in the shoes.
- You have half a thumb to a full thumbs width room for your big toe.
If you follow these few dot points you’ll have a shoe that fits well.
The next thing you need to consider is how you walk and run. Some people will walk with their feet really turned in and may need additional support. Some people may not need the additional support, in fact it may be counterproductive.
In our shoes we have neutral shoes, shoes that are cushioned but don’t contain any additional foams for ‘support’.
Moderate support. These shoes have a small amount of foam to support the foot through gait. This can be found in either the mid foot or rear foot of the shoe.
Maximum support. A highly supportive shoe where additional denser foam is placed in the mid AND rear foot of the shoes.
Generally, not always. And take this with a grain of salt, because the best way to know is if your podiatrist assesses you and your foot pain. However, generally speaking, the flatter your feet the more supportive we often recommend. Again, this is variable.
Lastly, what activity are you using them for? If you tell me you’re going to play basketball, then a basketball shoe is most likely going to be better for you than a runner. A running shoe is more likely to break down more quickly than a basketball shoe and even might contribute to ankle sprains etc. But the reverse is true, I wouldn’t run a marathon in basketball shoes, they’re firmer and less comfortable.
Generally, heading to a speciality running shoe store is one of the best ways to ensure a shoe is right for you. Different brands means different cushions, technology and preferences from consumers.
If you have any questions or concerns about your shoes, don’t be afraid to ask your local podiatrist. They’ll happily point you in the right direction.