One of the most difficult tasks faced by runners is the task of buying a pair of good running shoes. With so many options and with so much of talk about minimalism, gait analysis and support, finding a pair of shoes that are perfect has become a dicey task. In the midst of all these talks about shoes, also creating further confusion are the myths that have somehow managed to find their way into them. Hence, separating facts from fiction becomes a challenge with so many mis-informations confusing the runner. Here are some of the common myths when it comes to running shoes.
- Barefoot running or minimalist shoe running reduces injury
The opposite is bound to take place if one is not used to barefoot or minimalist shoe running. Jumping into new running trends in the hope that it will give better results would only result in injury. People are known to end up with stress fractures just because they have run barefoot the first time that they have attempted 5 km. Undertaking proper research in advance and then easing into minimalist running is the best way to ensure that one is fit for barefoot running. Running shoes do change natural mechanics since the type of shoes, the material and the cushioning alter our sensory feedback, and it is true that minimal running shoes help to change the stride. But it is more due to the reason that with well-cushioned shoes, the body prepares itself less for the impact with the surface compared to barefoot running where the runner is more likely to tense his/her muscles in order to minimize impact forces.
- There is same perfect running shoe for every runner
Running shoes are designed differently for different people, feet, strides and type of running. What may be the perfect choice for someone may be the wrong shoe for someone else. Branded shoes may be labelled perfect which just means that it has achieved a high rating because it has been able to give results in areas for which it has been designed. Running shoes are as diverse as the runners. Hence, while buying shoes the only question one should ask is “Will these pair of shoes be perfect for me?”
- The more the cushioning the better it is
There is no evidence to indicate that well-cushioned shoes are better. In fact, highly cushioned shoes are more liable to hurt a runner rather than helping. If a runner pronates and gets shoes with half-inch gel, it would feel good no doubt for a few weeks. But ultimately, the gel will wear down at the area where the runner pronates, leading to pronating more and ultimately leading to injury. So, the comfortable, soft support only bottoms out when the feet strike surface.
- Shoes can make runners run fast
One of the oldest myths surrounding running shoes is that how fast a runner run depends on the shoes and that branded shoes produce the best result. Fact is a good pair of shoes protects a runner from some of the stress which comes from running and does not interfere with either the runner’s strides or weighs him down. The real running prowess comes from strong muscles, a strong heart and powerful lungs which have developed with consistent and dedicated running.
- Women’s shoes are technically inferior to men’s shoes
This could have been the case when the population of women running was a fraction of that of the men, and their running shoes were a little narrower. But today, with the population of women that run being equivalent to that of the men, running shoes for women are at par with men’s shoes. Now, women-specific shoes with different upper materials and cushioning for great fit and comfort are available.
So runners need to forget what they have heard about impact forces, cushioning and other reasons that make it mandatory for them to buy only a particular type of shoes. They need to keep in mind only one thing when buying running shoes – comfort.