Feeling De-feeted When Buying New Running Shoes? Take Our Tips To Heart While Shopping.

Winter is over and spring is ushering in warmer weather, which means more people in Chicagoland are going to get outdoors and get active.

As many may know, Chicago has a huge running community. In fact, over 37,000 people participated in the city’s first big running event of the season, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle — a five-mile race through downtown that started and ended in Grant Park.

During the warmer months, the doctors at Ankle and Foot Centers see many runners in our offices. And we know this is the time of year when many prepare by shopping for new shoes.

Our West Loop director – Dr. Svetlana Zats, who incorporates running into her training for triathalons – recently spoke with the website TrustedChoice.com about what to keep in mind when buying running shoes. Here’s some of her advice.

What should novice runners know about buying shoes?
Not all running shoes are the same. Just because a shoe has a brand name, that doesn’t always mean it’s a quality running shoe. A shoe may be heavily advertised, but it doesn’t guarantee the company that made it spent money on research and development that’s needed to produce structurally sound footwear. The most reliable way to buy a pair of running shoes is by going to a specialty running store. There — in addition to their feet being properly measured — customers can get a free gait analysis to evaluate their running pattern. From there, the sales staff can recommend the types of shoes that would work best.

If someone lives in an area without a professional running store, what can they do?
Make an appointment with a specialist. Podiatric physicians, sports medicine doctors and chiropractors can evaluate the biomechanics of the foot, do a gait analysis and advise patients about the types of running shoes to purchase.
Once a patient knows his or her foot type and pattern (for example, over-pronators — where the foot arch flattens or rolls inward, distributing weight unevenly – or neutral, with the foot and ankle maintaining a straight line, distributing weight evenly, etc.,) they can look online for a shoe that fits their needs, or look for that type of shoe at a sporting goods store.

What do good running typically cost?
A good pair of running shoes usually falls in to the $130 to $150 range. Those who are looking for lower-cost options can try purchasing the previous year’s model of the same shoe online (running stores usually only carry the newest or current year’s model.) While most shoes don’t undergo a drastic price reduction in one year, they are often 10 to 20 percent cheaper.

What’s the process of getting fit for running shoes?
The first step is getting an accurate measurement of the foot — including the width. From there, choose a shoe that’s half to a full size bigger to allow for foot expansion while running.
If you are at a running shop, the sales specialist will then watch — and possibly video-record — you running to determine if you are a neutral runner or if you over-pronate. This information will determine the shoe model you need.
From there, you can try on different brands of shoes that fit your biomechanics and chose which pair feels most comfortable.

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