Running Shoe Advice – Do orthotics change the type of running shoe I should wear?

I bought a cushioned shoe which has served me well since I got it on recommendation by my local running shoe store, but because of my size (220 pounds) I am told that a big runner like me shouldn’t train in such minimal shoes. Could that be true?

A big runner doesn’t necessarily have to use stability and motion control shoes, even though they are likely going to afford you with the firm cushioning needed by you. There are a variety of cushioning shoes that are able to stand up to the beating a runner your size can deliver, including the Puma Complete Velosis and the Asics Gel-Nimbus 11. These can take the impact forces that big runner your size produces, which, by the way, are 50 percent more than what a runner 170 pounds will produce since impact forces of each footfall are relative to a runner’s weight.

I played soccer for years, quit, recently started running with my dad and developed shin splints. Are there any recommendations on shoes that will help me with this?

This (shin splints) is common in new runners. It’s a term for pain that most often occurs to the outside of the shin. The discomfort you feel can be managed with a soft, stable shoe. The impact that occurs when you run on hard surfaces will be absorbed by a softer shoe. You can also diminish the stress on your shin by using shoes with a decent amount of stability because it will down the rate at which your feet pronate.

Have you guys seen some Spalding running shoes being offered at a Payless shoe store? I have and would like to know your take on this?

It’s good you stick with the experts, who’ll give you some expert advice- the kind you won’t get at Payless. That said, after testing some of them at the RW shoe Lab, the verdict we’ll give is that they’re not bad basic running shoes. They held up well when we even put about 300 miles on some pairs and that’s way better than you would have expected at $35 (guessing it’s the $35 Payless Spalding Amp you saw). We categorized the Amp as a stability shoe, but it’s lightweight and offers less support than other shoes in that category, so it’s definitely not a good match for all stability-shoe wearers

Do orthotics change the type of running shoe I should wear?

They do. So when you want to buy a pair of running shoes, take your orthotics and your old shoes to your local specialty running store. You will be given suggestions based on what the salesperson sees. A pedorthist or podiatrist can also give you great advice on how to make your orthotics and shoes work well together. Having said that, in most cases, adding a customized orthotic will increase the amount of motion-control you get from a shoe, which would normally mean you can go with a shoe that provides less control to start with. But all runners aren’t the same. A 100-pound woman needs a different amount of support in her shoes than a 200-pound man, for example, although their biomechanics are similar.

Some experts say that it’s a good idea to rotate between two pairs of running shoes because running shoes need up to 48 hours to recover after a run. Is that true?

It’s a fact that present day midsoles spring back to normal relatively fast with the cushioning loss being tremendously little. But shoes still need about 24hours to bounce back fully from a run. If, for example, you run during the day at noon and come back the same evening or even the next morning for another run, your shoes will not provide you with the expected protection like a shoe which has had a full day’s rest would. This is especially true if you’re doing multiple runs a day or covering over 50 miles a week. So we simply suggest rotating your shoes to get the best out of them.

Is it a big mistake to speed work in my new shoes the first time out? Should I wear in new shoes a bit before I run in them?

Pulling on a new pair of trainers for speed work may seem like no big deal, but it could be a really big mistake. If the fit is slightly off, it can lead to irritation. That happening on a 5-miler may not be too serious because you can always loop back home, but if you have to stop speed work early or even deal with a potential blister, it can affect your training, so it’s best to take at least a short run first.

In the past, running shoes were made of leather or inflexible synthetics, and they required a break-in period. Today’s shoes are made of much softer, more flexible materials that don’t crimp or otherwise irritate your feet right out of the box.

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