The weather is great and running season is in full swing. Taking a run on a track, trail, or beach is a great way to relieve stress, increase cardiovascular fitness, and improve strength. Running is a great way to begin the journey to physical fitness. The best part is that the only equipment needed is a pair of shoes.
Opinions vary widely across professions, and running enthusiasts alike. However, there are some things to consider when buying shoes. Below are some examples of shoe types, and some good uses for each shoe.
If you enjoy taking it off-road and experiencing the trail, you may need a more aggressive tread pattern and something with a little more cushion. Avoiding a minimalist shoe (light weight, little cushion) would be a good idea, especially for a beginner. During a trail run a minimalist shoe offers very little protection from rocks and other debris.
Long Distance Runners:
A shoe with a mild to moderate amount of cushion would be best for people wanting to hit the pavement for long periods of time. Yes, there are some professional runners who prefer a minimalist shoe, however runners have experienced stress fractures in their feet when going long distances in a minimalist shoe.
Short distance running/Sprints:
Short distances is when some runners experiment with minimalist shoes. Short distance runs in minimalist shoes may strengthen the bones of the feet and surrounding musculature. Competitive sprinting will involve track shoes and spikes. Sprints can also be perform in mild to moderate cushioned shoes, or barefoot!
Shoes are a great innovation, but sometimes it’s good to get back to our roots. There are 26 bones and 33 joints in the foot. The joints and soft tissues of the foot need movement for overall health. Being crammed in a shoe all day, especially a shoe that has a tight or pointed toe bed, will eventually lead to injury. When the big toe does not have room to move, bunions and plantar fasciitis can result. Those are just two of many possible side effects that can result from tight footwear.
Find the right footwear for the run, but take time to kick your shoes off and mover your toes through the sand, we will see you on the trail.
- Matt Brush, D.C.