For most people, buying running shoes is somehow similar to shop for fashion. They search for their favourite brand, choose a design and colour they like best and pick the right size. That’s it. But what if I tell you that you should never go for looks only when you buy “pink running shoes” because you could seriously harm your health?
Running shoes are your foundation for every run. If you run 45 minutes 3 times a week you probably do about 21.000 running steps weekly and nearly 100.000 each month. Wearing shoes that are not perfect for your running style, foot type, weight and preferred terrain will alter your running posture and seriously harm your joints which will lead to knee, hip or back pain. The problem is that it can take a couple of years until the damage of your joints will show itself by giving you pain. However, once it does, the cartilage-tissue is worn off. When bone rubs on bone it will lead to inflammation and constant pain.
Naturally, I’m not saying that running in general is harming your joints! The opposite holds true as many scientific studies show, because the extensive use of your joints, bones and muscles during running results in an increased durability and density of these structures. But: you need to use your joints in the biomechanical correct way.
The perfect running shoe is – at least a bit – taking care of minor structural weaknesses. Overpronation (ankles are bending towards each other, often you have flat feet, Video below) can be supported by a sole material that is slightly more dense at the inner part of the sole.
People who run more on the outer part of their feet (you can see that the soles of your used running shoes are worn off in this area, see picture below) and people with bow-legs should definitely stay away from stability running shoes.
Contradictory to popular belief, running shoes with maximum cushioning are not protecting your joints. The opposite is true: the soft cushioning absorbs force and eliminates any stability you need in order to push yourself forward. Try to balance on a very soft sofa cushion and you will see: immediately all stability is gone. That’s a good thing when you train perception and balance but is not at all helpful while running.
The same caution is necessary when you want to buy minimalistic running shoes. Mostly our feet are too much protected in daily life (unflexible shoes) to be prepared for natural running. Easily you will overuse these weak muscles which will result in pain or inflammation (e.g. plantarfasciitis). However, including barefoot running in your schedule after a run (e.g. as cool down) will help to strengthen your feet, start with 5 minutes on natural surface like sand or grass and increase slowly every week.
Often we are not aware of our running style, so we need assistance to pick the right running shoe. Bringing used running shoes to the shop gives the consultant some valuable insights about the person`s running style and needs. Good running shops use a treadmill (mostly including camera) to track the running style in different shoes. After comparing and considering how much the customer liked the feeling in each of the shoes, an informed decision can be made. As a result, you will probably not buy a shoe from your favourite brand or colour but instead a pair that is tailored to your needs. All major brands offer decent quality shoes. Caution is recommended when buying low budget brands, because the durability of the material is proven to be lower.
To buy your running shoes after a treadmill analysis with a professional consultation will help to protect your joints and prolong your active running years as much as possible.
That’s why you should never buy “pink running shoes” just because they are your favourite colour. There is so much more about buying a running shoe than colour and brand!
Side Note: Every 700 to 800 kilometres you should throw away your beloved running shoes. They did a good service to you and now it’s time to say goodbye to them in order to protect your health. The rubber material is losing the elasticity after about two years of use (or less if you run longer distances) and even without any use (in case your shoes are parked in the shoe rack to wait for your running motivation), so it can’t support your feet anymore. If you see major abrasion on the outer sole, that’s a good reason to get rid of them even earlier. If the sole is worn of, your feet will be forced into an unnatural position with every step. As a result, you might feel pain in your back, hips, knees or ankles – just because of old shoes.
Where to get professional consultation and running shoes in Singapore :
- Running Lab Singapore
- Marina Square
- Tampines Mall
Good to know: the consultancy is for free, if you buy running shoes!
 These links are not sponsored! The Running Labs don’t know (yet) that I recommend their shops. I always enjoy their consultation and I film my own running in different shoes to see the difference!