23rd September 2017.When you go running, what's the only thing you need to make sure you bring along? Hydration is important, sure, but you can often stop along the way to find a sip to drink. Sunglasses? You don't need those every day. It's something far more basic: your shoes! Without proper running shoes, not only will your feet hurt after a run of any length, but you could also put yourself at an increased risk of a sports injury. Running without shoes isn?t a good option, either ? footpaths and roadways are often too hot for bare feet. That's not to mention all the hazards on the ground. So how do you choose the right running shoes? What do you need to look for while you're shopping? If finding regular shoes is a challenge for you, finding a reliable pair of running sneakers can be an even more trying task. With the right ideas in mind before you go to the shops, though, you can cut down on the time and frustration and skip straight to selecting the ideal shoes. From form and function to the all-important fit, here's what you should keep in mind when looking at new running shoes for your next jog.

Determine your dominant running method

A key aspect of choosing new running shoes is understanding where your old pair let you down regarding support. Everyone runs a little differently. The variations occur in where you put the most weight on your feet and how your footfalls land on the ground during each stride. While you can't do much to change how you run, you can equip your feet with shoes designed to compensate for any irregularities in your stride. How do you figure it out? Start by grabbing a pair of well-worn running shoes, if you have them. (If you don't have shoes to check, look for an athletic store that provides professional gait analysis.) Check the wear patterns on the bottom of your shoes. If the most worn spots are around the balls of your feet and by your heel, then your feet experience normal "proration" during running. Your feet are doing their job and absorbing most of the impact, which means most athletic running shoes will cater to you already. You'll be able to find shoes that you can comfortably wear with minimal extra effort ? though you may need additional arch support. If your shoes feature wear more along the inner edge of your shoe, you "overpronate" while running, meaning you overcompensate on the ball of your foot. Over time, this can lead to frustrating knee pain and ankle problems. If you wear down shoes on the outer edge, you experience "supination." Supination is rarer but may require extra cushioning. Based on your running style, you may need different shoes. If you supinate or run normally, neutral shoes will work best for you. For overpronators, stability shoes and motion control shoes are two excellent options depending on the severity of your overcompensation. These both feature extra padding to help distribute the uneven weight you place on your feet. Choose the level of cushioning based on your gait and comfort level.

Choose a style that's functional for your body

When you start examining footwear, you'll quickly find there are many different options available across very virtually aspect of the shoe. Avoid fad shoes and those featuring heavy marketing campaigns ? you want to make your own choice based on your body. For example, it's useful to consider aspects you might not normally think about, such as the "heel toe drop" of the shoe?which is the difference between the height of the heel and the front of the shoe. A smaller drop more accurately recreates the natural shape of the foot as it strikes the ground. For some, this can provide greater comfort and control on the road. For others, it might not be comfortable at all! Transition slowly and experiment with your options. What about materials? Synthetic leather is popular, but breathable nylon meshes will keep your feet cool and comfortable on even the longest runs. If you live in a very rainy climate, check out waterproof meshes as well. These will keep your feet dry while still affording the comfort you would get from a regular nylon shoe. Shoe midsoles may come with several features to provide support to specific areas of your feet, too. If you aren't sure if you need any of these special features, try on a few pairs or speak to someone at the store. Usually, they understand what runners look for in their shoes.

The right level of cushioning for your feet

There are several types of cushioning available in running shoes, but you shouldn't assume that more cushioning means a better run and feet that aren't as sore. In fact, for some runners, too much cushioning can be detrimental. On the other side, too little can be a problem for those with low arches or who tend to overpronate. For those who enjoy the feeling of barefoot running, though, there are shoes that provide only minimal cushioning and serve primarily as protection from the ground. Professional opinion on these types of shoes is mixed, though, and there are some concerns that they may exacerbate the risk of a sports injury. When in doubt, consult a physician or a podiatrist first. The next step up includes lightweight racing shoes, which often feature a thin layer of cushioning and will allow you to feel faster. These are best suited for use on an even surface with some give, like a track, rather than asphalt or concrete. As you increase the level of cushioning, you'll find "regular" shoes that feature an average amount for general comfort. Super-cushioned designs feature the most possible, especially around your heel. For those who engage in high-mileage running like marathon training, you may want to keep a pair of these around. Generally speaking, you should aim for something in the middle of the road unless you experience foot problems.

How does a correctly fitting shoe feel?

The fit is the most important part of the shoe ? otherwise, you're going to find yourself working up blisters and hurting your feet. So, how is it supposed to feel? Your heel should be able to slip out easily if you don?t tighten your laces, but not so loose that it slips out while running. You'll want a close fit that feels snug without discomfort. The instep, or upper and inner part of the shoe, should leave your foot feeling secure but not imprisoned. If your foot feels too pressured inside the shoe, you need to move up a size or two. Wiggle your feet inside the shoe. You should be able to move your foot slightly from side to side and to curl your toes a small amount. If you can't, your shoes are too small. Be sure to leave a space the width of your thumb between your toes and the front of the shoe. If you can do this, the shoe will provide the best fit over the long term. When shopping for shoes, try to avoid going in the morning. Instead, wait until later in the day. Why? Your feet will naturally swell in size over the day, and you should choose shoes based on receiving the most comfort at all times. This method will guarantee that you find shoes that will fit you no matter when you conduct your daily run.

Finding your perfect pair should be easy

Even though there are tonnes of running shoes on the market, you'll quickly find that many of them share common traits. Once you get a feel for the type of shoe that you like best, it should be easier in the future to find similar shoes. Whether you prefer a slim profile and a snug fit or something with better grip and more arch support, you'll need to wade through plenty of options to make the right choice. Don't forget that the employees at athletic stores are there to help you, too ? don't be afraid to ask questions about your shoes! After all, they're keeping your feet in good working order while you pace through your weekly long run. The extra effort will be worth your while when you untie your laces, take off your shoes, and enjoy the fact that your feet don't hurt.