Good shoes can save
(financially and physically) in the long run (pun intended).
I am by
no means a shoe expert but I have learned several things about running
over the years and I’ll try and cover these here. When people
hear that I’m a runner, the first thing they seem to be concerned about
are my knees. I let them know that my knees are absolutely
because I wear good shoes
and more so, the CORRECT shoes!
Let me first explain how I got
wearing the correct running
In the early days of my running
used to have recurring ankle injuries. My physio referred me
at the Sports
Science Institute. This was a while
I think it cost me in the region of R50 for the assessment.
they analyzed my running style, measured my muscles and
flexibility and a whole lot of other “technical” tests. At
the end of
all that, they had a “score” for my feet and from that they made a
recommendation of 3 specific shoes. I was told to try them
pick the one I found most comfortable. All three could do the
Well it was the best R50 I ever spent on anything to do with running.
I haven’t looked back since! The thing is, the shoes I had
wearing were OK and pretty close to what I needed, but just not good
enough for my biomechanics, and that was causing the ankle
haven’t had an ankle
Good shoes offer
great support and
this is usually what saves you from spraining an ankle when you are
unlucky enough to “go over” on your foot.
So first things first, make
buy the correct
The question is how do you know that you are
buying the correct shoes?
Let’s say you are unable to have a
professional assessment for your running style. Make sure you
from a reputable sports store. Make sure that the salesperson
an informed person when it comes to running
shoes, not just a sales
clerk trying to make a sale. Don’t buy shoes just because
they are on
special. When trying on running
shoes, make sure that there is at
least a thumb’s space between your big toe and the tip of the
is advisable to buy shoes at least one size bigger than your normal
casual shoes. Trust me, your toes need that space for running
There are two truths about running
shoes. They are expensive and they don’t last
long. Sad but true!
Now I don’t mean they don’t last long because they are poorly made or
plain rubbish. They don’t last long because as runners,
long distance runners, we tend to wear them out! 1000km on a
shoes is about it for me. After that I find them ok for doing
short stuff but definitely no good for long distance. After
daughter usually hijacks them. Some runners get even less on
a pair of
shoes, around 800km being max. The late Dr Lindsay Weight
used to run
her shoes into the ground, getting about 2000km from a pair of
I usually make a note in my log book when I get new shoes.
This way I
can work out just how much mileage
I have on my shoes.
What to do if you haven’t kept
check on you shoe mileage?
How do you know when your shoes are shot?
Well for me I know my shoes have seen better days when I start feeling
small stones etc. when I run over them. I usually start
“foot pain” that is occurring for no reason.
If you can afford to, buy 2
the same running shoe
and rotate the usage of them. I’ve done this
before and it works pretty well, just harder to keep track of mileage
In terms of caring for running
shoes, keep them well ventilated! There’s
nothing like unzipping a tog
bag containing damp running
shoes. It is said that washing your
in the washing machine is a no-no, that they will get
damaged and that the glue and the stitching can come loose, and your
shoe’s life will be shortened. Well I don’t subscribe to that
I believe that shoes get damaged through plain wear and tear.
face it, our shoes only last about 6 months anyway, because that is
usually when they have reached their mileage
quota. I guarantee you,
you will wear your shoes out before they start falling apart!
What about wearing a pair of
shoes for a race? Well it is a definite no-no if they are a
of shoe, or a new style. If this is the case you should “run
beforehand, I would advise at least 50km in total. I have had
problems running in brand new shoes that are the same make and style as
my old ones. In fact I ran a 100-miler in brand new shoes
weren’t new by the time I finished!)
your brand of shoe, make sure you get out on the road and use them.
Click here to read an article, "Comrades: you and your Shoes" by Chris Delpierre, Podiatrist at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa
Key words: good
running shoes, shoe clinic, running, ankle injuries, mileage
Internal links: Dr
Lindsay Weight, physio,
External links: Official
Science Institute of South Africa