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Fitness Shoes 101

Does it really matter what shoes you are wearing during your run? YES! See what the girls from Discover Your Happy have to say about it...
Let's be honest, how do we all first judge a running shoe? By its looks or color combo, of course. If a shoe looks good, you will happily try it on. However, choosing the wrong running shoe puts you on a fast track to injury.

Shoes should not be selected based on just the color or style, rather purchase a shoe that will protect your feet, legs and body from the stress of running. Each time you take a stride and land, your body (mainly joints) has to absorb two to three times your body weight. Every person has a unique foot shape, individual biomechanics, and a varying amount of training and mileage. As such, the best running shoe for one may be much different than the best running shoe for a training partner. It takes experimentation with different brands and models to find a shoe that works for you.

Luckily, there are many options of stylish and functional running shoes to choose from. But what is the difference? Thanks to David Bell, Owner of 26.2 Running Company, we were able to find some great looking, affordable and functional running shoes to help explain all the different options available…because there are a lot.

STABILITY: (Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13)
A Stability shoe is for the foot that overpronates. This means the foot tends to roll inwards too much as weight is applied from the heel across the arch. Guidance comes from placing a post or denser material on the medial or inside of the shoe. The shape and density of this post stabilizes the arch through the gait cycle, keeping the foot aligned properly. You can also find light, medium or high stability shoes within this category.

MOTION CONTROL: (Mizuno Wave Alchemy)
A motion control shoe is the ultimate stability shoe. It is designed for feet with flat arches, loose joints, heaviness, injury, etc. These types of shoes have lots of cushioning. Cushioning is a measure of the length of time a shoe is able to provide shock absorption and cushioned shoes generally have the softest, or most cushioned, soles with maximum shock absorption. The downside to all the soft cushioning is a little extra weight in the shoe, and possibly a slower foot response because the foot gets "sunk" in the cushioning. All in all, the shoe is made to support and stabilize the entire foot throughout the gait cycle.

NEUTRAL SHOE: (Nike Pegasus)
Neutral running shoes are intended for a bio-mechanically efficient runner who does not need built-in stability. These shoes weigh less because there is no added post or extra cushioning. Neutral shoes are also good for underpronators (supinators) because they encourage the foot to roll inwards towards the arch.

TRAIL SHOE: (Brooks Cascadia)
A trail shoe should be worn by runners who frequently run off-road. Trail shoes have great outsole traction and water-resistant qualities, and are slightly stiffer than a regular running shoe for better stability on uneven terrain. They often have durable lacing systems which are similar to hiking boots! Trail shoes are usually less cushioned which makes them lower to the ground. They typically do not have orthotics or built-up mid-soles because they are unnecessary for the terrain. The out soles are very rugged in order to grip the earth and keep rocks from poking the bottoms of your feet.

MINIMAL SHOE: (Kinvara 3 & Sketchers Go Run 2)
Barefoot running has generated a lot of hype lately, but can also be dangerous if not done correctly. Many shoe companies have introduced barefoot-type shoes to encourage the more natural, upright running mechanics. Minimal shoes traditionally have less cushion, a smaller offset from heel-to-toe, and less support. Minimal shoes allow your feet to do the work, strengthening the foot, ankle and calf, as well as stabilizer muscles not commonly used in the ankle and lower leg. Minimal shoes have been shown to decrease the chance of injury and to improve running form, especially in the foot strike. Minimal shoes are best used as a second of supplemental shoe and worn for shorter distances. They also need to have a “transition” period.

The best advice we can give in choosing a running shoe is to head to a specialty running store where trained individuals can look at your foot, measure your foot, watch you run, analyze your gait, and have you try on several different shoe options. You can also discuss concerns you may have of pain or discomfort you are currently experiencing. They will also determine whether your foot overpronates (rolls inward) or supinates (rolls outward) and to what degree. And ultimately, they will assist in your final shoe selection.

26.2 Running Company has 2 locations in American Fork and Provo. For more information you can visit their website at www.262running.com. They are also a great source for races because they put on about a dozen throughout the state, www.runtasticevents.com. They are also sponsoring our GIVEAWAY happening right now for a pair of Kinvara 3 shoes!!! Visit www.discoveryourhappy.com for details or if you have any questions!!!

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