I’ve been receiving quite a handful of enquiries lately from various fronts about all sorts of topics, and so for the convenience and benefit of all stakeholders I decided to post my replies here. While I don’t claim to be “all-knowing” and didn’t intended this it’s probably inevitable with any runners with presence online.
Without further ado I’ll be replying to the latest question I received via Facebook about buying a running shoe. I received this question from someone who’d be doing his first 5K race on takbo.ph runfest, and as such is asking tips on buying his first running shoes.
I’m not a shoe guru so I don’t think I’m qualified to answer this question but I’ll point you to parties that could: Runnr (Bonifacio High Street and Ayala Center Cebu) and Secondwind (Teachers Village, Quezon City and Ortigas Home Depot, Pasig City). Both these stores feature gait analysis so they can recommend the most suitable shoes (stability, neutral, motion control, cushioning, etc.) for your foot type. Gait analysis involves running on an in-store treadmill and as such your pronation can be determined and at the same time your arch type (low or “flat footedness,” neutral, or high) can be also identified. Even your foot strike (forefoot, midfoot, or heel) can be determined with this test which is free whenever you buy a pair. This indeed is the scientific approach to picking the right “solemates.”
Form vs. Function
For many of us choosing the right shoe is as simple as picking the one that matches our taste. Everyone I think was guilty of that at least at some point in their lives and even if you know which types are for you, you’d of course pick the design you like best. But there would be a time when that pair that you really, really love isn’t right for you and you’re stuck with “ugly” options, what would you do? Well think about this, would you rather look good, or feel good? With running shoes you may not always get the design you want but eventually you’d grow to appreciate your pair since your shoes would be your best friend out there while you’re running. We don’t really pick our friends based on looks, right?
I’m quite lucky to have a normal arch and natural forefoot strike so as such most non-specialized shoes are good for me. With so many brands out there the ones that worked well for me were adidas, Asics, New Balance, Nike, and my current long distance racing shoes, K-Ona by K-Swiss. I’m also quite interested with Mizuno (particularly Musha II), Newton, Brooks, and Vibram Five Fingers but I haven’t tried any pairs yet (ehem hehe :D). Lately I’m leaning towards lightweight or barefoot-simulating shoes and am shying away from very technical ones, but if you’re starting out it I suggest you follow recommendations based on your foot, arch, and strike.
Since your shoes would be your best friend for quite some time it would be better to invest on it. A good pair starts at around P3,000 and should last at least 500 kilometers. I suggest that if you have a budget dedicate one pair for race day and one pair for training. If you think your total costs would reach P6,000 or more you may also want to consider getting a Score Card for added insurance (your discount from partner merchants is enough to pay for the card). Finally, try to visit shoe stores every once in a while for unannounced sales and promotions.
Additionally, this post may also come in handy: 10 Running Essentials