How to Choose Running Shoes

Questions about running shoes and which ones are the best for running arise very often at our clinics and on our forum. It is really not that easy for many people to make a correct and informed choice in an ocean of information coming from the shoemaking industry catalogs, ads, and press. The abundance of different designs, all appealing, makes the actual choice an almost unbearable suffering. While colors and styles should always remain personal preference, the design and most importantly the sole of the shoe is what really makes the difference and should be understood very well.

What kind of running shoes prevent injuries?

There are no such shoes. A shoe is what you put on your foot to protect your foot from the elements. It doesn’t matter what you wear when you go running or exercising. It is how you run or exercise that makes all the difference. Shoes can certainly assist and make your experience better. The best thing you can expect from your shoes is that they don’t get in your way and that they are comfortable to wear.

What kind of shoes are better for running?

What kind of shoes are better for training? And for racing? Dr. Romanov recommends light-weight shoes with thin soles that you feel comfortable in. Comfort is important, don’t ignore your own feelings. There is a certain philosophy behind this recommendation, which consists of 2 simple concepts:

1. Your running shoes must be light

…so light that their weight didn’t deteriorate the feeling of the foot as a part of the leg. It means that the feeling of the foot wouldn’t differ from the feeling of the whole leg, psychologically. Biomechanically it may affect the foot transfer in space and time: its speed, acceleration, and trajectory, which could all be deteriorated by heavy shoes. We can deliberately use heavy shoes for some special occasions of strength development, but not for a long time, and surely not permanently. So make sure that your shoes are light, check their weight. Modern technology made great improvements in the weight of the shoes so you have no excuses for running in heavy shoes. Anything above 11-12 oz is too heavy.

2. Your running shoes need to have thinner soles

… than walking shoes and have no cushioning or minimal cushioning. It reduces the weight, but this is not the main reason.

  1. First of all, it allows you to develop a very precise, refined feeling of interaction between the foot and the ground, while landing. Obviously, it is impossible to do this through a thick sole. In movement, when every hundredth of a second counts (the time of support in best runners is 0.15-0.20 sec.), the support time is a crucial thing for neuro-muscular coordination. When the signal for the foot to touch the ground reaches the muscles and makes them prepare for landing, it’s already too late. And cushioning here is the factor which deteriorates timing and as a consequence, running technique, by increasing the time of support and due to this, loading of joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
  2. Second, excessively thick sole and cushioning increase the possibility of pronation or supination, and exaggerate the already existing conditions. It is not a surprise that to this day there are no studies that support any of the claims made by the running shoe industry that cushioning and motion control shoes help prevent injuries. There are, however, studies that point to the fact that how we run is more important than whether we run barefoot or in shoes.
  3. Third, in Pose Method® landing occurs on the ball of the foot, not on the heel, so the thick shoe heel structure doesn’t make any sense. Even more so, it reduces the freedom of the heel to move up and down, limits ankle movement  and decreases the calf muscle stretching elasticity effect.

Therefore, we would recommend light weight shoes with thin soles and some racing flats meet these requirements.


Seminars on Running

Learn more about running shoes and how to choose the best running shoes for you at our seminars!

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Editor’s Note:

Dr. Romanov had maintained his opinion about running shoes for decades when first cushioned and otherwise modified running shoes started appearing on the market. While he based his point of view on his experience and common sense, there were no studies at the time to support his opinion. Below is a brief list of some of the recent studies that provide support for Dr. Romanov’s point of view on running and athletic shoes and their effect on technique and related injuries.