What running shoes are for what purpose?


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“Every January I budget for a new pair of ‘real’ running shoes. It’s my little way of kicking my butt to get active again after the excess of the holidays. I have a lot of sneakers for everyday life, bought because they are beautiful. But I’m still so confused as to what running shoes you wear for what purpose. Do I wear the same shoes for my brisk morning walk as I do for the elliptical trainer? Do I need special shoes for high impact activities? »- Regards, January Keener

As someone with truly terrible feet – maimed by the ghosts of past high heels – and a flashing series of musculoskeletal miseries that come with it, I think this is one of the most pressing questions that have arisen. on the Ask the Kit transom. It’s a question that touches the sweet spot where fashion really meets function.

I to like that you can now wear running shoes with almost anything and almost anywhere, and I do. I’m delighted with the candy-colored shelves of sneaker stores, promising to make me feel relaxed and cooler than I am. And I also enjoy working out (although it hasn’t been a year of personal bests, as the second year of the pandemic knocked me off my treadmill during periods of couch potato melancholy) .

The right shoe makes a big difference in getting me back on my feet and being active in comfort: Plus, shopping for running shoes in January is about the one thing we don’t feel guilty about splashing out on. Good equipment is great for motivation.

I did everything for this question and gathered both a medical answer, from my favorite osteopath and foot specialist, and the perspective of a functional shoe manager. Maintaining the foot is a complicated matter.

First, Liza Egbogah of Toronto explains why finding supportive running shoes – and the right support for the right activity – is a critical decision. Dr. Liza, as she is known in her Queens Quay clinic, The Fix, has a trendy shoe brand, Dr. Liza Shoes (which now includes running shoes!), And which recently appeared on The Dragon’s Lair, says, “Our feet are the base of support for our whole body. If we are carrying all of our weight on our feet and they are not functioning properly, then the rest of our body will be misaligned.

Investing in the right shoes is actually one of the most important steps you can take to slow down the wear and tear on your body, Egbogah explains. “The more our joints are used, the faster they degenerate. If your feet are supported and you absorb shock better with each step, your joints will be less strained.

Wearing the wrong shoes usually results in pain and inflammation over time or “sometimes right away,” she says. “And not just in your feet, it can lead to ankle, knee, hip and back problems as well. The wrong shoes can also contribute to bunions, hammer toes and osteoarthritis. In the worst case scenario, these problems can reduce your ability to be mobile and to walk, which in turn leads to a wide range of other health problems.

So what makes a good, functional athletic shoe? Egbogah says she often recommends New Balance to her patients and has been a long-time fan herself, and that she also endorses Saucony and Asics for their scientific support. She explains the technology of her own new running shoe (back in stock on the site this week, for pre-order, after the first iteration zooms out of her online store).

“The most special thing about my sneakers is that they are designed to give your feet full support by supporting all three arches” – who knew we had three arches? – “improve body alignment and do all the work of a great orthopedic shoe without aesthetically resembling a medical grade orthopedic shoe.” They have an orthopedic sockliner, but not as much cushioning as you might think: “Adding more cushion would make them more comfortable, but over time wearing shoes that are too cushioned will weaken the muscles in the foot and can cause plantar fascia tension. ” Pity!

There are a lot more technical details, including how a stiff upper can help with overpronation, but for the purposes of our answer here, a good running shoe like the Dr. Liza model strikes a balance between support and absorption. shock, as well as correcting overpronation (preventing your foot from rolling outward, a common and harmful problem. Plus, they’re cute.

Since New Balance was high on Dr. Liza’s list of running shoe recommendations (good for overpronators), I also brought in Dave Korell, Director, Sports Merchandising and Marketing, Canada, for New Balance. . He noted that while the brand is big on the fashion front – there are seven pairs in my own lobby right now with kids home for the holidays – New Balance research and development. are function-oriented: “Being beautiful is not enough on its own these days; comfort and performance are also prerequisites. The materials are lighter, stronger, and take on unique shapes that are visually striking.

Korell explains that a good shoe for running is also a good shoe for walking. “It says ‘Race’ on the box label, but it’s still very suitable for all day standing comfort. He cites the 1080, 880 and 860 models as good choices: “Each has different levels of cushioning and stability, but to come and go on two feet all day long, the benefits you’ll get from the structure, the cushioning and breathability are superior.

When it comes to cross-training shoes, he says, “Functionally, cross-training shoes will have more lateral support, extra structure around the back of the foot, heel, and midfoot that will help. to support your feet for sharp lateral movement, not just linear movement.

Korell says the science of matching the function of the shoe with the movement patterns of the body is the goal of shoe development. “The risk of not matching the correct shoes for the activity and foot type results in repetitive and irregular body movements,” Korell explains, “which can more likely lead to muscle soreness. None of us need more, thank you very much. January is the time for all of us to kick the couch.

Shop the tips

Matching the right running shoes to the right activity (and to the right foot!) Is this week’s post. Here are some options recommended by experts to get moving this New Year.

Dr LizaDr. Liza Sneakers, $ 295, drlizashoes.com

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Designed by Canadian foot and posture expert Liza Egbogah, the Dr. Liza sneakers feature a medical-grade orthopedic sockliner paired with shock-absorbing EVA midsole cushions, wrapped in a sleek and stylish package. design to take you from the elliptical to any part of your day. you. In black or white.

AsicsAsics Gel-Kayano 28 Running Shoes, $ 220, asics.com

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Something called Dynamic Duomax Construction works to reduce pronation. More shock absorption, stability, cushioning and rebound, plus an OrthoLite X55 sockliner for added comfort. Available in seven colors.

New balanceNew Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v11 Running Shoes, $ 200, newbalance.ca

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Fresh Foam is responsive underfoot technology that feels soft and keeps your foot supported and happy. A soft stretch knit upper combined with the Ultra Heel slim fit provides 360 degree comfort. And because New Balance prides itself on being a brand where performance meets fashion, this model is available in 12 colors.

New balanceNew Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12 Running Shoes, $ 180, newbalance.ca

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This is the shoe to choose if you are a dedicated, everyday runner. The Fresh Foam core is complemented by a supportive medial core to maintain stability over long distances. In five colors.

SauconySaucony Women’s Freedom 4, $ 150, saucony.com

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Classified as a neutral running shoe, this model isn’t just good for performance running (with something they call Pwrrun PB cushioning), it’s adept at handling lateral movement as well. In seven colors.

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