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Choosing a running shoe that is suitable for your particular type of foot can help you avoid some common running-related injuries. It can also make running more enjoyable and let you get more mileage out of your shoes.

Shoe manufacturers are aware that, anatomically, feet usually fall into one of three categories. Some people have "floppy" feet that are very "loose-jointed." Because feet like this are too mobile, they "give" when they hit the ground. These people need shoes that are built to control the foot's motion. At the other extreme are people with "rigid" feet. These feet are very tight-jointed and do not yield enough upon impact. To help avoid impact-related injuries, these people need shoes that cushion the impact of running. Finally, the third type, or normal foot, falls somewhere between mobile and rigid. This type of foot can use any running shoe that is stable and properly cushioned. Use the chart at Figure E-1 to help you determine what kind of foot you have. Then, read the information on special features you should look for in a shoe.

When shopping for running shoes, keep the following in mind:

  • Expect to spend between $30 and $100 for a pair of good shoes.
  • Discuss your foot type, foot problems, and shoe needs with a knowledgeable salesperson.
  • Check the PX for available brands and their prices before shopping at other stores.
  • Buy a training shoe, not a racing shoe.
  • When trying on shoes, wear socks that are as similar as possible to those in which you will run. Also, be sure to try on both shoes.
  • Look at more than one model of shoe.
  • Choose a pair of shoes that fit both feet well while you are standing.
  • Ask if you can try running in the shoes on a non-carpeted surface. This gives you a feel for the shoes.
  • Carefully inspect the shoes for defects that might have been missed by quality control. Do the following:
    - Place the shoes on a flat surface and check the heel from behind to see that the heel cup is perpendicular to the sole of the shoe.

    - Feel the seams inside the shoe to determine if they are smooth, even, and well-stitched.

    - Check for loose threads or extra glue spots; they are usually signs of poor construction.

The shoes' ability to protect you from injury decreases as the mileage on them increases. Record the number of miles you run with them on a regular basis, and replace the shoes when they have accumulated 500 to 700 miles even if they show little wear.

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