5 Biggest Myths About Running Shoes
Myths abound in the running world. As if selecting and buying new shoes wasn't complicated enough with all the different models available, you get a variety of facts and opinions that make the process even more complicated.
Do I need to buy expensive running shoes or will cheap ones do? Which brand makes the best shoes? Are there shoes that will make me a better runner? Ask these questions and you'll get assorted answers, and sometimes, those answers might be false.
Running Shoe Myths: Which Ones Do You Believe?
Let's take a look at some of the most common running shoe myths and why they're just that—myths. How many of these do you believe?
1. Cheap running shoes won't cut it
Runners on a budget, rejoice. It isn't true that expensive running shoes are better, so it's not necessary to spend an arm and a leg just so you can have quality shoes.
In fact, a 2007 study conducted by Scottish researchers revealed that low-end and mid-range running shoes provided the same performance, cushioning, and comfort as their high-priced counterparts.
Other studies have found that runners who wore pricey running shoes with additional features were more likely to get injured than those who wore inexpensive shoes. It's also not true that affordable running shoes don't last long.
2. There is a number one shoe
While magazines and blogs put out lists and guides that rate and rank shoes, there's actually no single best shoe, for one very simple reason: people have different feet, strides, and running styles. Running shoes are designed differently to accommodate those individual characteristics.
Thus, it's impossible for a single shoe to cater to everyone's needs. What one runner thinks is a really great shoe may be a terrible choice for another. Guides and reviews only serve to help each individual find the right footwear for them, not recommend the “perfect” shoe for everyone.
3. There is a number one brand
Many runners stay loyal to one brand, but the name and logo on a shoe don’t really tell you much about it. Brands make a wide range of shoes for a variety of foot shapes—if, say, a pair of Brooks fits you well, it doesn't mean that all Brooks shoes will feel the same.
Brands also update their designs regularly, so what you liked before might not suit your taste and needs now. When it comes to running shoes, don't just stick to one brand and snub the rest.
4. A runner needs just one good pair of shoes
A lot of runners, once they find their favorite shoe, only run in that shoe. When it breaks down, they replace it with the same model.
But your running form actually improves when you're exposed to different training stimuli, i.e., surfaces, speeds, and running shoes. Running in a variety of shoes can make you faster, stronger, and less susceptible to injury.
Putting on a different shoe changes your stride slightly and forces your body to adapt. This strengthens muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments; decreases repetitive stress on body parts; and helps fine-tune your running technique.
5. Shoes can increase speed
The oldest myth about running shoes is that the right footwear can make you run faster. Yes, great shoes can make you feel fast and not hinder your stride, but the only thing that can help you become a faster runner is training often.
Just like merely holding an expensive, professional camera won't make you a better photographer, putting on a good pair of running shoes won't automatically turn you into a better runner. It takes a whole lot of practice, practice, and more practice.
A runner's ability to run fast is heavily reliant on the state of his muscles, particularly the hip flexors. There are three major muscles in this region of the body - the psoas major, iliacus and rectus femoris, and each one of them has a role to play in proper running.
Increasing your sprinting speed can be hard whether you're an experienced college athlete or whether you're just starting out. It's even harder to do this safely because when you're running at max speed so many things can go wrong, and if you overtrain, it's game over for a long time.