What Is The Perfect Running Shoe?

If you are like me, each week provides several different surfaces to run on; dirt, rock, roots, pavement, gravel and then you add flat, incline, rolling, climbing and then there’s slower miles, speed workouts, walking and hiking.  For each, footwear is vital for getting you from point A to point B.  And, if you are like me, you have a lot of different choices.  What is that old saying? “I have too many pairs of running shoes … Said no runner ever.” So how do you find the “perfect shoe”?
It is likely you all have heard of the wet test for finding your shoe type.  Basically, wet the bottom of your foot and step on a bag or piece of paper:

 wet test (1)

If you have visited a running store or specialty shop it is likely you have seen the treadmill test with video cameras:

treadmill test

 At the same running store or specialty shop you might find a computer gait analysis:

 foot analysis

 These are great tools for learning more about yourself and your feet. Use these tools and make notes of what they tell you, but don’t discount what you already know about your running and your body.  Break out your runner’s log, and track how you feel in current or previous shoes. This log and the daily reminders of how you feel under various conditions will continue to be one of your best tools available for “the next pair”.  In my opinion, it is only you and your experience that can find, feel and continue to monitor the perfect fit in the perfect shoes.
Document, document, document. It is so important to have a reference as to how you feel under different conditions. Make notes about it all; food, sleep, shoes, laces, socks, shorts, shirts, head gear, glasses, pit stops, and the list can go on. This is a priceless tool when it comes to buying your next pair (or three) of shoes or trying to remember what will feel best on race day under the projected conditions.
When it is all said and done there is no single way or right way to find your perfect shoe. Don’t be afraid to have more than one perfect shoe. Using all the available tools, knowing how you train, and understanding that change is inevitable, will keep you on track with healthy feet.
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