MEDICALLY REVIEWED

Runners, Heed Your Soles: Choosing The Right Shoe

shoes

For runners, feet are foundational. They don’t just determine running efficiency; they also dictate injury risk.

Medically speaking, foot health is crucial for those who often pound the pavement. Therefore, picking the right shoe is critical. We invite two Singapore national team athletes to share their expert inputs.

Understanding Your Feet: Anatomy and Function 

Our feet are intricate marvels. They comprise 26 bones, 33 joints, and a network of more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Beyond this complexity, they have two major roles for runners: absorbing shock and ensuring balance. With such pivotal functions, understanding your feet is the first step towards protecting them.

Investing in the Perfect Pair

 The Role of Proper Footwear While the foot’s natural design is sophisticated, the right footwear elevates its performance. Shoes crafted for your unique foot type and running style are your frontline defence against potential injuries.

  • Cushioning: Good running shoes soften the blow each time your feet touch the ground.
  • Arch Support: They reinforce your foot’s arch, reducing undue stress and strain.
  • Traction: Quality shoes provide grip, making runs safer, especially on tricky terrains.

It’s not just about picking a pair and forgetting about it, though. As a rule of thumb, consider replacing your shoes every 300-500 miles. This refresh ensures they continue to offer optimal support and cushioning.

Listening to Your Feet

Recognising Warning Signs Feet communicate. Persistent pain isn’t merely discomfort—it’s often a signal. Stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, or Achilles tendonitis could lurk behind that ache. Should you sense continuous unease, a medical perspective suggests seeking professional consultation without delay.

Elite Choices

What Top Athletes Prefer Turning our gaze to Asia’s elite runners offers insights into the importance of shoe choice. While these athletes might have a myriad of brands and styles available to them, only select shoes make the cut.

SEA Games Marathon Gold Medalist Soh Rui Yong shared that he has to change his shoes every two months as he runs a lot, wearing them out. Long-distance runners also prefer the shoes to be more cushioned

Meantime, Singapore hurdler and sprinter Kerstin Ong stated that she prioritises a snug fit and stability. “It should fit snugly but not too tight. They should not move around on my feet when I run. Additionally, my shoes must provide good stability to prevent my feet from rolling inward or outward, especially when I do a lot of plyometrics on top of just running. Most importantly, shoes that don’t give me blisters.”

Why Elite Athletes are Picky about Their Shoes

  1. Performance Enhancement: Top-tier shoes often incorporate the latest technology. This can offer athletes an edge, enhancing their natural abilities.
  2. Injury Prevention: At elite levels, any injury can derail careers. The best shoes are designed not just for performance but also for optimal safety.
  3. Specialised Needs: Elite athletes often have rigorous training regimes, which might require shoes tailored for specific terrains or activities.

Toenail care

Additionally, the runners emphasised the importance of toenail care. Kerstin Ong mentioned that she trims her toenail twice weekly, otherwise if it gets too long, it will hurt while running. 

Asia’s Perspective on Footwear

 In Asia, where diverse terrains and climates challenge runners, the right footwear becomes even more essential. From humid tropical trails in Southeast Asia to the cold mountain paths of the Himalayas, shoes need to adapt.

Moreover, Asia’s burgeoning sporting culture emphasises the importance of informed shoe choices. With running events and marathons gaining popularity, novice and professional runners invest more in their footwear.

In Conclusion 

For every runner, be it in Asia or elsewhere, the message is clear: your shoes matter. They’re not just an accessory; they’re a protective, performance-enhancing tool. By understanding your feet and investing in the right footwear, you’re not just running; you’re running smart.

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