The running community is one of the oldest, most vibrant and incredible set of people you will ever meet. Even though running itself tends to be a fairly solitary sport, the community will tell you that it is also extremely social.
The fact might seem counterintuitive, but most runners are extremely supportive of each other and help each other achieve their goals. Plus they pretty much always have a great attitude with those runners high!
As a form of cardio exercise that’s easily accessible, running is one of the best and easiest ways to get the important benefits of exercise.
Since it improves aerobic fitness, running is a great way to help improve cardiovascular health. Plus, it burns calories and can build strength, among other things.
Physical exercise in general, but especially running is known to release endorphins in the brain. These work as a natural drug that can make you more energetic, more lively and happier.
This is why so many people insist that running gives them that “runner’s high.” In addition, getting into great physical shape can also make you perform better mentally and physically, and improve your performance at work especially.
You are better able to handle challenges that come your way. It also makes you feel more in control of your life, and more empowered, which goes a lot way in leading to long-term happiness and contentment in your life.
How Is Running Beneficial For The Body?
For many people, getting into running for the first time, especially if you aren’t used to exercising regularly, can be an extremely difficult experience, causing a lot of people to quit within a day or two and never go back.
However, all you need is the patience to allow your mind and your body to acclimate to this new exertion, and running can prove to be a blissful and amazing feeling that provides you with a sense of freedom. These are some of the benefits of running:
- A person with a major depressive disorder can benefit from just spending 30 minutes on a treadmill and running, according to one study in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. It is much better, in fact, to run outside in nature. In fact, those who are trying to just get started with running can just go at a power-walking pace to receive the same mood-lifting benefit.
- There is a persistent myth that running can lead to knee pain and long term joint pain issues. However, contrary to what people think, running can actually be beneficial in preventing this long term knee problem. Researchers found that the more people ran, the less likely they were to suffer from knee pain or osteoarthritis. This is because researchers believe that running strengthens your muscles and keeps your BMI in check, and also strengthen bones.
- Running can improve your sleep habits and mood, and show improved signs of psychological functioning and focus better during the day as compared to peers who continued without adding running to their daily routines. These peers were not totally sedentary and did get some exercise, but they did not have a regular running routine. To get the best benefits, according to this study, it is important to run at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, for three weeks.
- It can improve cardiovascular health and is good for your heart, as is any aerobic exercise. The more people run, in general, the healthier their hearts tend to be. With running, people can get benefits without having to do much in terms of accumulating equipment or wasting too much time. Even running for five minutes can be beneficial for you.
There are multiple studies that prove that aerobics exercises of all sorts can help improve people’s ability to cope with stress and anxiety.
Peter Salmon, published author in Clinical Psychology Review, concludes that this “training recruits a process which confers enduring resilience to stress.”
Researchers believe this is because aerobics exercises increase the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, and causes the brain to generate new neurons.
How Do I Start With Running?
You simply cannot expect to get straight into running and be as good as someone who has been running for months or even years.
A lot of people will get a random burst of motivation, decide that today is the day they will start running and step out the door with the noblest of intentions, and then realize that they simply cannot go beyond the first twenty seconds.
After pushing themselves for over a minute and ending up wheezing and heaving, they will go back to their comfort zone and binge Netflix and conclude that they will not “kill themselves” at the gym.
The truth is, running takes some time to break into, just like anything else we do. You cannot expect a child to get straight into Calculus and be great at it, you start with basic arithmetic and then move your way up. Running is no different from this.
“Every able-bodied person is capable of being a runner,” says Gordon Bakoulis, a running coach based in New York City. “Just start slowly and build up gradually, and soon you will find your place in this wonderful activity.”
Most coaches, therefore, agree that the best way to become a runner is with a run-walk program. Start with focusing on a few minutes of running, followed by a short period of walking.
Experts suggest aiming to run for three minutes and walking for one minute—continue to alternate until you reach the time goal, always ending with a walking segment to cool down.
A warm-up and cool-down will also help you ease in and out of a run. Start with a few reverse lunges on each leg, followed by squats, side lunges, butt kicks, and high knees, and a few minutes of walking before your run.
Before you start your next run, make sure to decide what you want to get out of it to keep your focus. Do you want to get outside and enjoy it? Do you want to end smiling and feeling good? Do you want to get mentally or physically stronger? Do you just want to sweat a little?
Whatever it is, point it out and use it as your motivation to just keep going. don’t dwell on one bad run, because everyone has them.
You need to also make sure to add in some warm-up and cool-down time to your workout plan before and after running.
Your body will start churning out important enzymes that will prevent build up of lactic acid in your joints and thus prevent cramping. Do take the time to properly warm up and cool down.
A lot of beginners simply skip this step to save time, but they don’t realize how much easier it makes the whole workout seem to them. Cooling down is a bit less critical in importance, but it is still necessary to gradually bring your heart rate down and let your body gradually adjust from high-intensity exercise to a resting state.
Just a few minutes of walking is all you need to let your heart rate return to normal and for your body to clear out any metabolic waste you created during your efforts. You also want to think about form.
Running really requires perhaps the least amount of gear for any kind of exercise. All you truly need is a safe, flat surface to run on outside, like a safe footpath or a runner’s park.
When you go to buy running shoes, however, you will need to buy shoes that are good for you and most benefit your leg shape and your body. The most expensive shoes may not be the very best, so this is something you will need to look into when purchasing your shoes.
An aesthetic appeal might be an important criterion for you in the beginning, and while it may be important for you to look good while running, feeling good will save countless injuries, sprained ankles, and repetitive stress injuries in the long run.
How Do I Buy The Right Running Shoes?
Choosing the type of running shoes you need is not a difficult task at all.
- Firstly, you will need to determine the type of running you do, whether you are a sprinter or a marathoner, for example, and then figure out your running style.
- Next, you sort through the categories of running shoes in the market, filter out the ones you don’t need and the ones that don’t have the features that match your running style.
- And finally, you go ahead and try on the shoes that fit your needs and preferences the best.
A pair of running shoes, in general, should last about 400 to 500 miles or run, or a few months, for regular runners. If you have been using a pair of running shoes for quite a while and are wondering if they need replacing, take a look at the insides of the shoes and check if the midsoles and outsoles are either compressed or worn. If they are, they may be due for a replacement.
Running shoes themselves come in a wide variety of categories. You may think that they all look and feel the same, but it actually makes a significant difference in your comfort level based around factors such as the terrain on which you will be running, whether you are a beginner runner or an experienced one, how many distances at a time you intend to run, and whether you are more of a marathoner or a sprinter. Most running shoes will feel comfortable enough when you are in the store trying them on, but you will only realize how good they are when you are out on the field practicing your running. You will not realize until then how important your running style, the shape of your foot and other factors come together to make the shoe that is perfect for you. This has more to do with your personal needs and preferences than the logo that comes on the side of the shoe. Let us look into the necessary criteria you will need to pay attention to before buying the perfect pair of running shoes.
This may be one of the most overlooking criteria out there for running shoes. Running shoes made of lightweight and easy to lift materials will make an amazing difference in your gait and prevent countless injuries. Runner’s World magazine, in fact, claims that you hit the ground with a force that’s double your body weight when running. Therefore, it can be beneficial to lessen the impact on your muscles and joints by investing in some higher-quality running shoes made from lighter weight materials.
If you have flat feet, also known as plantar fasciitis, this could be a major cause for heel pain. Wearing the incorrect running shoes that don’t have proper heel support will only make the issue worse.
This is the reason for selecting a shoe that holds your heel in place firmly and prevents over-pronation is so necessary. Test the ankle support and heel counter (the back strap that wraps around your heel bone and keeps your ankle in place) of shoes by taking a few laps around the store.
As we mentioned before, experts believe that when you run, you place more than twice your body-weight onto your feet. This is why cushioning is so important when you go running to prevent running injury if you wish to recover as soon as possible from any running.
The cushion in your shoes should be able to absorb the shock to your knees, joints, muscles, and spine every time your foot makes contact with the ground (or more specifically, your midsole area between your foot’s ball and heel).
Your cushioning needs depend on a variety of different factors, including whether your feet tend to roll or stay rigid, and your body weight and BMI, but this cushioning can reduce heel, ankle, and toe stress, and prevent future injury.
Often in the past, people with a wider foot or flat foot used to have problems looking for shoes that come in their size. However, today there are plenty of quality runners that don’t make you compromise on your shoe size and the exact shape and make you wear insoles or other such fillers to compensate for extra space inside your shoe.
You don’t need to settle for blisters and pain while running, simply look for wider shoes in the right shape as your feet. One thing to pay attention to is to go for shoes that have a few cms of wiggle room in the front since feet tend to swell up with physical activity. So if your foot size is 8 with your normal shoes, opt for a size 8.5 for your running shoes.
Traction and Grip
This is a vital component that you will need to pay attention to in order to maintain your balance and grip while running.
Your shoes need good traction in all types of conditions. If you run on roads mostly, a pair of running shoes with a carbon rubber heel and a blown rubber sole will be great for relatively level terrain and be able to manage the traction and grip.
However, if you like to run on hiking grounds or uneven terrains, or even loose terrains like beaches, try to go for a sole that is built from all durable carbon rubber which will provide you with the best kind of balance and grip while running on unpredictable surfaces.
This is often a missed out quality but is important for the prevention of athlete’s foot or other similar fungal issues. A lot of times, lightweight, synthetic, or nylon material is used for making shoes because this is highly durable and lasts for years at a time.
However, it is important to also remember that you cannot compromise on breathability for durability, especially when you can opt for materials that give you both. Go for a high-quality synthetic leather pair of running shoes that is strong as well as lightweight, and allows breathability while keeping moisture out. However, make sure that the seams that are often used in these types of shoes don’t cause you painful blisters.
What Kinds Of Running Shoes Are There?
There are different categories in running shoes, and as we discussed above, they are dependent on your usage in general. Let us explore the different types below:
These are the most popular categories of running shoes, as most people who go running prefer to do so in controlled city environments such as parks or pavements.
These shoes are therefore designed for use on pavements and the occasional forays onto packed surfaces that have slight irregularities. They are light and flexible, and come with excellent cushioning that helps to stabilize your feet during repetitive strides on even, hard road surfaces.
These are more indoorsy types of shoes, that are used in gyms or indoor exercise sessions such as aerobics or Zumba. They are also used in CrossFit workouts or any balance-related activity where having more contact with the ground is much more preferred over a thick platform sole.
These are used for rougher terrains and are designed for off-road activities with rocks, mud, roots, or even beach sand, or other obstacles.
They are enhanced with very aggressive grip and tread that provides excellent traction while running in the outdoors off-road. They are also enhanced to offer greater stability, support, and underfoot protection. These are, therefore, the most expensive variety of shoes within the same models or brands.
The drop of a shoe means the difference between the height of the heel versus the height of the toe. This is important since it primarily affects how your foot strikes the ground when you land.
A low or medium heel-to-toe drop (zero to 8mm) promotes a forefoot or midfoot strike, while a high-drop shoe (10–12mm) promotes heel striking. The heel drops and cushioning are independent of each other. It is possible to find ultra-cushioned shoes that still have a zero or low heel-to-toe drop, for example.
Medial Post Or Torsion Bar
You can find these on the side of your shoes. They can help control excessive inward or outward motion. They are designed for the over-pronator or supinator.
This refers to the rigid structure around the heel. This provides motion control and sometimes supplemented with a heel wedge, which adds support and cushioning to the heel. It can help those runners who are bothered by Achilles tendonitis.
Outsoles refer to the outside of the soles that you can see on the bottom of your shoe. Most road shoes are constructed with rugged carbon rubber in the heel. Blown rubber provides more cushioning and therefore is used often in the forefoot.
Trail runners usually have carbon rubber outsoles to better withstand trail wear, while road-racing shoes are frequently made completely of blown rubber to reduce the weight.
The midsole is the cushioning and stability layer between the upper and outsole.
- Posts are areas of firmer EVA (dual-density, quad-density, multi-density, compression-molded) added to create harder-to-compress sections in the midsole. Often found in stability shoes, posts are used to decelerate pronation or boost durability. Medial posts reinforce the arch side of each midsole, an area highly impacted by overpronation.
- Plates are made of thin, somewhat flexible material (often nylon or TPU) that stiffens the forefoot of the shoe. Plates, often used in trail runners, protect the bottom of your foot when the shoe impacts rocks and roots.
- Shanks stiffen the midsole and protect the heel and arch. They boost a shoe’s firmness when traveling on rocky terrain. Ultralight backpackers often wear lightweight trail runners with plates for protection and shanks for protection and support.
- TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is a flexible plastic used in some midsoles as a stabilization device.
- EVA, also known as ethylene vinyl acetate, is a type of foam commonly used for running-shoe midsoles. Cushioning shoes often use a single layer of EVA.
Synthetic leather is a material derived principally from nylon and polyester. It is supple, durable, and abrasion-resistant that makes it lighter, quicker drying and more breathable than real leather. In addition to this, it does not require any break-in time, unlike real leather that can even cause shoe bites if not properly broken into.
TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) overlays are positioned over the shoe panels on the top of the shoe that is designed for enhanced breathabilities, such as in the arch or the heel. The small, abrasion-resistant additions can help increase the stability of the shoe as well as the durability.
Waterproof/breathable uppers utilize a membrane bonded to the interior of the linings. This membrane blocks moisture from entering while letting your feet breathe, thus preventing bad fungal illnesses such as Athlete’s foot. Shoes with these membranes can keep your foot completely dry in totally wet environments as well, compromising slightly on the breathability.
Nylon mesh is a type of plastic related durable material that is most commonly used to reduce the weight of the shoe and increase breathability.
Skechers might be a pretty old company, but it doesn’t have the traditional, 100-year old running roots of some of its East Coast competitors. Although Skechers is still a baby of a company (relative to others) and its influence on the running shoe market is even newer, the company has made itself into a contender in the race for running shoe dominance.
Skechers launched in 1992 and leaped headfirst into the grunge era with, of course, a big black combat boot. Its popular line of Roadies sneakers, which were a simple, everyday wear-around shoe, helped the brand gain prominence in the mid-90s.
Since Skechers has grown into one of the top three best-selling athletic shoe brands in the US. The company’s innovations for runners have come more recently, but it’s unique compared to running-specific brands because Skechers shoes offer a similar level of performance at a much lower price.
Latest Skechers Technology
Skechers most notable new technology is its Ultra Flight foam cushioning that debuted in 2017, which is found in shoes like the GOrun MaxTrail 5 Ultra and the GOrun MaxRoad 3 Ultra.
This proprietary TPU-based (short for thermoplastic polyurethane) foam is designed to be lighter and bouncier than older foams like EVA, so you get the same level of cushion with less weight and more energy return.
Although not widely known for its max cushion kicks, less than 10 years ago Skechers wasn’t even known for running shoes; The brand’s quick rise in the industry is the reason to expect that its shoes with proprietary Ultra Flight foam will continue to grow in popularity.
As it begins to place this foam in more of its shoes, Skechers will enter the foam wars that have dominated the running-shoe market in recent years.
Skechers has come a long way since the ‘90s, and it has only gotten better at creating shoes for runners. Here are some of our favorites from the brand.
- Price: Around $105
- The right shoe for Casual running for short distances
This is the most lightweight model you can find in this range and was named one of the most lightweight models in 2018.
At 7.3 oz for men and 5.8 oz for women, it’s a great featherlight option for neutral runners. From the stretchy, sock-like knit upper to the lightweight foam in the midsole, wear-testers found a lot to love about this shoe. It also has a removable insole, so you can pare down the cushion and save even more weight if you wish.
Skechers GOrun 6 is the latest generation in the Skechers GOrun series of lightweight, cushioned neutral running shoes. Designed for speed, it's responsive, supportive and lightning fast.
- Price: Around $95
- The right shoe for Runners looking for extra cushioning
Wear-testers loved the energy return it provided, and although a large amount of foam makes these kicks pretty stiff, they earned good scores for comfort and a smooth ride.
The knit upper has a bootie construction that closely wraps the foot for a secure fit, and like the GOrun above, it has a removable liner if you need extra room. Skechers seemed to have packed it with features such as its refined EVA Flight Gen foam, creating one of the softest shoes in the market today.
GOrun MaxRoad 3 Ultra
- Price: Around $120
- The right shoe for Both lightweight and cushioning options
This model uses the new bouncy Ultra Flight foam in the midsole, and it’s designed to be a little more flexible and lightweight than the Ride above.
It’s about an ounce lighter than the Ride, and it also features grooves along the forefoot that allow the shoe to move with your feet, so you flow through your stride more easily. The upper on this shoe has a breathable flat knit upper has minimal seams for a smooth foot feel and comfortable fit, too.
Material designed to stretch in areas while providing structure and durability where needed. Forefoot flex grooves aid in flexibility and promote a smooth transition.
- Price: Around $120
- The right shoe for Great mileage runners looking for stability and durability
The perfect shoe for marathoners and long-distance runners and hikers is here. With an endurance that is unparalleled, the Forza offers amazing durability of this relatively lightweight shoe (9.3 oz for men and 7.4 oz for women).
This shoe promises to hold up through half marathons and across a variety of terrain. The midsole contains a layer of Flight Gen foam and a dense foam support post that runs into the forefoot, which helps create a smoother ride.
- Price: Around $135
- The right shoe for Speed
Skechers engineers found a new way to create an EVA midsole, know as Hyper Burst, and it’s featured on this shoe. In short, it’s impressive and radical because it’s lighter and more durable than traditional EVA. This shoe is super light, feels like a racing flat that’s built to hold up as an everyday trainer, and it features a thin, breathable upper.
Durable translucent ripstop mesh upper ensures support and breathability. Seamless non-stretch upper for added comfort. Molded heel counter for a stable and secure fit. Pressure-reducing speed lacing system. 3D printed upper graphics.
- Price: Around $65
- The right shoe for Indoor sports and treadmill running
This is the best in cross-training shoes and has a lot to offer when it comes to indoor sports. This shoe is extremely affordable as compared to the other models, and it is designed to slip on and off. The midsole is the comfortable 5GEN EVA foam midsole.
The knit upper looks sharp and is also designed to breathe well, so you don’t get sweaty feet during your workout or stink up your gym bag afterward.
These shoes have the kind of technology that can blow your mind. They are perfect for rigorous gymming and cross-training and have a special memory foam blend in the insole to provide a stellar cushion that holds up through a variety of movements.
A nearly seamless mesh knit upper and an integrated heel wrap keeps your feet secure and comfortable, and a grooved outsole is built to flex with your foot for greater freedom of movement. A little more technologically better than the GOrun 600, it’s a capable performer for dynamic workouts in the gym.
Smooth action leather and textured mesh fabric upper in a lace-up athletic training sneaker with stitching accents. Air Cooled Memory Foam insole.
- Price: Around $100
- The right shoe for Runners who opt for crushed gravel and uneven terrain
If you want a pair of do-it-all shoes, this is the perfect match for you. It is a lower-cost option, but it still provides a water-resistant upper, durable outsole, and multi-directional studs.
Skechers uses their 5GEN cushioning for the midsole, which keeps the GOtrail 2 feeling lightweight and responsive when you’re hustling along the trails. Additionally, the shoe’s midfoot strike zone promotes an efficient stride, which is extra welcome when technical trails have you on your toes.
A very capable and affordably priced trail runner, the GOtrail 2 has been updated with a new open-mesh upper that improves its breathability and overall fit. It has a marshmallowy soft midsole, great traction from its low-profile but effective lugs, and a locked-down fit.
- Price: Around $125
- The right shoe for Uneven terrain and cushion for the trails
A generous layer of Ultra Flight foam in the midsole is what makes the MaxTrail such a stand-out model to make our list. It delivers supreme cushioning and shock absorption, and the shoes tested above average for energy return as well.
The woven upper features an ankle collar that locks out rocks and debris, and its looser weave in the forefoot adds flexibility and improves ventilation. On the bottom, foam-filled lugs embedded in a rubber outsole provide excellent traction. The lugs will compress on harder surfaces as well, providing you with both stability as well as cushioning depending on the type of terrain you wish to run on.
Durable, multi-surface traction Resagrip outsole featuring an aggressive 6mm lug designed for superior traction on a variety of trail surfaces.
So there you have it. Through its new cushioning materials and amazing new technological add-ons, Skechers has become a major player in the running shoe industry because of its varied options for all kinds of runners, and high build quality shoes.
The brand’s quick rise is not at all surprising considering it is one of the best contenders for the seat of the best running shoe manufacturer. No matter what kind of a runner you are, whether you opt for softer trails or rough terrain, Skechers will have something for you.