It takes the right equipment to stay in shape, and when it comes to running, your trainers are crucial. Next time you fork out your hard-earned on a pair of runners, follow this advice from Matt Burnett, business development manager at The Athlete's Foot, and Sydney-based podiatrist Peter Lumb
GET THE BEST FIT
Let's start with Matt, our retail expert. Are there differences between the most popular brands of trainers?
"ASICS, New Balance, Brooks and Nike, along with adidas, Mizuno and Saucony represent the most popular brands in Australia," says Matt. "In any brand, all models fit a little differently. It's not as simple as saying 'Brand A is wide' or 'Brand B is narrow'. All brands make a variety of styles and fitting options because feet differ so tremendously. When choosing running shoes, brand should play a secondary role behind fit. The correct fit is paramount, regardless of brand."
Given that every brand has so many styles, how should guys ensure a good fit?
"The sizing of running shoes is notoriously inconsistent. This, combined with the fact that a runner's foot will elongate and widen over the years, makes having your foot measured each time you buy new running shoes essential."
Is there value in paying for shoes with USB data-recording?
"For runners of all standards, the ability to track your progress, and in some cases compare it with others, can only be advantageous," says Matt. "In most cases, these models aren't necessarily more expensive."
KNOW YOUR NEEDS
Now to Peter, our podiatrist. How do guys find runners to suit their foot type?
"If buying athletic footwear for the first time, or if you're suffering from any injuries, seek professional advice about the features of the footwear that would benefit you," explains Peter. "Take into account the mechanical needs of your foot type, your foot shape, and the purpose for which you're going to use the footwear."
How important is arch support?
"Arch support is designed into construction to provide comfort and a feeling of 'support'. Every model varies; try on several models to 'feel' the effect on your feet."
TIME IT RIGHT
And back to our retailer. How often should we buy new runners?
"Depending on what standard of runner you are," says Matt, "your shoes are designed to last about 600 kilometres. For the more casual jogger, a new pair every 12-15 months is appropriate."
How much should we spend on runners?"Quality running shoes start at around $160. Top of the range is about $300. Most people can find an excellent pair of well-fitted runners for around $200."