Beginners' Guide To Running Shoes And Clothing

What you need to know about running shoes and clothing to prevent injury and protect yourself from the weather.

The most important piece of running gear is the shoe because they absorb the impact of every stride. Running shoes are designed to provide traction and support and reduce the chance of injury. They should be very durable and flexible as well. Look for an athletic store in your area and try to find a salesperson with some knowledge about running. If you are prone to injury, consider being fitted for orthotic soles.

The first step in selecting a proper shoe is to figure out what kind of stride you have. The most common problems in a runner's stride are pronation and supination. A runner who pronates will roll the foot inward, which is the major cause of injuries. One who supinates rolls the foot outward, causing very poor shock absorption.Look at the wear on your old shoes or have someone watch you run to see if you have either of these tendencies. For pronation, you will need a motion control shoe, and for supination, you will need a shoe with lots of cushioning. If your stride is normal, you should look for a stability shoe, which provides both cushioning and support. If you have a large build or are at a heavy weight, you will also need a shoe with lots of cushioning.

Make sure shoes fit by measuring both feet (since they can vary in size) and seeing that there is at least a thumb's width of room between your big toe and the tip of your shoe. Also, try on shoes in the late afternoon or evening because feet tend to flatten out and increase in length throughout the day, and this also happens when you run.


You should also look for a shoe designed for the type of running you plan to do. Trail running shoes will provide greater traction and flexibility, and shoes designed for cross training are more versatile than those strictly made for running. Shoes for sprinting should be lightweight and have very thin soles. Thin soles allow you to feel the ground as you run, increasing response time. Serious runners may also want an extra pair for racing. Don't buy shoes that are not designed for running, and don't use your running shoes for other sports. Do not wash your shoes in the washing machine or allow them to become excessively worn.

If you plan to run long distances, you might also consider specialized socks, which will keep your feet dry, provide stability, and prevent injury. Good running socks are composed of two layers which will help absorb friction between the layers to prevent blisters and draw moisture to the outer layer. Socks made of lycra also help prevent blisters. You can find running socks at any store that carries running shoes.

While you need not spend a fortune on specialized clothing for running, you do need to take several factors into account, such as how they fit, their ability to let perspiration escape, and what kind of weather you will be running in. You will need a couple pairs of shorts, some shirts that will allow sweat to evaporate from your skin, and some extra apparel to keep you warm in winter. Also, don't forget reflective gear to wear if you plan to run at night or in the very early morning. Many shoes are already made with reflective materials, and you can find reflective tape to apply on the front and back of your running shirts. Be sure to cover any exposed skin with sunscreen, especially if you plan to run without a shirt.

You should look for a breathable material that will wick moisture away from your skin and allow it to evaporate. Many athletic stores carry clothing made of synthetic materials for this purpose. Also, make sure your clothing has the proper fit. This will help prevent chafing. If this problem still occurs, there are products you can apply to soothe and protect the affected area as well as prevent friction, but chaffing should not occur on a regular basis if you are wearing proper clothing. Clothing should be very light and just loose enough so that your movement is not restricted.

In cold weather dress in layers so that you can remove layers as you warm up. The layer closest to your skin should draw moisture away so that sweat will not remain on your skin and make you cold. Dressing in thin layers will also help keep you warm because your body heat will be trapped close to your skin. Don't forget to cover your extremities with a hat, gloves, and perhaps some warmer socks. Wearing tights or leggings under shorts will help keep your legs warm on days that are just moderately cold.

A good sports bra can be the most difficult piece of running apparel to find. A sports bra should be just tight enough to provide adequate support and should not move around too much as you move your arms. The material should be stretchy and breathable. Most women do not even know what size they need, so you should measure yourself or ask a salesperson to do so. Women with smaller breasts can wear a compression sports bra, but larger women will need a sports bra with separate cups to support each breast.

If you experience discomfort while running, always take a second look at what you are wearing. With the right apparel, you should be able to stay at a comfortable temperature in all weather and remain free from blisters and most injuries.

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