The Agony of the Feet
by M.F. Piraino - Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
Avoid painful decisions by selecting the proper running shoes

With hundreds of specialty running shoes on the market, finding your sole mate can be tricky. Looking for the right pair of shoes that you (and your feet) will love depends on a variety of factors. Are you looking for a high-performance shoe for training or racing? How many miles do you run a week? Are you combating an injury? What’s your running style?

One important caveat, according to Fleet Feet marketing manager Liz Knickerbocker: Never pick a model based solely on the color. “There’s so much more that goes into it,” says Knickerbocker.

With a multitude of styles to choose from, here’s a basic guideline Knickerbocker says to use when trying to decide which pair will keep you comfortable and running strong:

Foot shape. It all comes down to basic biomechanics and what your foot does when it’s in motion. Different shoes accommodate different types of feet and arch types.

Use. Mileage, training surface and conditions and type of workout are all important in selecting a shoe.

Injuries. Getting fitted with the right shoe is crucial if you’re injury prone or have had a past problem.

Knickerbocker gave the Syracuse New Times a “sneak peak” at some designs with different purposes. All are available for men and women and can be found at Fleet Feet Sports on Bridge Street and at Marketfair North Plaza, on Route 31.

Saucony Xodus ($130)

Saucony Xodus
A good choice for winter running, the Xodus features a Vibram bottom sole, which provides added traction in the wet snow. It also can be an ideal transition shoe for spring’s muddy conditions.

Hoka One One
Bondi ($160) or Stinson ($170)

Hoka Stinson
Knickerbocker says these shoes are ideal for people who are recovering from an injury or are putting in a lot of miles training for a marathon. The cushioning enhances shock absorption.

Nike Flyknit Free ($165)

Nike Free Flyknit
New Balance Zero Road Minimus ($110)

new balance minimus
Both shoes are recommended for a CrossFit strength and conditioning exercise program. The Nike model has a light, flexible, knit technology that conforms to your foot like a sock.

How do you go about selecting a running shoe? Do you have any useful tips or styles you swear by? Go to the Syracuse New Times Facebook page and let us know!

Author’s note:

I’ve learned one thing about running shoes: You get what you pay for.

A few years back, I was looking to save a couple of bucks (aren’t we all?) and decided to purchase a cheap pair of running shoes from a chain sporting goods store. They felt fine on my feet, but the real reason I got them was I liked the cool ice blue color.

After a few weeks of running in them, my left hip began to hurt. That’s when I consulted a knowledgeable salesperson who found that I had flat feet and ran heel first. Needless to say, the cheaper shoes were immediately abandoned for a slightly pricier model. And they were worth every penny to finally run pain-free.

Lesson learned!

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