Finding the right running shoes to improve your racing edge is certainly not an exact science. At the end of the day, there really is no “perfect” shoe that will suit everyone’s feet and running styles. This is why even the most professional competitors have usually only found their preferred racing brands and footwear through a fair degree of trial and error. Also bearing in mind that even if you find a great pair for right now, there’s no guarantee that as your running form develops that your shoe requirements won’t change again too. Luckily, calibrating your competitive footwear to your exact needs is a lot easier with just a few guidelines in place.
The Shoe That’s Just Right For You
While there certainly are a variety of brands and styles when it comes to competitive running shoes, one of the main things to consider is the stack height. This is the amount of material between your foot and the ground, which can seriously impact the way a shoe will feel while racing. For example, runners who like to feel their running surface, simulating an almost barefoot or natural experience, will choose a low stack height with minimal cushioning. Those who prefer more impact protection will opt for moderate to high stack height with maximal cushioning. However, it certainly isn’t just about a runner’s preference – choosing the right shoe also completely depends on what kind of races you compete in:
Road Racers: You’ll also find that running on the road can be greatly complemented by light to moderate weight shoes with a bit more stack height. These types of competitive shoes rely on flatter more efficient soles for eating up that tar and providing comfort over far longer distances. We can highly recommend trying on some of these:
Constructed to provide stable support for low arches and prevent inward foot rolling, these help to absorb shock and lessen the impact on your joints.
Nike Zoom Pegasus
Designed for speed, these deliver a smooth ride and maximum comfort to keep you moving at a rapid pace. You’ll feel the difference immediately.
Mizuno Wave Sky
These offer a plush cushioned running experience with flex grooves in the forefoot, this allows for a more natural flex of the foot and all-round comfort.
Trail Racers: If you’re an adventurous off-road racer then you may want to be considering footwear that will provide the support you need while gliding over rough terrain. Most people will opt for at least a moderate stack height with increased grip and sole protection for rocky surfaces. These also usually feature lugs on the bottom to absorb, isolate and disperse impact force. Further optimisations may include features like rock plate protection or even a Gore-Tex finish for added waterproofing. Some great options to try are:
ASICS Fuji Lyte XT
These offer exceptional fit and comfort. The trail-specific outsole and improved water drainage system will give you the confidence to take on the toughest terrain.
A lighter, more responsive and lively feel underfoot, these shoes will have you running in confident comfort with their springy, but stable base.
At the end of the day, finding the right competitive running shoes will certainly aid you in achieving your current goals and assisting with the prevention of injury. Also, remember to train in your new running shoes for at least 2-4 weeks before attempting a race in them.